The webcomics blog about webcomics

Family Redux

Yes, yes, I know, toutes les bandes dessineés is buzzing about the new Patreon-alike from Kickstarter, and how it’s going to both compete with and compliment other funding platforms, and early adopters, and how it will change everything or maybe nothing¹. It’s very important. But it’s not the most important story today; it’s not even the second most important.

  • This page has, for years beyond reckoning², been in the bag for Kate Beaton and her uniquely hilarious/touching look at … well, everything. Literature, history, ponies, personal biography, and family. To paraphrase Rich Stevens, there’s only one place in the world that bakes the perfect little cookie that is a Beatonesque comic, and that’s Kate’s brain. Nobody else is like her. Except that’s not quite true.

    As her comics starring her family (especially her mom, which makes them momics) show, Beaton is very much the product of her upbringing — the particular place (Nova Scotia) and the particular people (all of whom exhibit not exactly her sensibilities and personality, but were clearly made according to the same rules). Kate’s Mom, Kate’s Dad, and her sisters have been featured in so many quick and delightful comics, they feel like we know them.

    We don’t, of course. But Kate’s made those scraps of paper and jittery lines feel like we grew up with them, know how they’ll react in a given situation, breathe and live and laugh next to us. Which is why when Kate (and by her explicit assent, Becky) shared the news last Christmas, for those of us that followed the Beatons from a distance, it was a punch in the gut.

    But Becky got better. Until she didn’t.

    Hello my friends. There is no easy way to put this out there. This is my sister Becky. Since two years ago, everything has changed in our family. We are asking for help now, we love her more than I could ever tell you. …

    Remission became recurrence, and she’s reached the limit of what chemo and radiation can safely do; the medical term for this is incurable. Because the Beatons have the good fortune to live in Canada, getting to this stage has not bankrupted them. There are clinical trials and experimental treatments to explore, but they are predominantly in the United States, which means that the family is facing a daunting charge for the privilege of participating in treatments that are still experimental and which may afford the possibility of not dying. The first estimate is CDN$150,000.

    The Maritimes breed hardy souls — self-reliant, sturdy, people that stand on their own two feet with pride. It can’t have been easy for Kate to consider making something as intimate as her sister’s mortality public, to ask for our help. But the Maritimes breed something else, and that’s community; in a place where everybody knows everybody for the past half-dozen generations, you wouldn’t need to ask for help because it would be offered without hesitation.

    We don’t know Kate and her family, not really … but sometimes, the internet approximation is almost as good. Since the appeal went out yesterday, Becky’s Rally Against Cancer has raised nearly ninety-five thousand goddamned dollars. It’s not a cure, it’s not a guarantee, but it’s enough to allow for a fighting chance, and that’s all any Nova Scotian ever needed to move the world.

    Over the next while, I am going to be telling you about her a bit every day. So that you know who you are helping.

    That’s what Kate told us after she asked for help; we don’t know Becky, not really, but we’re going to get the chance to. There are cartoons, remembrances, photos, funny stories, little moments that Kate’s carried with her of the sister she’s known all her life.

    There will be more, and even after all of them we won’t really know Becky — not really — but we’ll be closer. Kate’s sharing her sister’s life with us; we’re all going to share the joy and the hurt in return. We haven’t met her, most of us never will, but I think we can all trust Kate will tell her for us, Becky, because we know the Beatons are no strangers to colorful idiom: fuck cancer. We love you.

  • And yet, in this strange, sometimes wondrous, sometimes broken family called webcomics, we must make time to welcome another who has seen fit to join us:

    Introducing Quentin Malcolm Gruver Sung, born 11/13/17 (the first three two-digit primes). Baby and mom are happy and healthy; I’ve already changed 5+ diapers and am therefore ready to handle ANYTHING

    Also he met some Snoopies

    I’ve been asked about Quentin’s stats, sorry to neglect this vital info:

    Weight: 6lb 13oz
    Length: 20.67″
    Sign: Scorpio with knife
    Alignment: Neutral good
    Warp field output: 5.01 kilocochranes

    That from Jon “Ferocious J” Sung, as fine a man as ever has been and I’ll fight anybody that says different. Young Quentin will know the joys and embarrassments of growing up with an ubernerd for a father, who will surely never let him forget every late-night feeding and how many diapers barely contained warp core breaches.

    You’ve gone and done something amazing by being born, Q³ — you’ve engaged in an act of supreme optimism, joining us here in a world that’s frequently stupid and determinedly so. We’ll try to make it better by the time you’re old enough to notice; if we fail, I have every faith that you’ll pick up from us and see the job done. With your lineage, I know you’ll settle for nothing less than the establishment of a post-scarcity, egalitarian, technological, spacefaring utopia. Quentin, you have the conn.

No spam today. They aren’t family.

¹ One thing I haven’t seen mentioned — Kickstarter has a more global footprint than other services, so I wonder if this becomes a more global alternative to Patreon.

² It’s about ten years. Sorry for the hyperbole.

³ I see what you did there, J.

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