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Okay, so here’s what I’m doing right now:
Ben Snakepit asked me if I wanted to do a split zine with him for the month of October. Ben, as you probably already know, has been doing a series since 2000 where every day he makes a strip just about what he did that day. It’s a tremendous series, I’d recommend checking it out. But anyhow, for this month, he proposed I ALSO do a daily diary comic, same basic format as his, and we put them together as a split zine. We’d talked about doing this a couple times before, but this time I actually have been following through.
But I didn’t want my comics to be just ripoffs of the comics Ben already does, I wanted them to stand out on their own, so, basically, every day this month I’ve drawn what amounts to an old school My Stupid Life comic, like the kind that was online, before they got all long-form and weepy.
And I am really enjoying the hell out of it! These short gag-a-day strips were exactly what got me into comics in the first place (as evident by Nothing Nice to Say, San Antonio Rock City, My Stupid Life), and I’ve drifted from the format a bit in recent years, but this is super fun. PLUS getting to use whatever I did that day as inspiration makes this a hell of a lot easier to write than Nothing Nice to Say, which, at times, got super forced and bland.
So yeah, I might have to keep doing these even after this Snakepit split ends. I just hope no one retroactively accuses me of stealing Ben’s idea.
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Let me actually tell you about this goddamn doctor’s office: I knew my insurance would be running out soon, so I knew I needed to squeeze in a checkup as soon as possible. I hadn’t gone for a checkup in literally years, and so I had a list of things to ask about.
First off, I’m waiting in this room with paper thin walls so I can hear all the nurses outside gabbing about how hot they think the Rock is. Okay, fair enough, but slightly nerve-racking since I know I’m about to have conversations with the doctor about like MY BODY and stuff, and so I’m more nervous than I should be, and that was BEFORE the doctor finally came in and straight-up left the door open and asked me what was up.
So, okay, I feel like you guys probably know I’m not so great in weird social situations, right? I’ve probably made this clear by now? I very. VERY nervously asked the doctor if the door should maybe be shut maybe for the physical? And, without looking, he tells me the door IS closed. It’s not. It’s, like, it’s not WIDE OPEN, you know. But it’s ajar. And I happen to KNOW how much sound travels from where I’m sitting to the nurses station even with the door closed completely. But he tells me it’s closed and… It’s this thing, I didn’t want to have to even ASK about it in the first place, that made me nervous and uncomfortable, so I SUPER DUPER do not wanna have a fucking argument about it. But I say, “No, it’s, it’s actually still open a little.” And the doctor super weirdly looks to the door, and turns back, “It’s fine, no one can hear you.”
Hi. My name is Mitch Clem, this is my life, constantly, ALL THE TIME. Is this how hard things are for everyone? Like, I know I’m kinda nuts, I get that, but am I imagining how goddamn weird these scenarios I’m thrown into are? Maybe I’m overreacting. Probably. Usually.
So anyhow, I proceed to go down the list I brought of things my body did that may or may not require medical attention. And I don’t want you to think I’m some hypochondriac or anything, I wasn’t asking him if I had cancer or anything over and over, but, you know, I’m at the doctor, I have questions, he should have answers. And yet every thing I brought up to him he kinda laughed and shrugged off like, “Yeah, things are weird, right?” No explanation, no investigation.
Three questions in we got to a weird pain that I’d been having in my lower back at the time (it’s gone now) that was, like… okay. So, I apologize for this part, but it HAPPENED and it’s RELEVANT and I WAS TALKING TO A DOCTOR. But this pain kinda went from my lower back to one of my testicles. Like, I could feel it in my right testicle, a very sharp pain whenever I stood for too long. Which, I know, probably nothing, but, you know, I’m not supposed to have to be embarassed to talk to a DOCTOR about things like this, right? I say the word “testicle”, though, and this guy’s face runs blank. I am not kidding, I could see him get uncomfortable and totally check out. Without even addressing what I just said, he stood up, pretended to look at my file and told me what room to go for my blood work.
