Journal comics can’t be easy to do.
On the surface, oh, sure – you just take what happens in your life and make a comic out of it. Anyone can do that.
Of course, anyone can make a comic about talking rabbits or space ships or what-the-hell-ever – that doesn’t mean those comics will be good.
Take a look at a comic like Malfunction Junction. It ‘brings the funny’, as they say in the industry, with damn fine consistency. Funny stories about his life, and the crazy things that happen to him.
I mean, not everyone can say they wake up and – bam! 8,000 dollars! How about that?
I know a remarkable number of people who that sort of thing would never happen to. If you asked them to share some of the fascinating tales of their life, they’d likely come up short. It simply isn’t the case that everyone can live a life of adventure and excitement, right?
But back to Malfunction Junction. Matt Milby’s life, one would argue, is not a life of adventure and excitement. His description of the comic, and his life, explains that he is an art-school drop out who works at a gas station.
That is not a life that exactly screams entertainment.
And yet… he keeps the comics coming. And they are funny. And filled with little stories and interesting things that you wouldn’t think happen to most people, right?
He describes his reason for making a journal comic as follows: “I am most inspired by everyday stuff that happens to me.”
Every day there are plenty of fascinating things that happen. To us, to our friends, to strangers. But sometimes it can be hard to actually notice them.
For the longest time, I would feel out of place when my friends would share humorous stories. I mean, I didn’t have any anecdotes of my own to share. I’d never been driven out of an ice cream store by angry and cantankerous cops, or amassed a cult following in my high school years. I didn’t have any exciting convention stories or tales of drunken debauchery.
I blamed myself, of course – I blamed not having an exciting life doing exciting things. Stuff like that happened to other people, not to me.
And sure, that is part of it – the world does need a person to walk out into it in order to experience what it has to offer.
But it was also a matter of perception. I didn’t think I had anything interesting happen to me. So I just didn’t notice when it actually did.
Once I realized that mistake, and started actively paying attention… started feeling a bit of inspiration… well, soon enough I had my share of stories. And they weren’t always about me – sometimes they would be about coworkers or friends, or random strangers I saw along the way, or whatever.
And there isn’t anything wrong with that – sometimes people do crazy stuff, and it makes for some funny tales to tell. Sometimes you notice some simply odd people. Thats part of noticing the world around you, and letting everyone know exactly how fucked up it is, in a way that makes everyone laugh.
It’s a good thing, to share a bit of humor about everyday stuff. And it doesn’t require living the life of a secret agent to do so.