Most of the time I can watch, or read, or listen to, art that I don’t care for. Maybe it bores me, maybe it doesn’t engage me, but if it’s professional I can usually get through it. Sure, I can turn it off, and have, but generally I’m pretty easygoing about it. Music is a little different in that I refuse to listen to songs I hate (nearly breaking my index finger jabbing the station button when an alternative or classic rock station plays an ABBA song in the middle of a string of good stuff for NO DAMN GOOD DAMN REASON DAMN AT ALL) but even in those circumstances I get it.

I get why other people like ABBA. What they hear in it, see in it, bring to it. So even though I hate it, I understand why they don’t (they’re evil and wrong), and why it speaks to them. Not everyone is the same, nobody is wrong for liking what they like because only they know what they like. I wasn’t a fan of Britney Spears but some of her songs were cool and I could see why the people who liked them, liked them. Same with Timberlake, and Timbaland, and Tiny Tim, I get it. I truly do. My taste is different, but what they like isn’t bad, it’s just bad for me.

But then there are the times where I absolutely did not get it. Bieber isn’t good. I hear his songs, I think they’re not good (not much of a singer, not distinctive, songs aren’t particularly well crafted, no signature style, pale imitation of thirty-year old music), but then hear them everywhere. Find out they’re hits. I don’t get it. Don’t see it. Doesn’t make sense to me. But I’m not a teenage girl, nor have I ever been, so I just don’t get it. Am I proud of that? No, not really, I hate not understanding things. It’s like not laughing when people tell a joke and everyone else is laughing. You wonder if they’re faking the laughter or if you missed something.

Take Wallace and Gromit (please! For the love of god), my wife wanted to see it at the theatre so we went and nobody laughed. Ever. Not one titter. Halfway through I left to go to the bathroom. Sort of. I went. And… eventually I went but I didn’t really need to go. Then I washed my hands thoroughly, got my big soda refilled, then sighed and went back in to endure more of the preciousness. Nobody laughed. I swear. It was a comedy. Nobody laughed.

But at the end there was applause! I started looking around, wild-eyed and astonished, to gawk at all the smiling faces. They’d liked it. And I didn’t get it. At all. The Precious it burned.
Then there are the times where only you get it, a laugh at a slipped in joke that you’d have to be a giant nerd to get (hi, Mom!), a brutal fight scene turning into a dance sequence for absolutely no reason, any Stephen Chow movie at all. The stuff that you get, that nobody else gets is actually pretty special.

Heck, there’s a movie that I swear was only made for me because I can see why nobody else liked it; Gentlemen Broncos. It makes fun of stuff I dislike (70’s SF), it contains an actor I love (Jemaine Clement), it’s about an aspiring SF writer (which I was at the time I watched it), it makes no sense, and complete sense all at the same time. My wife kept staring at me as I laughed and smiled all the way through. She didn’t get it.

And that’s okay. Not everything is for everybody. Dodge the Bullet is like that, I put a lot of care and attention into crafting the female characters but it’s still true that the female characters are often less dressed than is considered proper in comic strip form (though I’d always point out that in real life you often see women wearing similar outfits in similar circumstances. Except for Jen Rose; I admit the cut off tank top and bikini top combination isn’t standard Nannying clothes. It should be. But isn’t). Some have suggested that by doing that I limit my potential audience (apparently women hate looking at attractive women, which seems odd when looking at the attractive women on magazine covers that are explicitly sold to women) but I don’t care exactly.

I’d love the largest audience possible, I think Dodge the Bullet is often really good, I think if more people read it, more people would like it. But, and this is a big but (and normally I like big buts, I cannot lie) I won’t take those steps. Partly out of obstinance, partly out of a feeling that the complaint is more about pushing an agenda than trying to honestly expand my readership, but mainly for a very, very selfish reason. The reason the comic came to exist in the first place.

Dodge the Bullet is the comic I’d have wanted to read when I was twelve to twenty-five and that was always my goal. I’m proud that I’ve held to that and did the best I could making it a reality.

For those that get it: I Salute You.

And I thank you for reading,

Steve