Following a link first from cartoonist Tom Tomorrow’s website, then to Lloyd Dangle’s, I finally arrived at the source of a screedy little denunciation of alt weekly cartoonists and their current economic plight that comes courtesy of one Ed Decker, a columnist for the San Diego CityBeat.

Decker writes in reaction to an editorial on the website of Red Meat cartoonist Max Cannon, justifiably despairing of the economic iceberg America’s alt weeklies have struck and how cartoonists have been the first ejected overboard, despite the fact that reader polls consistently prove that the comics in weekly papers are a top draw. Cannon’s lament is thoughtful and not at all hostile to the industry, which makes Decker’s riposte all the odder for its sneering tone. Writes Ed:

“And Max, dude, did you actually say that you “slaved” over your work? Are you for real? You’re not picking cotton under a blazing Mississippi sun, man. You’re not digging ditches in pools of raw sewage. You draw cartoons. If cartoon-drawing is anything like column-writing, you sit at your desk with your wine and your weed—Big Sonic Chill dripping its pollen from your speakers—and an expensive computer doing all your heavy lifting.”

Ed Decker
Some people are born cool, some people have coolness dangled outside the bars of their laboratory cage to the jeering laughter of vivisectionists.

As a cartoonist, I can assure you that the work has some added challenges that Decker does not to have to contend with, such as pruning shitty metaphors like “pollen dripping from speakers” from my drafts before they reach the public. Otherwise, writing and cartooning for alt weeklies are part of a common artistic grind, and you would expect more sympathy from someone laboring to make his own name this way.

Not so Decker. His “open letter” screams jealousy like a banshee at an opera house. “Let me see if I can’t find a waah-kerchief for you to bawl into”, “don’t tell me about hard times, Mr. Maximillian McWhinyFace!”, “If I were a ditch-digger or a cotton-picker, and I saw your donate button—oh yeah, I’d donate something all right,” is just the dross of his pith.

And all this in response to a plea that comic strip fans contact their local weeklies and express how much they enjoy the comics featured therein. Hardly some elitist propaganda juggernaut.

One steaming load of Decker’s odiferous prose will be enough to assure you that Ed is not benefitting from any such calls on his behalf, and this is doubtless the motivation for his over the top denunciation of fellow freelancers who, after all, are just trying to make a buck in a tough business. Decker’s double-barrel assault on the modestly successful Max Cannon and Tom Tomorrow, his bitchy pronouncement that the fruits of his own talents “can’t even buy me a small bindy of coke and an hour with a bottom-dollar street hooker” are like a planet-sized window into the soul of a failure. So your wings are starting to melt? That will teach you to aim for the sun, Icarus! Welcome back to Planet Crap with the rest of us blow flies!

Ed, I know you are reading this because I sent you a link and because anyone throwing out this much red meat (pardon the pun) could only be doing it to hoover up the short burst of attention that a creative bottom feeder never earns from the work he is actually proud of.

So let me suggest that you actually demonstrate some solidarity with the brothers of your profession instead of evacuating your bowels on them. Because if an alt weekly can’t spare three column inches for Max Cannon or Jen Sorenson, how long do you think its going to take an editor to realize that someone who pens a line like “Maximillian McWhinyFace” isn’t going to be rushing out to buy Pulitzer polish any time soon?