This was a physical. Like, you know, a checkup. I was thirty at the time and hadn’t been to a doctor (well, besides one STD screening - WHICH YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO DO ANYWAY, PEOPLE - and that had all come back clean so I knew this issue wasn’t some STD thing) in years. They didn’t touch me, they didn’t look at anything, they didn’t make me turn my head and cough or anything, and when I brought up something that could EASILY be a very obvious symptom of either a hernia or, god forbid, testicular cancer (you know, that thing that kills everyone with a Y chromosome?) the dude got all fucking weird like I was coming on to him or something and practically ran out of the room.
This story isn’t even finished yet, you guys. Buckle in.
I did the blood work, whatever, we’re fine. I get a notice in the mail: YOUR BLOOD WORK IS ABNORMAL. CALL US IMMEDIATELY.
Oh shit. So I call, and the woman on the phone asks when I can come in. Now, look. I’m not a wealthy man, and every time you go into the doctor they charge you like thirty bucks for a copay, which IS NOT AN INSIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF MONEY FOR ME. Like, that’s a week’s worth of food, you dig? So I told the lady exactly that and asked if they could just tell me what the results were over the phone, she says only the doctor can do that, okay fine so can I talk to the doctor, no just come in, blah blah whatever. They fucking got me, you guys. They sent a scary note just to bilk me out of thirty more bucks.
So I went back, and that’s when the above comic happened. My “abnormal” blood results were that a couple of my levels were so goddamn barely above normal that the doctor was hesitant to even tell me to change anything. “Eat a little better, you know, drink a little less, whatever.” Thirty bucks. Sixty, really, when you count the first half of the experience with Dr. Feelsweird. Ugh.
So yeah. Anyhow. What were we talking about?
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A six-page comic I made with Amanda for AS YOU WERE #1
(which is still available and which you should definitely pick up)
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Razorcake magazine, your go-to source for punk rock record reviews and interviews and whatever, put their next issue up for pre-order. Which is new, usually you have to wait to order it. So that’s cool! I recommend checking it out if you haven’t, because me and my buds Liz Prince and Ben Snakepit have comics in it and Rev. Norb is one of their columnists and fucking ALICE BAG IS ON THE COVER so you know that’s some cool shit.
And, since that new issue is up for sale now, here’s my comic from the last issue. Those Purple Rain screencaps didn’t come out as pristinely clear as I’d hoped, that was a bit of an experiment. Still, I do recommend playing the Purple Rain drinking game at home with your friends, because that movie is kind of a cheeseball riot but with a bunch of Prince songs thrown in from when Prince was at the absolute top of his game.
People ask when I'll bring My Stupid Life back. As far as in its original online format of joke-a-day strips, I don't know. I don't know that I will, frankly. It's not really anywhere on my to-do list. But I do still make autobiographical comics regularly under the My Stupid Life moniker, and they run in every issue of Razorcake magazine. Now, granted, Razorcake only comes out once every other month, meaning my autobio comic output isn't nearly as prolific as it was in MSL's meyday, but, ya know, what can ya do. Take what you can get, right?
I don't post these online until after the next issue of Razorcake comes out, rendering the previous issue's comic old hat, and so I feel like then it's safe to share them. HOWEVER. It appears I have been neglecting my duties, as I've forgotten to post like the entire past year's worth of comics up here. Oh my god, no wonder people kept asking.
So yeah, a year of my life summed up in six pages. These comics fail entirely to capture me gaining like fifty pounds over the course of the entire year, though they do effectively capture my descent into utter despair.
(Click on a panel to go to the full comic)
Hey kids! Didn't think I'd forgotten you over here, did ya? Well, I didn't, okay? So shut yer yap. I've just been so busy over at Nothing Nice to Say that pretty much all flyers and albums covers and such have stopped, at least by and large for right now. But I still draw comics! And I still draw comics for Razorcake punk rock punk rock! Now that the new issue's available (complete with just the most beautiful cover art imagineable, by the way), here's my comic from the last one:
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Alright! Until next time, kiddos!