Transcript Episode 657: Kevin Huizenga

This year, Drawn & Quarterly is reissuing Curses. Now 20 years old, the book represents Kevin Huizenga at his finest. The book features a collection of stories united by the cartoonist's long time lead, Glenn Ganges, exploring history, fiction, folk tales and more, backdropped against a seemingly mundane suburban midwestern backdrop. It presents a true master at work.

Kevin Huizenga  0:12  
pretty weird. In 2019, I was teaching in Minneapolis and river at night came out. And I traveled around with that book. And then in early 2020, my mom was was battling cancer. And I had come to Chicago to visit her in the hospital. And around that time is when lockdown happened. And I, what I ended up doing is just moving in with my parents to help take care of my mom through lockdown. And that was, that was a crazy time. And my mom passed away during that time. And with with me and my dad and my sister basically taking care of her through lockdown, which was, you know, what terrible timing. And, and then, you know, and then my, my partner also got cancer shortly after that, and we transitioned into taking care of her. In she, she's all clear since then. But since then I moved to Chicago and live in Chicago now. And I don't know, the rest is a blur. A beautiful blur.

Brian Heater  1:49  
First of all, my condolences. It's been very interesting talking to people about people who make things about the last four years and some people have been able to flourish and be productive. Other ones myself, you know, I probably like a lot of people was going through some depression and found it really difficult to be productive at all. Were you especially during that time when you were caring for your mother? Were you thinking about art at all? I

Kevin Huizenga  2:21  
mean, yeah, of course every day, I mean, I'm, I try to draw and in, in, in make something every day if I can. I really get depressed if I'm not working on something. I really get depressed if I go a few days without drawing or writing start to feel crazy.

I don't know. You know, that's in some ways my life was was radically different in other ways. It was the same old thing, what it was, like, you know, writing and drawing, and, you know, this is after my, my mom had passed, and I moved back out of their house. You know, it was back to work. And then all the pandemic stuff that we all went through, you know, with masks and with, you know, going to the grocery store seeming like a major event, you know,

Brian Heater  3:27  
what was your mom's relationship with your work?

Kevin Huizenga  3:31  
My mom, my mom is where I got my love of reading. When I was young, my mom would take us to the library, and she would get a pile of books and I would get a pile of books. And you know, after a while I started like digging in her pile of books and reading what she got out of the library and yeah, she's she's, she's where I got my love of reading. She loved. I don't know if she loved all kinds of novels. I remember her talking to me about Ursula Kala, Gwen. And, but then, at the same time, you know, we would read Stephen King or we would read Tom. At one point, I think, I think my mom read a Tom Clancy book, even you know, it was because it was like, in the news or something and that I read the Tom Clancy book, and then I started reading Tom Clancy books. I mean, you know, I was when I was a little kid. But yeah, I owe that to my mom. Yeah. We talked about comics later and she admitted to me at one point that she said, she says I admit that I don't even really look at the pictures. I just read

Brian Heater  4:45  
the words. She's she's talking about your stuff or just comics in general, your

Kevin Huizenga  4:50  
comics in general. And it made me realize, I think, the way the different ways people read comics that some people I don't think even Read the words, they just look at the pictures. But my mom, you know, admitted to me that she doesn't even really look at the pictures. And so she's like, sometimes I have to go back and look at the pictures and try to figure out what's going on. Because she wasn't a big comics reader.

Brian Heater  5:14  
I assume she must have read your work. Sure, in more ways than one. It is very, very literary. You were extensively talking about the rerelease of curses? It had been a few years since I read it. And there are there are a lot of straight adaptations in that book. Yes.

