Sunday, May 26, 2024

The Kayfabe Defect

I don't usually do content warnings because I'm a small fish and nobody cares what I do, but I'm gonna give ya a little CW here for suicide and other heavy shit. Skip it if you don't wanna read about that. I'll probably post some light hearted stuff later.

I am one of the many who discovered the YouTube channel Cartoonist Kayfabe by word of mouth from a friend who likes comics. I did not know of cartoonists Jim Rugg or Ed Piskor, the channel's hosts. I had no baggage going into it and I greatly enjoyed watching these two guys show and talk about comic books, the art of comics, the process of making them, and sometimes getting into little descriptions of the lives and working habits of comics legends such as Bernie Wrightson or Alex Toth.

Of course, if you've ever watched a CK video, then you know they begin each one by describing their own comics and where/when you can buy them. That is the only reason I ever heard about X-Men: Grand Design, Hulk: Grand Design, Red Room, or Street Angel. I was intrigued enough to go pick up a copy of one of the Hulk: Grand Design comics (but not the cover I wanted, dangit) and later I found an issue of Red Room in a dollar box at a local flea market, which was cool.

I started following them on Instagram, so I was reading Ed Piskor's Switchblade Shorties strips, which were a lot of fun. I remember, if I'm not mistaken, he spent about a year just drawing them before he launched the comic. Ed was a workhorse, always making comics. And he was good at it.

So... spoiler alert... Ed's dead. By his own hand.

He took his own life on April 1st, 2024, a week or so after credible allegations were made that he was a bit of a creep on a 17 year old girl and a few other sundry actions. On the scale of bad things a man can do, his sins were on the lite side of the spectrum, at least until it all blew up.

Folks were calling him a rapist, which he wasn't. Worse, I saw a lot of folks on Twitter and other places calling him a pedophile. That, for me, was the most egregious thing. To sling that horrible word around on a person who has not demonstrated any behavior that puts them into that category is, IMHO, toxic as fuck. A grown ass man hitting on a 17 year old girl is called skeevy, not pedophilia. Read a book already. Learn to scale. Work on your hyperbole skills.

So anyway, as the chuds like to say, Ed was instantly cancelled. Which is true, he was. And he deserved it. He fucked around and found out. But it absolutely was not so terrible that he couldn't have come back from it. Not at all. On the whole, it was pretty lightweight shit. Some honesty and elbow grease could have corrected things for Ed, over time.

Ed didn't do that. He killed himself and left a very nasty, weaponized suicide note that sent hordes of internet trolls down upon his critics like a cancerous mass of genital warts. "Oh, my poor Eddie was sooo mistreated by those awful THUGS and BULLIES."

Bullshit. Get some perspective. Ed did bad, then Ed did far, far worse.

But Ed was a good cartoonist and his contributions to Cartoonist Kayfabe touched many, many lives. He inspired a lot of cartoonists to work harder, do better, and pursue their dreams. He introduced thousands of people to hundreds of new comics, new artists, and new ways of looking at comics. He, with Jim, made magic that we all tuned in to regularly. It was golden shit and I miss it.

There's a huge back catalog of CK videos. I have only watched maybe 50 of them. I'll enjoy going back and watching older episodes while I draw, probably for years to come, as long as Jim keeps the channel up.

Final note: Thanks Jim and thanks Ed for making a great art channel. I'm sorry this shit happened, I feel bad for Jim and for Ed's friends and family. I feel sorry for the folks who were part of this mess by simply speaking the truth. They do not deserve the ire and backlash they got. The community who felt it necessary to take Ed's shitty suicide note and turn it into a missile weapon are the biggest monsters in this whole damn story and I hope they reflect on it and become better people. That's all I wanted to say.

1 comment:

  1. I had not seen all of this. What a fucked up situation leaving no one better off for it. I hope his friends and family are able to find some peace. Damn. Thanks for posting.