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Mold on the Old - 1995 Comic Spiders In the Ointment

Well well well well if we aren't here again. Welcome to another thing.

Okay so Spiders in the Ointment was a comic I did back in 1995 when I was but 25 years old and my lungs were filled with the dizzying atmosphere of Scott McCloud's "Understanding Comics". I won't link to him because he's got enough popularity and he is a real hippie at this point who's going to tell you that president Bush and President Trump are NOT HIS PRESIDENTS etc.

Anyway, my lungs. Filled, and I decided I would harness this mighty energy and unleash my comics on the world. There was something called the black and white comic revolution, or the independent comic revolution, or something, back in the mid nineties, and making amateur black and white comics with terrible production values meant that you were sticking it to the man. So I stuck it to the man with this set of comics.

The name spiders in the ointment was a reflection of "flies in the ointment", a saying about how a small flaw can spoil something valuable. (I also just found out thanks to the internet that flies in the ointment was a reference to Ecclesiastes 10:1.) Spiders in the ointment meant that the flaw was a lot bigger and grosser and screwed up that valuable thing even more. The words came out of my head after a dream I had where .. I don't remember exactly. It was like there was a plant that was a spider or something.

It seemed like a good title at the time and I guess it was. I scanned the results, today, the 23 year old comic, and put them up here for the internet to enjoy. The dream depicted here was probably about my swirling feelings regarding drugs, alcohol and the opposite sex, especially in regards to how I perceived men perceiving women. More thoughts on what the dream "meant" appear in the transcript.

Please read and enjoy the amateur artwork and illegible lettering as much as you can. Thanks! See ya next week!

Comic transcript

A hand is writing in a notebook. The hand writes

I'd like to dream about tornadoes. Sure.

We see a young man in a room next to a rectangular object that was supposed to be a bed. He is putting the notebook down and bending his arm in a weird way.

Now the young guy is facing a wall. In the room with him there's a small table with what looks like a bottle with a candle on it maybe. The guy lights a lighter and lights the candle and he turns the kitchen timer to 15 minutes.

He sits there in meditation until the timer buzzes. Then he blows out the candle, does a yoga pose called Uttanasana, then reaches a distorted hand towards the light. We can see he's got a precocious "yin / yang" symbol on his t-shirt so he must be enlightened and very smart in addition to being available to any cute girls who are reading this comic.

He gets into bed and the darkness enfolds him getting stronger and stronger until we see a house and there are people outside dancing to music. Words appear, "I was at the big, rich, expensive, well kept immaculate party full of drugs, women and liquor..."

Presumably we're watching the young man as he walks around inside the house. He sees poorly drawn people. He looks outside at something that looks like trees? It's dark. He comes back in and we see the house has strange architectural features and weird patterns on the floor. He hears his name, "Sam?"

A presumable woman wearing a white dress holds up her hand to him and says "Hey, Sam! It's me, Angel! There's someone I want you to meet!" Almost invisible next to her on another couch is a vaguely feminine form dressed in a dark striped body suit that has the same striping as the couch. Between the two women is a television.

Sam approaches, and touches the hand of the other woman in the dark bodysuit. Angel off-panel says "This is Fay. We're all talking about drugs." Fay says a listless "Hey."

Sam sits next to her on the couch. Sam asks Fay "Fay, are you on acid now?" She hunches and says "Yes." Across the room from them is a man who is sitting on a recliner and saying "So like I was saying, acid is a totally awesome drug, man."

He continues "I've taken acid about thirty times." We're floating above the room now and we can barely make it out, but we see that the room contains:

  • Sam and Fay on one couch
  • Angel on a recliner.
  • The man on the recliner talking about acid
  • Four guys sitting on another couch
Sam reacts to the man's comment about acid and asks him "How old are you?"

The man replies "I'm thirty four!" but Sam frowns on the man's immoral and dangerous drug behavior. Sam also adds a dismissive, judgmental "tsk".

But we see from off-panel there's another word balloon that asks "Hey Fay! What color acid are you on?"

This question freaks Fay out. She grip Sam and asks him "I don't know... Purple? is it purple?"

We look at the couch now with four guys on it .All of them are observing Fay's strange behavior and commenting on her with snide, insinuating statements, with the goal of making the trippy atmosphere even more trippy. One man says "Yeah, she's feeling it, all right." Another man spreads his hands and asks "Is it in your brain yet?" The fourth man says "You should be sorta relaxing into it now."

Fay, meanwhile, is finding some comfort in being held by Sam, and gets into his arms with a quiet mien. Fay and Sam see that there's something on the television set, one of those old boxy cathode-ray sets with wood grain. A man on the couch asks Sam "What do you think she's seeing now?"

Sam is upset by their questions, he thinks Fay can't deal with them and so he tries to protect Fay. Sam points at the television set and says "Well, that machine there is showing where the drug is in her system! Why don't you just let her watch that?"

The man replies angrily "Because we're men!"

There is silence. One of the four men gets up and walks with a determined slow pace towards the television machine, which is showing static. He presses a button on the machine, and the static disappears with a 'click', and a commercial appears. We see what looks like horse heads on beer bottles surrounded by flames. This is an advertisement for the Bossa No beer company. A commercial jingle accompanies the images, "Beer... Bossa No Beer... It's the beer everyone has... you and me..."

A man on a horse cracks a whip and the beer horses run away from him and the flames in the background. Now we're in a burning forest and a man on a stagecoach drives two horses before him by cracking a whip. The jingle asserts "Bossa No Beer... The beer for you..."

The end of a whip now cracks loudly in front of Fay's face. We see the whip's handle is held by one of the four men in the room, the guy who asserted their gender identity. He draws the whip end back to him. He looks at Sam and Fay, and he waves at them as if to say "I can see you."

Fay, her acid trip only beginning, is freaked out by all this. She startles, then asks Sam "Could we go outside?" Sam concurs and follows her up stairs. Fay looks back at the room with the four men, Angel, and the television.

They walk near the door leading to the outside of the big rich expensive house with all the drugs. Before they step over the lintel, Fay halts Sam. She says "Weit... is it nice out?" Sam has no idea whether it's nice out or not, so he says "Yeah, I guess."

This answer does not assuage Fay's nervous feelings. She asks Sam again in a faint, scared voice "No... is it really? Please tell me it's nice out?"

Sam, just moments before so urgent to protect Fay's feelings from her environment, now refuses to lie and assert what he does not know to be true, saying "Well... I suppose I could check...."

There are two cops now, their loud voices breaking the silence. One says "Hey! Hold up a minute!" The cop grabs Fay specifically and says "Hold up, we wanna talk with you."

He asks, with an aggressive and badly drawn expression "How old are you?"

The two policemen proceed to ask of Fay a series of interrogatives like "Do your parents know you're here? Do you have a ride home? Did your parents come over on the Mayflower?"

Sam observes the policemen's questions and thinks to himself about Fay's ensuing acid trip, "I think the next eight hours are going to be really rough on Fay..."

Thunder cracks like black and white lightning. The young man awakes in the darkness. He reaches down and turns on a light from a floor lamp. In a notebook, he attempts to explain the dream he just had using written words, "I was at the big, rich, expensive, well-kept immaculate party..."

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