Kevin Huizenga  5:38  
Yes. I mean, you talk like the first book, The first story in the book is green tea, which is an adaptation of a Victorian ghost story. That was kind of done for an anthology that was kind of an assignment that really wasn't my choice. But, you know, it was for an anthology put out by Ben Catmull, and Dylan Williams, about Victorian ghost stories. And I think part of the, their idea was smart, which was that, you know, this stuff is all public domain. And so why not make comics of it? And so that's what we did. And that, that's always been in the back of my mind, too, that there's all this public domain, you know, writing that, like, could be adapted. I, you know, I guess that's what, there's people that are doing that, for sure, you know, with I don't know, like, you see those anthologies or you see those adaptations? But, um,

Brian Heater  6:38  
graphics it what was it called?

Kevin Huizenga  6:41  
Graphics? Classics. Yeah. Something like that. Yeah. Yeah. And then, you know, I think I've always thought to like, about how movies are often made out of books. And I've often thought, why aren't more comics, you know, adapting books, but I haven't really done it very much. But I'm often thinking like, you know, maybe I'll turn my attention more to adapting certain short stories or working with writers. Was that

Brian Heater  7:13  
a first for you, then?

Kevin Huizenga  7:15  
Yeah, I mean, you know, I think when you're young cartoonist, you do. Like, a classic thing is to do a comic of adapting a song, you know, doing song lyrics and making a comic out of it. I feel like that's one of those like classic gates, you have to go through where it's kind of a bad idea, and it doesn't really ever turn out good. But everybody does it, and you kind of have to do it at some point. And I definitely did that I think I adapted. Adapted is, you know, like a big one. I basically, you know, I basically drew a comic of, of the doors. Song the end, when I was in college, I thought that was a good idea. But of course, it's totally embarrassing and should be forgotten. I think I adapted some, you know, adapted some stuff like that in college, too. I did something from the book of t. This book about Japanese tea ceremonies,

Brian Heater  8:22  
it's a good opportunity to, you know, with that example, or the Victorian example, Alyssa with the Italo Calvino example of almost finding an excuse to to draw an entirely different era that you might not otherwise.

Kevin Huizenga  8:41  
Yeah, you know, I I like coming across something and thinking I could never write this, you know, but I would love to, I would love to visualize it and tell it in comics form. But, you know, I love to put words in comics that I never have seen before. And you know, you're gonna find that in, in someone else's story. It's more exciting than the things I could come up with out of my head. The Calvino story that you're talking about was like itself an adaptation of Italian folktale. It was a collection of Italian folktales. And I think the idea there was like to draw on folktales. The feathered ogre, the idea wasn't even really to to use that particular folktale and be faithful to it. It was really just to kind of play with the folktale form, you know, like, I read all these folktales and I really liked how they reminded me in a way of John Stanley's little Lulu, which I was reading at the time, too, because there was this sort of force of, of storytelling where was like, you could, it was like it was like this primal force of storytelling where it felt like John Stanley could just like write a story about anything. Like you could write a story about a rowboat, and umbrella, or, you know, an ice cream cone or whatever. And folktales felt the same way in that they, they just felt like, like, endless variations on these forms were like, like, they would often start out with like a parent dying, and the child being set loose in the world, to you know, find their way or it would be sort of a quest story where the, you know, the, the, the character would have to find some object to make something happen, or something like that. And so when I was when I was working on the feathered ogre story, it really was a situation where I got this assignment to do a story for Drawn and Quarterly. And I was like, What am I going to do? And I thought, well, I'll, I'll do what these folktale writers do, which is just like start with one of the basic setups, which is like, you know, the king needs to have an heir or the king wants to have a child but is unable to king and queen are unable to have children. And so they turn to you know, a witch or some kind of magical object, you know, which then turns into some kind of monkey's paw situation, where like, the Witch curses the king, because the king doesn't, doesn't hold up his end of the bargain, or whatever, you know, these kinds of classic setups. And by that point, I had come up with Glenn Ganges is sort of my like, default character. And so I just thought, Well, I'll try to mix those things together. Something that

Brian Heater  12:04  
does really well, it's stuck with me is the the mixing is and something that I don't recall seeing very often, it's the mixing of the fantastic with the mundane. And it almost seems like you leaned into this, you know, suburban Midwestern mini mall, as almost, you know, as a clear juxtaposition for this. feathered ogre. Yeah, for

