Commonwealth breakups & the copied comics con

by Natalie Dee

So my room is a complete disaster, tidiness-wise. But it isnít dirty. I just never put my clothes away when I wash them, and I always fall asleep reading books so they fall on the floor. But I donít have dirty clothes or food in there. So how cluttered is too cluttered?


I think a room is ďtoo clutteredĒ when the clutter interferes with the use of the room. For example, say you have a desk that you use to do computer stuff and homework and all thatólittle piles of paper, an empty coffee cup, no biggie as long as youíre still getting stuff done. But once you have too much stuff on your desk to open a book, or the mess starts getting distracting, you need to clean it up.

Another way to look at it is, if you would describe the room as ďmessy,Ē itís probably really messy, ícause people have a tendency to lie to themselves. Even if itís not dirty with food and whatnot lying around, it has the potential to get gross. If itís that easy to just let books drop on the floor and not pick them up, you would be bound to drop a donut hole and not be able to find it under a pile of socks, then it would be nasty ant city for real.


A year or so ago, I spent three months drawing this comic, and it wasnít half bad for a first effort. I went and got it copied at some copy shop and it cost me 50 bucks for 50 copies. I priced it at $1.50 and sent some copies to a comic shop.

The rest I foolishly gave away for free to friends and occasionally people I didnít know. Also I forgot to pick up the little money I made from the comic shop and they claimed it as their own. So I lost $50 on this adventure.

Now Iím doing another comic, but this time somebody I know bought a high-quality printer for his job in tattooing and he said I could use it as long as I paid for ink and paper, meaning I could copy way more comics for a fraction of the price.

My thing is, should I give them out for free again because I would lose less money, or shank them by pretending I used Kinkoís again and making them pay? óSteven

It is a lot of work getting your art out there for people to see. The thing is, if this is just your second comic, you really shouldnít be worrying too much about the money issue. I think itís reasonable to want to at least break even, but why do people deserve to get ďshankedĒ for supporting your art?

Figure out how much it will cost to print your comics on your friendís printer (donít be surprised if itís more than you think; ink and paper can run pretty steep for a nice printer) and decide how many comics you want to print. Say you want to do 100 comics, and it will cost 75 cents to print each one. Youíll have to recoup 75 bucks, right? You can take half of your comics and sell them for $1.50 like you did before, and give away the other half. That way, you recoup all the expenses of making the comic, plus you have a bunch of comics to use for promotion, gifts to friends, etc.

Youíll have to do your own math, but you get the idea. You can make your art without losing money or fucking other people out of their money. Donít lie to people if you donít have to.


Iíve been dating this guy for almost three months. A few weeks ago we kind of just stopped talking. My friends tell me this is a commonwealth breakup. I would be so relieved if it was, because I donít like him that way anymore. What do you think? óMadeline

I think you are probably broken up with him. I mean, have you ever dated anyone you liked a lot and just not talked or hung out with them for a few weeks? Itís obvious that neither of you likes the other, or you would have been in contact by now. That, or he has been lost in the woods this whole time, thinking about you and how heís gonna make it out of the woods so he can be with you. Then when he finally gets rescued, heíll go back home and be very, very sad that there are no messages from you on his answering machine.


I work in the most god-awful Customer Service Phone Job I can imagine. There is this clothing store in town that pays the same as my awful job, but I donít think Iím hardcore enough to work there. How can I convert my everyday wardrobe into something super-hardcore so I can get this job? óLauren


OK. #1. If it pays the same, itís not worth it to invest in a new wardrobe to get the new job. You would be losing money and that defeats the purpose of working. WE ARE TRYING TO MAKE MONEY HERE.

#2. Customer Service Phone Jobs suck a lot, but the one thing that sucks even more is Retail Jobs. At least with Customer Service Phone Jobs you donít have to look at the damned idiots you have to deal with all day, and you get to sit down instead of standing for nine hours in some damned foolish outfit.

#3. If you must know the secret to converting your wardrobe into something super-hardcore, it is to not iron your shirts and slacks. Let them get real wrinkly. Now youíre cool.


If you could crossbreed any two or three animals, which animals would you combine and why? What would you call it? Can I ride one? óJanine

I would cross a jackass and a hippo and call it the Internet. You could ride one if you wanted, but youíd probably get ejaculate all over yourself.

Natalie Dee is a Columbus-based artist and writer whose work can be seen at To Ask Natalie, e-mail

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