Thursday, January 29, 2009

Henry Darger

For those not in the know, Henry Darger is one of the great outsider artists. He was this possibly-schizo hermit-esque guy who lived a seemingly unspectacular life. Only after his death, when his landlord was cleaning out his apartment, did they discover he had written and illustrated a crazy-brilliant (by reports; I haven't read it) story about saving abused children.

While being an "outsider" artist will get him remembered in history, it is also what restrained him. I have to wonder what he could have created if he was able to properly capitalize on his talent. He was clearly talented, yet untrained in basic things like perspective and anatomy. Maybe it might not have made him so interesting in the eyes of history, but post-mortum fame, recognition and acceptance is sorta lost on a dead man. It's better than nothing, but the man still went through life with no recognition.

Now the the "new" tag has left my comic on The Belfry, a major webcomics list, I am watching my hit count crash to earth. Yesterday, I even lost a subscriber. One of the 30 people reading my strip decided I wasn't worth the effort. It shouldn't hit me that hard, as my strip is not flavored for mass-consumtion - even though I do present it as such in hopes the masses come around - but I needed to get all I could from that "new" tag. Now I have to network. I have to promote myself. I have to advertise. I have to contact other artists for guidence and potential friendship.

I don't know if I can. I fear my brain has gone from "delightfully wacky" to "crippled by insanity." I don't have any strength left in me to go beyond myself, and I don't see any help coming ever in my current situation. All I can do for the moment is lock myself in my room and work on my strip. It's one of the thousands of stories in my head, but it's one that has concrete results. It's the best I can do to Darger things. Every other story will be lost unless I start writing them down. While I don't plan on dying, uh, ever (I can rest when all my enemies are dead, and then only after a lenghthy victory dance) if something should happen, as it stands people will have forgotten me before my body was cold.

Promotion for me is a much slower process than it is for sane people. It's been a month now and I've only done two things to promote the strip. Over time, I will slowly do more. Many, many opportunities will pass me by, but I might eventually grab a few. With some luck, people will stumble upon my site and my readership will grow to the, uh, dozens. That's if I'm actually good.

Precocious is interesting because it's a twisted take on what happens if brilliant children do receive the encouragement and support (both social and parental) they need. A recent strip I drew featured Sky Et lamenting Tiffany's enlightenment taking a rather inconvinient turn. The true potential of the wrong person is a terrible thing to behold. Just imagine what I would be like if I was a functional human being...

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