Kevin Huizenga  12:32  
sure. I mean, I think at the time, too, I was like, I was kind of becoming aware of the suburbs as my, like, where I lived, like, it was always just sort of the default, neutral background of my life, but I started realizing it was sort of a strange kind of artificial environment. And I wanted to write about that, and sort of call attention to that a little bit. You know, while at the same time, like, I, you know, I guess I just didn't really want to write about like, your stereotypical, like, folk tale type world, you know, with like kings and queens and horse drawn carts, and cauldrons or whatever, you know, like, I'm not interested in that at all. But, um, what's nice about like, you know, ogres, and magical enchanted objects, and so forth is the freedom as a storyteller, you can kind of get yourself in and out of jams pretty easily. With with the story. You can kind of do whatever you want, you know, if you need. If you need something mad if you need something to happen easily and quickly, you can just come up with some magical reason, reason that it can happen.

Brian Heater  13:58  
Yeah, I mean, something that only occurs to me now that we're talking about it is presumably in the time that these were written, they were written, or they're set in fairly mundane settings, these are things that you know, that we consider to be like foreign or fantastical now, but you have to assume though, to a certain extent, these kinds of folktales were, were set in whatever the the equivalent of a gas station or mini mall was at the time.

Kevin Huizenga  14:26  
Yeah. Just like, you know, the farm and then like the ogre lived in the mountains nearby, and you had to get on a horse and go go to the mountains and find the cave. It's normal stuff. A big

Brian Heater  14:42  
part of the genesis of these were these not constraints, but these guidelines that you were given by, by Dylan or by drawing quarterly,

Kevin Huizenga  14:53  
Drawn and Quarterly really was just like, you know, keep it under 40 pages, you know, or whatever. And that was it. In

Brian Heater  15:00  
the case of the first story, though, I'm thinking that almost as as an exercise, you know, in much the same way that adapting a song was that, do you find that that is helpful for actually kind of getting your bearings? On

Kevin Huizenga  15:15  
the Yeah, for sure, for sure. I mean, that's like the that's like the the one of the main lessons of being an artist is that you got to come up with some kind of constraint, or you got to come up with some kind of boundary, or some kind of rules that you're going to follow so that you can kind of like have structure, but then you can play within the structure. For sure, for sure.

Brian Heater  15:40  
I didn't actually realize this at the time. But going back and reading some of the contemporary interviews he did. Around the time we last spoke, you were talking about the god I'm gonna kill this, but zettelkasten and Mike close at all? Oh,

Kevin Huizenga  15:52  
yeah. zettelkasten. Yeah, that came much. That came a lot later. But yeah, that

Brian Heater  15:58  
was sort of in that 2019 time period. Right. Yeah, I spoke. Yeah. Is that still part of your process? Yeah,

Kevin Huizenga  16:07  
for sure. Yeah, it's evolved. I mean, it's evolved. I was just telling some younger cartoonists the other day about a kind of a variation of this meaning I was telling them like, we were talking about how we do a lot of work in our sketchbooks. And I was saying that I was, I was saying, I really learned how important it is to put page numbers in your sketchbooks and also name each sketchbook so that you can then later go back and refer to what is on what page in what book that's connects to zettelkasten. And the idea that when you're taking notes, every note should sort of have a unique number, or some kind of like identification code. And that's part of some larger system, so that you don't just like drown in your notes, and your notebooks and your sketches. But that there's a way in which you can, you can refer back to things. And that way you can weave through your work, your writing and your work, you can link things together by for instance, you can take a step back then and make an index of like, every time I wrote about this thing, you know, this subject, and here's where you can find that material. It's in this notebook page, this Nope, you know, pages 15 to 30, et cetera, et cetera. So anyways, I was just talking about that the other day for sure. What drew

Brian Heater  17:52  
you to that. And, again, going back and reading the interviews he did around the last time we spoke, it sounded like you were kind of really testing the waters at that point.

