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  January 03, 2008 | Visiting Hours « Previous | Current | Next » Comments (0) | Archives | About Email lind at

In case you missed it, Raj Malik arrived home in November after doing a package tour of Afghanistan and Pakistan prisons, freshly tasered and in a coma.

Raj had been shown photos of Donya and Celia in bed together while being interrogated by American CIA agents in Afghanistan. However, the photos were out of context (and not as explicit as Horst's imagination), as the complete cartoon from May 2007 makes clear.

Two Resolutions

A friend of mine gets frustrated when I interrupt the storyline to tackle political themes directly, that is, outside the framework of this strip's characters. I've long been ambivalent about such current event-fueled digressions. I enjoy caricature. Directly attacking the asinine rogues at the top is satisfying. But it does distract from the thrust of the strip's story and may leave readers feeling a little lost when the story resumes, as it does this week. I've wondered if this uneasy amalgam weakens it.

So, my primary resolution is this: If I can satirize politics within the framework of the plot, or build stories around current issues, fine. If I can't, resist the temptation to go ballistic. After all, the original premise of the comic strip when I started out in 1994 was to reflect our zeitgeist on a personal level. Politicians would turn up as cameos, but my characters would be the primary focus.

This restricts my ability to be timely but enables me to dig deeper into the personal side of political and, I hope, engage readers. I see the current strips as weekly chapters of a longer work. A satirical graphic novel (though I dislike that term), that reads as such, not as a collection.

It is sometimes easier to be reactive, to use anger and disgust as creative flames, as with the just-completed three-parter on the Bali climate change conference. But I hope to structure my time so that I have more for cartooning, and find another outlet for this caricature-based comic. (I also run my own graphic design studio, LINDdesign.)

As for my other resolution: Be concise. I'm always trying to chop my cartoons down (something you'd sometimes never guess), to distill them to their essentials, to try to figure out where the nub of the situation lies. A lot of my time is spent editing and rewriting. This is a continual challenge: So much to say, so little space to say it.

Blogs benefit from brevity too. So I'll heed my own words and sign off now.



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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