Previous Issue Issue 8 -- July 29, 2014
There are a lot of movies and TV shows about people who have trouble finding a mate, but almost none about those who can't find friends. They say to write what you know, and consequently, a lot of my characters are lonely.

My brain doesn't work the way most people's do. Social cues that come naturally to others have to be learned with me, and a lot of people can unfortunately sniff out a phony. When I get rejected by people I often have no idea what I did, which is scary. With Mulberry, it's obvious what she's doing, even if she's oblivious to it. The Building Where You Find Friends is based on a moment in college when I asked why there wasn't some kind of extracurricular event where students could meet each other. I was told they used to have such a thing, but no one showed up because they were out doing things with their friends. I hadn't thought I was truly alone there until then.

I would meet my soulmate at a Gitaroo Man Appreciation Club, if it were real.

A lot of the advice that Vess says here has been gleaned from the self-help websites I have a tendency to browse now and then just to depress myself more. As I've implied over the stretch of five pages, a lot of the advice makes no sense. Some of it is bad dating advice converted into bad friendship advice, stemming from the remark "Making adult friends is like dating." When I read that, I had the reaction depicted on Jeff pretty much exactly.

For example, I've heard how supposedly "important" first impressions are, but out of everyone I've ever met in my life, I can't remember a single thing about what they first did in front of me. My first memory of them doesn't come from the first time I met them, but usually around the seventh or twentieth time, or the specific time when they did something that made them stand out to me among the zillion other bodies with two legs and faces walking around. Until then, it's like trying to form an opinion on water. It's sure there!

For me to make a snap judgment on a first impression, I would have to consciously try. And to actively try to, I would have to be the biggest bigot in the world: "that man's shirt hasn't been ironed, why I never! I bet he's a horrible person!" Who cares about clothes that much, and if they did, why would I want them as a friend to begin with?

I don't know what "rolling a drunk" means. I hope it doesn't actually mean THIS, or there's no joke here.

One of the earliest gags I thought up for BANG was that Mulberry thinks she's found a friend, only to realize she's wandered into a Portlandia sketch and they thought she was Aubrey Plaza. The show was new when the joke was invented, and I thought Portlandia would be cancelled by the time I found a spot for it. I never, never, NEVER expected anyone outside of the city limits to get into it the way they have, since a lot of the skits are very specific and inside. I don't see how they're finding jokes about Hawthorne funny.

When I was starting production on this issue, Carrie Brownstein and I wound up in the same Fred Meyer aisle for ten seconds. I could have told her about this cameo, but only twitbags bother famous people in the supermarket, so I didn't. If you want to tell her instead, be my guest, but the response will probably be "What's BANG?"

After finding Liz Prince's material at Powell's I resolved to book her for the next issue. Liz's cartoons are charming and funny, and oftentimes very relatable, and if she doesn't become more well-known in a few years, there's no justice. If you liked the short gags from her in this issue, there's more if you look for it. Also, as the paper says, you can meet her this coming 9/11.

Twenty years ago, a man climbed into his Ford Bronco and led a high-speed getaway highway chase that caught the attention of the nation. It's only fitting that we run this satirical Forever 16 sequence, which in an alternate universe would have appeared in papers a couple weeks later. There is another alternate universe where OJ was cast as the Terminator back in 1984. This is true, and the studio rejected the casting because OJ "didn't look like a killer."

Timed events are really hard to nail in print. By the time anyone reads this, open comments on Net Neutrality will be closed at the FCC website. "Oh well, at least I tried." --Gilbert Gottfried

And this image was really generated on an Apple II. An emulated one.

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