Kevin Huizenga  18:05  
I mean, you know, I'm, I'm insane scribbler like, I mean, I'm doodling right now as we're talking, but like, I'm surrounded by just like paper, and notebooks. And note cards, like I also my partner, and I have these old library card catalogs that we've got, we got them from the Museum of Contemporary Art here in Chicago, they were getting rid of their library card catalogs, so we got one of them. So we have all these drawers of library card catalogs that we can use the the flip side as note cards. And I've just been using those note cards for years and years now. And I have a zillion of them. And I don't know I'm constantly just like writing things down and trying to keep track of everything going on around me on paper. And the zettelkasten thing was exciting to me in 2019. And still is because it helps you understand how to stay organized. Not even just to stay organized, but to like. Like, if part of your brain as a writer as part of the part of your brain is just generating stuff all the time. And you want to note you want to write it down somewhere. But then another part of you needs to go back as an editor and start assembling it into a structure where it's like this part comes at the beginning of the the story or the essay, this thing comes next this thing comes next. Or even you can say like, you know, I wrote about this here, and I can refer to it in this thing or I can refer to it in this thing. So it was exciting to to not feel lost in one's own archives, but to have a set, you know, somewhat of a system so that you can go back and thread through all the notes and all the notebooks and have a sense for that you can build something out of all that raw material.

Brian Heater  20:17  
First, it's important in the actual crafting of a story, but then when it comes time to put some of these seemingly, you know, disparate disparate pieces together into a book, then that must come incredibly in handy.

Kevin Huizenga  20:34  
Yeah, and you know, it's still chaos. It's still like, you know, when I put Kurt, you know, coming back to curses when I put curses together, this new edition, I put notes in the back, which which forced me to, you know, I did, I dug through my, my files and my old sketchbooks and stuff looking for stuff to put in the book. And, you know, it was still chaos. And even after I was finished with the book, I found a lot more stuff that I hadn't even found yet when I was putting the book together, and I thought, Oh, I could have put this in the book too. But sorry, sort of as a sidestep to this, what we're talking about is this idea in the formation of the Internet. In the early days of the web, when I think Tim Berners Lee and stuff was was coming up with the ideas for how the internet would work, one of his ideas was that, that documents on the internet, the computer network would have a firm address, that would never change. And so then that address would would be stuck forever in in a certain code. And then you could always add to it or link to it or refer back to it. And so you could build out outward from the Stable documents or the Stable notes, or Stable pages. And then you could, you could see how that would be a totally different kind of internet where there would be sort of like, everything would have a Stable address, that wouldn't change. And you could always link to things and build upon it. But instead of what we have now is, it's just chaos of links in chaos of, of addresses. And so things disappear, and then links go dead. And so the internet is just this kind of like, thing where there's like, there's so much amnesia where like, all these all these websites and blogs that existed, you know, 15 1015 years ago, are all gone now. And so it's almost like they never existed. And you can't even refer back to them unless you have some, you know, unless you can find them in like the internet way back. Do you know what I mean? And so zettelkasten is kind of like almost like a physical version of that where it's like you write a note. And then that note has a number and then that that note then like exists forever, and you can always build upon it.

Brian Heater  23:21  
I was going back and reading some of the blogs posts on your site. And it seemed like you almost Harvard can remember exactly what it was. But there's a reference to Blogger and you almost harbor this like the style Jia for that form of the internet that is now completely gone.

Kevin Huizenga  23:38  
Yeah, I, I noticed. I noticed that a lot of blogs that I used to read all went dead around 2016. It's a weird thing that I kept noticing that 2016 or 2017 is around the time that a lot of people stopped updating blogs, if even if they're still there. That's when they stopped being updated. But a lot of them are just physically gone altogether. And I guess, I guess that was partly the way that social media had totally taken over by that point. And I think also maybe the 2016 election probably felt like a turning point. Maybe like a like a cultural shift. And like people just stopped blogging or something.

