I guess if you had not seen/read 2001, Dune, or The Lawnmower Man today's strip would not be all that funny. If this is the case, uh, stare at Faye's boobs or something. Yeah. Cartoon boobs.
Today's strip is my way of flipping the bird at every cartoonist who has ever settled for the simple, obvious punchline. Originally the entire point of the strip was going to be Pintsize's line in panel 2, but I realized that goddamnit that is so lame and predictable, I need to do something a little different. Hence all the weirdness and other slightly more obscure sci-fi references.
When you're doing a comic on a regular basis, sometimes fatigue sets in. You strain just to get something, anything done in time to meet your deadline. This is when stupid humor sneaks in to the picture. It is easy to do the obvious thing, to write what everyone expects you to write, to have your characters behave in stereotypical and boring ways. It's tempting because it means you'll be done sooner, you can stop wracking your brain for ideas.
You have to fight it. You have to refuse to compromise your work for the sake of sleep, sanity, or extra time to play Final Fantasy 8 and recover from the five beers you drank at the office Christmas party earlier that evening. Goddamnit you're an artist, or you're trying to be one anyway, and that means you have to hold yourself to some sort of standard if you ever hope to improve your work. Compromising is for people who don't really love what they're doing. Settling for the easy way out is for people who aren't willing to bust their asses to be creative and successful. Puns are for Uncle Joe to tell at the dinner table after he's had too many glasses of wine. They have no place in a comic that you spend most of your free time working on.
This is what I tell myself when I'm tired from a long day and I just want to get the strip done so I can turn off my brain. I don't think of it as a ball and chain or a second job- no matter how frustrating or exhausting QC may be, it is always a labor of love, something I do to provide myself with a sense of purpose and my readers with at least a moment or two during their day when they can stop worrying about their troubles and chuckle at stupid movie references and sexual innuendo, and maybe find out about a good band they have never heard of before.
Hopefully it's working. I think it's working. Do you think it's working?