Fierce Competition

February 3rd, 2017 – 5:42am PST:

When I first had the idea for this comic, I knew the last panel would be the most crucial. The expression had to be perfect. It’s meant to be funny, sure, but there’s more to it then that, if I’m honest.

The thing is, I’ve always been competitive when it comes to art, even at a young age. When someone was a better artist then me, I HATED it, and that pushed me to work even harder to improve. I had to be the best. My mom recently saw my webcomic and felt inspired to begin one herself. That’s great, of course, and I was naturally supportive. At the same time, the relentlessly competitive side of my personality never makes exceptions, hence the final line from the comic, the words I thought, but would NEVER say aloud: “Well, now you’re the competition, wench!” Again, it’s meant to be funny, yet there’s a grain of truth in there as well.

Later it occurred to me that the thought I’d had following her pronouncement was chillingly close to a line from one of my favorite movies: There Will Be Blood. If you haven’t seen it, and intend to do so, then stop reading now.

Near the end of the movie, after a lifetime of drilling for oil and managing his business, the main character, Daniel Plainview (played by Daniel Day-Lewis), finds himself wealthy beyond his wildest dreams, yet bereft of purpose. There’s simply nothing left to achieve. His son comes to speak with him, and explains that he wants to strike out on his own. Day-Lewis’ character is upset by the news, and sees his son’s decision as intentionally hurtful, but more then that, he recognizes that his son will be competing in the same industry, and for the same business opportunities, which leads to his best line: “This make you my competitor.” Those five words are infused with such emotion, such depth… and such pain. Daniel Day-Lewis is, and always has been, a great actor. The scene did justice to a state you can easily find yourself in when you’ve pushed hard enough, and long enough, to be the best. Sometimes it feels as if you’re fighting against your nature to be supportive of someone, simply because they have the potential to eclipse your success.

I hope I’m never the lost, bitter soul that Daniel Plainview became. I should probably call my mom and wish her the best with her comic, just to be on the safe side.

That, or I could get some Oreos and watch another episode of Trailer Park Boys. Hm…