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  December 13, 2006 | The Boxed Set of Everything « Previous | Current | Next » Comments (3) | Archives | About Email lind at

The inspiration from this one came when I read that Apple was offering all of U2's work, including concert performances and alternate versions, exclusively on iTunes. Now, both myself and Horst have a hard time keeping up with all the cultural flotsam and jetsam even before it's boxed. There's so much excellent entertainment out there, it's easy to forget about, well, life. (If you include all the crap, our planet's cultural load has more kill potential than its nuclear arsenal.)

A while back, I heard an interview with a scientist who had an explanation why aliens haven't visited us. He figures there must be civilizations out there. Problem is, they always reach the point where their technology allows them to be perfectly entertained. Everyone is employed either entertaining or being entertained. Their interest in the real world wanes. Why bother exploring outer space when you can similuate is so well? They forget about the stuff that's essential to survival. Stuff like clean air, food and water. And -- well, you know the story arc.

It's time to think outside the Boxed Set of Everything.

Speaking of Everything, you may notice a reference to strings, as in string theory. This is a theory of physics that purports to give us the underpinnings to understand the very essense of the universe -- though many physicists are criticizing it because it is more math than physics and there is no empirical evidence yet. Physicists are looking forward to the world's largest particle accelerator in tunnels underneath France and Switzerland coming online next year, which will recreate conditions like those just after the Big Bang. That may move us closer to a Theory of Everything, one that encompasses gravitation and quantum physics. All this was at the back of my mind as I wrote this cartoon.

I just heard an interview on CBC's The Current with George Monbiot, the author of Heat: How to Stop the World from Burning. He talks about how we'll have to cease almost all flights if we are to stop our planet's slide towards uninhabitability. As someone who flies to Germany once every year or two, I find this devastating. I knew flying was bad, but not this bad. The interview is available here. Scroll down to the bottom -- it's Part 3.

10 Years Ago This Week: December 12, 1996
Horst is stuck in Life-Mart, sentenced to a life-time of Christmas shopping. But luckily he meets Frank, who assures him that it's all a marketing ploy. Escape is possible.

Looking for a gift for a politically minded comics reader? The Weltschmerz comic book just might be the ticket. No need to go to Life-Mart -- order it here (see ad at top) or visit one of the fine independent bookstores below:

Pages, 256 Queen Street West (at John). On the graphic novels table.
The Beguiling, 601 Markham Street (near Bloor and Bathurst)
Book City, three locations - 501 Bloor St. West, 348 Danforth Ave., 663 Yonge St.
Hairy Tarantula, 354 Yonge Street (near Dundas).
David Mirvish Books, 596 Markham St.

The Bookshelf, 41 Quebec Street.
Macondo Books, 18 Wilson Street

Waterloo: Words Worth Books, 100 King Street South

Kitchener: KW Bookstore, 308 King Street West

Hamilton: Bryan Prince Bookseller, 1060 King Street West

Ottawa: Collected Works, 1242 Wellington Street West (at Holland)



You can see a more extensive portfolio of my work at the blog, including This Bright Future, a distilled and partial continuation of Weltschmerz, Turtle Creek, a daily comic about a turtle and a computer, and Footprint in Mouth, a quarterly cartoon I draw for Alternatives.

Weltschmerz in Print

Weltschmerz ran in Toronto's Eye Weekly from 1997 to 2007. It ran in weekly papers in southwestern Ontario, Ottawa and Edmonton between 1995 and 2008.

Notes on Writing a Comic Strip

I wrote this 17-page, 4 MB PDF document for my workshop at the 2006 Eden Mills Writers' Festival. It details the creation of one strip and gives tips on writing comics.

Politics and Environment

Monbiot | Guardian columnist and Heat author George Monbiot's blog. Not only about global warming, but expect plenty of refutations of the flat-earthers. His writing is witty, incisive and bang-on.

Desmog Blog | An indispensible (and Canadian) resource that "clears the PR pollution that clouds climate science."


Weltschmerz playlist at CBC Radio 3 | Some of the music I listen to while drawing this comic -- independent and Canadian.

This American Life | Radio documentaries that hit the heart, brain and funny bone.

CBC Podcasts | I don't listen to much live radio. Now, podcasts allow me to catch a lot of what I miss. I listen to The Current, Ideas, Spark and Search Engine while inking.


Diesel Sweeties by R Stevens | Witty repartee between guys, girls and robots drawn in a pixelated yet surprisingly versatile style.

Scott Pilgrim Manga-style indie-rock romance by Canadian Bryan Lee O'Malley | The most fun I've had in a comic book in recent memory. Highly recommended.

Dykes to Watch Out For | Alison Bechdel's brilliant weekly strip has been ghettoized because of its gay themes but deserves a wider readership.

Doonesbury | Garry Trudeau is still great after all these years.

Kevin Heuzenga | Enviable drawing style and dry wit. Start with Time Travelling.

Graeme MacKay | The editorial cartoonist for the Hamilton Spectator has a distinctive, addictive drawing style. And he makes me chortle.

Friends and Neighbours

Blog Guelph | Hometown photos and events.

The Narrative | Riveting photoblog. Matt O'Sullivan is at the right place at the right shutter speed.

Breast of Canada | A calendar promoting women's health.

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