So, this is the end of my first week of training for my new job. I only have… a month left. We’ve got a trip planned in the next week or so up to Sterling to check out housing there. We thought we could do most of it down here and have a list ready of places to check out, but then I remembered that didn’t work out last time either.
Training this week has consisted of having being seated for eight hours a day and listening while taking notes. There were some impressive Power Point presentations of well of a hundred slides. Some even had videos. Each night would end with me having just one thought about wanting to do more. Whether it’s writing (which didn’t happen, though I did get a chapter of Deathless mapped out), and reading (which actually did happen. Currently reading The Year of Living Biblically). But the majority of the leftover time became dedicated to studying, followed by a few minutes for catching up on webcomics, particularly a new one called Dumbing of Age.
It’s the story of Joyce, a young and completely-ignorant-of-the-outside-world girl from a strict Christian family who is attending college for the first time. She isn’t attending the Christian University like her best friend or her family had suggested. This means that a good chunk of the gags in the book is her freaking out about how the rest of the world lives or the rest of the world shocked by how little she knows about how the rest of the world lives.
I almost gave up reading it at a certain point in the comic because it got so… mocking about religion as a whole. Owing to writers and artists wanting to cover their tracks and stay safe, Joyce is simply from a “strong Christian family”. So when you got down to it, the creator could have been talking about anything from 7th Day Adventists to Jehovah’s Witnesses to LDS to Non-Denominational families that actually are that strict. This particular point showed Joyce trying to rouse her friends from sleep to go to church and I just about threw my hands up in surrender that this comic would be dying because I couldn’t stand what I believed were allusions and jabs at the LDS faith. Then they pulled out a Mormon character. It was only for a few comics, but the writer did justice to all the religions expressed in the comic. I think Joyce is still a good representation of the slew of religions where families are that strict, but it’s no longer the idea that all religions’ purpose is to produce people that socially inept and unbending. (Fun fact: I think the creator of Dumbing of Age actually knows some LDS people, or was one, or has a friendship with one. LDS vocabulary was used in the right context)
Once that got resolved, Dumbing of Age really turned into a drug for me.
If I had to define all of my passion in one word, it would be storytelling. The whole craft of storytelling, regardless of whether it’s comics, books, movies, or even just the old-fashioned stories told over the dinner table, is the most powerful influence we have outside of faith.
And this particular comic is a buffet of stories that interconnect, spawn other stories, and fuse with the stories of other characters. After a certain point, I had to stop and consider of the story’s really about Joyce. There’s a slew of other characters, which I learned later comes from the other comics by David Willis. All of them have story arcs and events in their lives just as important as Joyce’s. It also allows for the creator to cover a wide range of topics through the variety of characters. In just a few panels per day, this comic has covered topics of abuse, trust, religion, friendship, LGBT issues, love, lust, racism and prejudice, relationships, communication, alcoholism, marriage, family, expectations, and hobbies.
Each night this past week I’d read story after story, back to back. I felt like a crack addict who got lost in a cartel warehouse, but without the risk of dying (just the risk of losing sleep). Now that I’m fully caught up on the 54 months’ worth of story, I can take it at a leisurely pace. Get my fix and then be cool.
This is the second comic I’ve read where I’ve loved it enough that I ALMOST sent the creator an email wanting to pay him to get to be a character in the comic. Even if it’s just for a little bit. I wanted to be a part of that world..
(All images are from the Dumbing of Age webcomic by David Willis. I claim nothing, except that I could find and link them on the internet. I wish I could draw.)