A Heart Made of Glass Chapter 2: Walking Wounded (1998)

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.

Here’s the link to Chapter 2.


    I really enjoyed chapter 2. It is definitely lighter than chapter one even though it still carried the theme of loneliness and isolation. The last line of page 2, “no matter how bad I want these things, fear will win out in the end” was very poignant and is exactly how I felt for many years. I could definitely see the connection of pages 2 and 3 with depcom #151. When I first found the site and started reading from the beginning, I remember how touching and familiar those feelings and thoughts were to me. The end of page 3, “If I only didn’t have hope, I could live with all this.” What a powerful line. That is what I told myself for many years. I actually tried to find a way to eliminate hope from my mind. I knew the pain was not going to end, but if the hope for something better was gone it would have made things more bearable. At least, that is what I told myself. It is amazing how similar the thoughts and feelings of depression are, even across different cultures. When I made that realization, it helped me accept my problem better. For most of my life I thought of my illness as a weakness or moral failing rather than an actual illness. I eventually came to the realization that every illness from the common cold to cancer presents the same way around the world. Once I understood that depression and other mental illnesses present the same way across cultures as well it helped me accept it as an illness instead of something that was my own fault. “All the clichés in case you’ve forgotten”. That part is great, I loved it. While I have only had a couple of those directed at me, I am familiar with most of them. One in particular made me laugh, as it is a variation of a comment made about me once. It is too long of a story to tell here, but it has been a running joke in my family for 20 years now, and it is still funny. Sometimes humor can be found in completely unexpected places. The end of that section, Jon and Callahan in the restaurant, was just that, and also made me laugh. When one is expecting to hear a platitude from someone and instead gets something completely unexpected like that, it is amazing how much that can brighten one’s mood. The Monica story was well done. I don’t think I have ever been in quite that situation, but then I spent many years actively not looking so who knows what I have missed. Back in those days I had a few women who were friends and I said to myself the exact same things that Jon did, I’d like to be more than a friend, I don’t think she feels the same way, I would have to take the initiative and that is too risky she’d probably reject me and end up hating me. And finally, being a friend is “safe”. Or in my own case, “I’m lucky she will even talk to me, I better not screw that up by wanting something more.” Sharing space with others yet still being alone II. First, liked how you worked in a line from the Grateful Dead. That internal conflict is so familiar. The last lines, “So here I am, a little more older and a little more lonely. The summer’s almost over. And it feels like the world is forgetting about me”. That was a perfect ending and very touching. Though I would love to see more, I totally understand not wanting to revisit particularly painful memories. I also enjoy reading your comments on the process of creating these drawings. I like reading about what materials you used, and the style of the drawings. I get to learn a little about a subject that I know almost very little about. Knowing the process makes the finished drawings seem more personal. Thank you for the look inside your world. I hope you don’t mind me posting such long comments, I just wanted to share with you how meaningful your work is to me. I will try to be more concise in the future. Also, I promise that I will post this comment only once even if I am unable to see it for some reason. ; )

    FML | 2 years ago Reply

      Actually, it was a running thing to add something from the Grateful Dead. In the first chapter, it's from "He's Gone". There's a Side Story coming up that actually lifts the entirety of Lady With a Fan. Don't worry about being concise, I really appreciate any comments I get.

      clay | 2 years ago Reply

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