The Pagan Syndigods:

So who are the syndicates, the four holylands? Tribune with it's archaic flavor and food themes; King with it's decent and expansive kingdom but with its regality of neon-fakeness; United with it's huge cast full of dogs, but among them some of the finest pedigree; and Universal with its and collegiately literate intentions.

They are not Gods who have total rule over Chris, but are more like pagan gods who have "influence" over him. And to a degree both cartoons and Chris worship them. Like oils and spices given to the old gods, Chris sends them drawings and seemingly personal letters of charm and endearment.

But they are persnickety like gods too. If they are interested or amused, they will send back a "personalized" letter of encouragement. Enough to make Chris (or most cartoonists) excited for weeks. If they are bored, they will send a form letter, simply to acknowledge that the gifts were acknowledged but not cared for particularly.

Of course they can be wrathful gods, and they can get angry. And with that anger comes silence. Try insulting one of their editors, or not enclosing a S.A.S.E., and they will give you only silence. And there is nothing worse from a god, or any loved one, than silence. Disacknowledgement from one you worship makes your existance meaningless.

But if they are very pleased, if you make them happy, they roll their fat bellies and laugh and take you in their arms like a jolly grandparent. It is the opening of the pearly gates to sit alongisde the kings of the sky.

But it is a cartoon's dream. It is like a boat heading towards a waterfall, and the syndicate is the suddenly found anchor. Drop it in and suddenly you're safe. Chris's yawning you out of existance won't be for at least another 5 years, if not 50 in the best case scenario.

Best case scenario...

I used to dream of entering that heaven, but I know the brainwashing. The market-influenced dumbing-down of existance. I know of the million fingered devil of the middle-america-newspaper beast. It has a choke-hold on the syndies. Yes they have to appease their own gods, and are timid, and often take this fear out on us cartoons. The life of it... I do not wish that life.

Admittedly, after he yawns my column out of existence, takes my four-celled watchpost down from his wall, I may be praying for a syndicate to come and save me. To keep the white paper and ink blood running through my veins. But hopefully I will just accept it with grace.

After all, I will never expect any pure untainted kindness from my own god and creator, from this man who takes and gives life in my world as he pleases. A man of dark whimsey.

shep main