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Square One
Okay, here we are. On the “Subconscious Comics” page of the website this week we have reached the end — or rather, the beginning — of that comic strip. The episode I’ve just posted there was the very first one to see print. The first of a thousand or so. You can now see — on that page and in the voluminous archives — everything I have been able to find here in my studio. Some episodes have been lost. Others were given away or sold or left behind in copy machines. So this is it. The complete set.

The strip was created originally as a spec proposal for the National Lampoon. They had been using some of my spot cartoons, and I was hoping to break into their “Funny Pages” section. It ran in the late 70s and early 80s and featured such alternative gems as Bobby London’s Dirty Duck, Gahan Wilson’s Nuts, Shary Flenniken’s Trots and Bonnie, Dan O’Neill’s Odd Bodkins, and a bunch of others I would have been proud to appear with.

There was some back-and-forth, but it never happened. Around that same time, luckily, The Santa Cruz Express was coming into being here at home. Its editor, Buz Bezore, asked me if I had something “different” to offer for the new weekly. Whatever you say about Subcon, it is different. I showed him what I had offered to the Lampoon. Buz liked it, and we were off and running. This first episode (owing partly, I think, to its smutty theme) was a smashing success.

And now, 42 years later, we are once again at square one. Back at that first strip — and the last one I will post. Next week there will be something else on that page. Right now, I can only say that it will come from within the world of Subconscious Comics. I’d call it a “new beginning,” but I’m not really sure that it will be the beginning of anything. I can only say that it will be something different.
The End is Near
I drew Subconscious Comics for 20 years. After that, I took to posting those same cartoons on this website for another 20. For some reason, I decided to post the strips in reverse chronological order. This week we have reached the year 1980 — and the second Subcon ever printed. Next week, we will finally arrive at the very first episode of Subconscious Comics.

It will also be the last episode I upload, perhaps ever. I have decided (now that my Subcon-inspired graphic novel Head First has come out) that it is time to leave those old drawings in the past and move on. Not from Subcon itself, of course. That would require major brain surgery. Those characters and settings are a permanent part of my hard drive now, and I can’t imagine life without them.

I don’t have a clear picture of exactly how the future will unfold. The idea of another book is appealing, but I’m not ready to commit to that. Instead, I am going to start — the week after next — producing new drawings for the space that the old Subcons have been going. It’s been a while since I’ve done that. They won’t be new strips…just bits of whimsy from the world of Subconscious Comics.

I don’t know where I’m going with this, but it should be fun.
The Most Important Election of our Lifetimes
That’s what the talking heads said about it, anyway. The political operatives, the news show hosts, the candidates — all the pundits agreed. In fact, they agreed on a lot of things. And now that the voting is over, now that the general outlines of the results can be seen, one thing is clear: nobody knows anything.

There was no Red Wave. The polls were wrong. Our voting systems were never seriously threatened. The prognostication industry in general had a bad night. And conventional wisdom made a fool of itself. Which shouldn’t be too surprising, really. In fact, it happens every time.

This may indeed have been the most important election in our lifetimes (so far), but we won’t know how or why until later. How much later? Like most events that will take place in the future, we have no way of knowing.
Twit Show
When Elon Musk finally took charge of Twitter, I felt the springs of schadenfreude bubbling up in my psyche. If the first few days of his reign there are any indication, there will be a long (and entertaining) festival of humiliation for The Richest Person in the World (TRPITW).

I have not always felt this way. When I first learned of the possibility that he might take control of this powerful communications pipeline, it gave me a chill. This guy? In control of Twitter? Trump unchained? No-o-o-o! It seemed like just another ominous sign among all the other disturbing news these days.

As I see the story unfold, though, I am less concerned. The TRPITW, I believe, may have bitten off more than he can chew. This deal, in fact, could well undermine his entire empire. It’s a money thing, as this article explains. Briefly put: the debt from this purchase, along with the declining revenues from a more vitriol-based product, may end up eating him alive.

But the mere sight of a rich guy losing gobs of money is not what really makes the schadenfreude flow. That will come from the day-to-day deflation of his planet-sized ego.

The drama will be enhanced by the fact that Elon is possessed of a very large set of rabbit ears. He is hypersensitive, in other words, to even the tiniest hint of criticism. His involvement with Twitter will call forth a torrent of abuse each time he or his team of content moderators makes a call — from both the right and the left. His history predicts that he will not be able to resist entering the fray.

I suppose he might figure out a way to avoid calamity (he did, after all, figure out how to make those big rockets land butt-first). This trick, however, would require a depth of interpersonal savvy that TRPITW does not seem to have.

It’s already started. Elon’s recent tweet about the Paul Pelosi attack is a precursor to the ugly silliness that is bound to follow. He’s taking a beating for it all over the internet, including on Twitter. And he is not handling it well. What’s more, advertisers are already balking at the prospect of a vicious, hateful Twitter.

Oh, I know that the general trend of distressing news is likely to continue. Signs of the apocalypse will abound. The shit-show will no doubt begin in earnest. But at least I can look forward to Elon Musk’s spiteful tweets. With each, I suspect, will come a surge of dark joy to float my boat on these troubled waters.
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Yes, voting matters. Polls do not.
~ H, Santa Cruz