A Heart Made of Glass Chapter 1: Your Own Company (1997-1998)

I recently participated in an interview about depression comix. One of the things I mentioned offhand was about my first comic, “A Heart Made of Glass” which was my first attempt at trying to express depression in comic form.

She asked for the link. Unfortunately, I don’t have one. I had big plans to rescan the whole thing and give it a permanent home here on claycomix.com, but procrastination kicked in and well, you know the rest.

So here I am scrambling to put this online, using the scans that are about 18 years old. Well, pressure does wonders, so I’ll be putting chapters one and two up this week before the interview goes online.

As I said, this was my first comic that I put on the web. It was also my first comic endeavor in a while. Looking at it now, it’s so obvious where my influences came from, the primary one being Neon Genesis Evangelion where I was trying to cop Yoshiyuki Sadamoto’s style as much as I could. Another one was Clerks. Looking at a lot of the art is a bit painful … I really overused crosshatching and weird anatomy is very present. My handwriting on the other hand, is exactly the same.

However, there is some depression comix-like stuff happening, especially in the two pages after he gets broken up. The page where he is in bed thinking circular thoughts is probably the best page in the book, and is the best example of how A Heart Made of Glass is a precursor of depression comix.

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Even looking at it now it brings me back to a place. I recognize the pillow, the clock, the photographs on the floor. I even remember my peculiar habit of sleeping backwards on the bed when I was particularly depressed, which I haven’t done in a very long time. The book is filled with little details that make me remember where I was when all this happened.

I don’t think I would do anything like this now. I wanted to describe depression but things like breaking up with someone are so commonplace that no one would understand it. I think that’s one of the big pitfalls with doing a comic on depression about yourself, it’s really impossible to describe why it happens. One of the things I did with depression comix is skip the why and focus on the depression itself with no reason or justification.

The character of this comic eventually landed up in Sexy Losers but never made the transition to depression comix. I just didn’t want it to be so obviously about me.

You can read Chapter One here. Some commentary I wrote in 1999 and 2003 is also included. I hope you find something worthwhile in it.

5 comments

    I just finished reading chapter one and it was moving and painful. While I did not have the experience depicted (everybody's version of hell is different) I recognize the emotions portrayed. The depiction of the physical pain that comes from rejection brought back memories of my own experiences with rejection. The "Heart Made of Glass" title and depiction are perfect. The friend telling Jon the real problem was particularly emotional for me. I not only don't enjoy my own company, I truly and completely hate myself. Every rejection was something I deserved, and I hate myself even more for being to much of a coward to do what I have always known I was supposed to do. The part titled "Look At Me" left me speechless, the feelings expressed are so accurate and so much a part of me. I have been at various events with other people when I have had to leave because I knew I was going to start crying due to the painful loneliness and self-loathing. Just seeing other people being comfortable with themselves and having a good time is unbearably painful. I look forward to reading the next chapter even though it hurt so much to read the first chapter. But it is a good kind of hurt that comes from introspection and trying to come to an acceptance of one's self. I don't think I ever will accept myself, but I like to think that there is something to be gained from the attempt Sorry for such a long comment, but "Heart Made of Glass" brought emotions to the surface that I have supressed for a long time. Finally, please post a link when your interview gets posted, I would love to read it.

    FML | 1 year ago Reply

      Thank you for the insightful comment. The next chapter is quite a bit lighter actually, and there are actually some jokes in it. But you're right about the "Look at Me" segment. Although it was just a dream, it really represented a time when no matter where I was I felt incredibly out of place. Loneliness and self loathing is an accurate description. Thank you for your wonderful comment, and of course the interview will be posted once it's up, which might be later this month.

      clay | 1 year ago Reply

    I tried posting a comment yesterday but I must have done something wrong so I will try again. I will also give a more thought out comment then the first one. That one I wrote immediately after reading "A Heart Made Of Glass" and I had such a strong emotional reaction to the first chapter that my comment was not as well well written as it could have been. I read the first chapter and it is amazing how well you are able to illustrate and describe the experience of depression. Reading this was painful for me, but in a good way. Though my own experiences dealing with rejection have been different (each of us has to live our own version of hell) the emotional response seems to be the same. The physical pain that comes from rejection is very well depicted. The title and the depiction of Jon’s heart breaking are perfect. The thought spiral drawing is so evocative of exactly what happens when I try to come to terms with my own rejection and loss. The line that really got my attention was when Jon’s friend tells him, “You don’t enjoy your own company very much, do you?”. This hit me hard, I not only don’t enjoy my own company very much, I absolutely despise myself. When I am at my worst, I sometimes ask my wife how she can stand to be around me. I have told her that I would completely understand if she didn’t want to be around me because I don’t want to be around me either. I am certain that anyone who got a look at how I really am would never want to see me again. The “Look at me” dream sequence is so relatable. The feeling of being entirely alone around other people is something I can relate to. I have had to leave the room and get away from other people because I knew I was going to start crying from loneliness and despair. I know that sounds pathetic, but seeing other people enjoying each other’s company while I am unable to relate to or interact with them is one of the worst feelings. The final lines …if I could just disappear, then everything would be okay, perfectly describes how I feel. Since I don’t know anything about anime, the style of the drawings looked completely original to me. I really hope to see chapter 2 posted soon. Also, please post a link to the interview when it gets posted, I would really like to read it. Finally, at the end of your post you stated “I hope you find something worthwhile in it.” Yes, I found many worthwhile things in it. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to tell a story that so personal and do it in a completely honest way.

    FML | 1 year ago Reply

      Crap, now that I posted again I can see the comments. I am so pathetic, please delete my second post.

      FML | 1 year ago Reply

        Your second post is even more insightful actually, I like it.

        clay | 1 year ago Reply

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