Something as a metaphor for nothing
Steal this comic book
Sex is a vehicle
A serious and good philosophical work could be written consisting entirely of jokes.
It’s nice to be able to put yourself in an environment where you can completely accept all the unconscious stuff that comes to you from your inner workings of your mind. And block yourself off to where you can control it all, take it down… The best songs to me — my best songs — are songs which were written very quickly. Yeah, very, very quickly. Just about as much time as it takes to write it down is about as long as it takes to write it.
I make one whenever I can’t figure out what else to do. A lot of the time I don’t find doodling/drawing satisfying & I don’t have the energy to make a conceptualized “full comic” so I find this a happy medium to meditate on one of my favorite topics.
-Andy Burkholder in 2011
In 1989 I bought that year’s Rolling Stone “Hot” issue, and for the first time was exposed to comics that were more “adult” than Alan Moore and Grant Morrison.
I stole Ed the Happy Clown from a shop in Dallas, and it quickly became my favorite book.
It was funny, smart, stupid, and I had to steal it, because there were penises involved.
I probably first heard about Qviet from an email exchange with Scott Longo in 2011.
“Oh, also, totally LOVING 2101. That and Andy’s QVIET blog are what I look forward to the most from the recent Internet.”
It felt at the time like everyone (myself included) was trying their hand at this new medium of internet comics. And Qviet was just a Tumblr (not much there anymore) put out by the pseudonymous Tracy.
It was fresh, urgent, ephemeral…
Reading it in this form reminds me of how I would read collections of comic strips we had laying around the house as a kid: Peanuts, Family Circus, Far Side, Calvin and Hobbes. The process felt infinite. I would pick up a book, open it at random, and dive into perfectly formed nuggets of cartooning functioning appropriately within the boundaries of their world.
But Qviet has more in common with the spelunking of the sexually repressed I got into when I found Chester Brown at age 14 than with the strips I read splayed out on the carpet as a kid.
The drawings are mostly clean and simple, operating both to describe objects, words, people, etc. and functioning just as marks: expressive, flat, etc. The space that’s created is subjective, calling into question the constructed world.
The lines are crummier and less fussy than ligne claire, more urgent.
…sometimes becoming rougher, becoming more about exposing process, pulling you away from any diegesis and into the real Dasein:
…reminding me of Jason Miles:
There is silly formal play reminding me of my favorite Tim Hensley strip:
…or John Hankiewicz:
Symbols flow in and out of each other…
Qviet reads to me like Andy Burkholder’s id expressed through all the comics and philosophy he’s ingested. It’s associational rather than surrealistic.
My songs aren’t dreams. They’re more of a responsive nature…
The creative process requires these moments of brainstorming, allowing the raw data of the amygdala to coalesce into these illogical chunks that often work like poetry or koans…
These strips are the detritus of good and bad culture filtered through Andy’s lizard brain.
And the sex is just a vehicle to explore anxiety about unfulfilled desire.
“What’s the matter, Molly, dear
What’s the matter with your mound?”
“What’s it to ya, Moby Dick?
This is chicken town!”
Wrapped up neatly in an elegant object that perpetrates the lie that there is some logic in this mess, some inherent organizing principle that will shine through.
The neat package doesn’t resolve nicely. There is no climax. It’s Andy Burkholder’s Basement Tapes.
Such a great book.