This chapter has a very different feel than the last one. Wheras for the first chapter I had the story arc, this one is a bunch of episodes. It doesn’t tell a story, it just tries to depict the struggle of getting back on one’s feet after a breakup. Second, it has more of a sense of humor to balance out the sadness, which is more than welcome. The main character has a genuine smile on the fifth page, as he talks to a friend who tries to make him feel better just by being themselves.
Third, this chapter is more of a collaborative effort. The first chapter was put on the net in 1998, and because of that I met so many new people who were doing amateur comics like myself. I was making friends again and the characters you see talking to Jon on pages 4 and 5 are characters they let me use. Furthermore, all those cliches on those pages were sent in by readers as I asked them to send in their best. I was being influenced by the new people I was meeting and the tone became lighter as a result. The Monica scene that follows has a humorous tone in it even though I had initially intended it to be more self-depreciating than that. As I said in the commentary you can read before the comic, the Monica happened just as it was depicted, and we never got together after that .. except, we’ve friended each other on Facebook without even a personalized greeting, which is how people in the 21st Century get reacquainted with each other.
I never finished it. It just got too sad for me, and I knew that sooner or later I would have to revisit some painful things. Especially the one relationship that nearly destroyed me which was what really inspired me to do this work. The relationship destroyed my academic career, ruined many friendships and sent me packing to Japan because every day was just too painful. But I was already broken and damaged so much that that didn’t help either, I just isolated myself even more and waited to vanish into obscurity.
Whew. That was a long time ago, but things are better now.
There are some echoes from this comic that landed in depression comix, especially on pages 2 and 3. The third panel of depcom 151 is a rephrase of the top of page 3, for example. The comics are linked in ways that I had to go back and read to understand, but they are linked.