I have a story of REAL-LIFE NEWSROOM INTRIGUE to tell, and it starts with the comic above.
During the period where I drew the strip Raj and Boris for my college paper The Daily Texan, I introduced the Spanish-speaking Captain Toaster and decided his weird idiosyncrasies were worth at least one strip where he was the star. That resulted in the comic above.
Here’s the dialogue in English:
- SS FUN BOAT: Ahoy, Captain! It’s the famous Cocaine Island!
- CAPTAIN TOASTER: Excellent! With this cocaine, we can make a spectacular fortune.
- SS FUN BOAT: Shit, cap’n, it’s the popo!
- CAPTAIN TOASTER: We need to utilize Plan Maria Full of Grace!
- SS FUN BOAT: I hate this plan!
- CAPTAIN TOASTER: Just be thankful we didn’t go to Cocaine Continent.
At the time The Daily Texan was a sanctuary for fresh-outta-high-school kids to experiment with “edgy” humor, and more often than not you’d see curse words, drug jokes, and a heaping pile of self-pitying “women suck and so does my life” comics. Barring overt misogyny, I felt I at least could explore a few vices without repercussions.
I was surprised when the editor called me the night I submitted this comic to inform me that it would not be printed. I asked whether this had to do with the reference to drug muling, and she responded that the practice is “worse than child porn.”
I guess if you’re a child pornographer, you can sleep easier tonight.
What bothered me the most was that while the practice might be objectionable, I never insinuated that drug muling is a GREAT IDEA. No one is going to read my comic and decide “Hey, let’s give this smuggling thing a shot!”
I started to wonder what kind of comic WOULD be a bad influence on the audience - say, encouraging them to go ahead an play with matches. Then I drew this:
Aaaaaaaaand… this comic got printed. I sure hope no one burned down their house!