Brian Heater  24:28  
My job job is working at a technology site and I've been i i have i have one of the new Apple headsets to review and I've been reading about it and one of the

Kevin Huizenga  24:41  
I want to hear about that. Yeah.

Brian Heater  24:42  
When Apple was introducing it, unveiled it over the summer they kept dropping the phrase infinite canvas, like over and over. And I'll send when we get off of Sydney the link I wrote like 6000 words about this thing and talked a little bit about Got McLeod and reinventing comics. And as you're describing this, I'm really just thinking about all of the unfulfilled promise of, of, of the internet and of technology. And if things had worked out better, all of these sorts of things that you could do in terms of note taking, and tying things together that just for whatever reason isn't possible with the current tools.

Kevin Huizenga  25:28  
Yeah, I mean, software design is such a big deal. You know, like the choices that are made by the software designers really, like, have all these downstream effects on what happens in culture. Now, what's possible, what's not possible, I think about that kind of thing all the time. Yeah, I mean, even something like Wikipedia, I was thinking about how Wikipedia, the fact that it's so Stable, it has been still so Stable for so long, is in a way, like, it's like one of the things that still carries, it's like, like, you can still refer to it, the links still work after all these years, you know, like, there's something and it would be such a tragedy, if Wikipedia were to be like, taken down or to be or like, you know, all the links were shifted to some different addresses or something like that, what a mess, that would be it, but

Brian Heater  26:32  
also just, you know, if you were able to do any of this electronically, it would be a lot easier. But it to a certain extent, it sounds like you're also tied to the, especially in the case of the card catalog, the physical object.

Kevin Huizenga  26:46  
Well, what what we're talking about with zettelkasten, like, there's a ton of guys who are companies, people who are working on digital versions of that, that's like a, it's like a very hot area of software development, that basically called note taking apps. And there's a ton of them, and they're evolving very quickly. And, you know, like a lot of things you kind of like, there's different camps, you know, who you kind of have to throw in your lot with one program, and then commit to it for a while. And then watch, while everybody gets excited about a different one. I use a program called Rome, which is like a note taking app that allows for backlinking. And I, I've dumped a lot of my writing into that. It's, it's, it's cool to be able to dump a lot of your writing over the years into something and then you click on a word, and you create, you turn that word into a link, and then every instance that that word appears in your own writing, you can link you can see it all links together, you know. And it makes possible all kinds of new things with weaving together, your writing over the years. And, you know, there's all kinds of different versions of that software where you can visualize it as like a big graph, you know, and you can play around with the data and move things around. It's, it's cool. It's, it's, and then you can you know, and you can hack it to do all kinds of things, you know, it's like software. It's exciting. The thing I was gonna say, coming back to Infinite Canvas. I've been thinking lately about this idea of comics, the, you know, connects to the infinite canvas idea of like, if you could, here's my idea. In my mind, I call it a quilt. If you could take all the comics ever done by a certain cartoonist, and put them side by side, like, on this giant, infinite canvas. So like, say all the comics ever done by Jack Kirby, and you would, you would put them all side by side on this giant scrolling canvas, and then you could zoom like way you could zoom in and out. Maybe you could like select whole chunks of it at a time and move it around, or you could tag you know, different areas in different ways. And then like physically move all that around.

Brian Heater  29:36  
I understand visually, and I understand that it's a database, but it's a visual database all in one place. Obviously. You'd have to have a very good navigation system in order for you to have your bearings at all. If you're just

Kevin Huizenga  29:51  
so there was a point with software where it seemed like it seemed like there was a lot of excitement about like putting a ton of photos all into one One giant canvas and then, and then people were excited by how quickly you could zoom in and out.

Brian Heater  30:07  
Well, there was a trend in like the, yeah, the 90s and aughts, where they did that thing where they like drew a picture on a bunch of smaller images. Do you remember that? Right, that

Kevin Huizenga  30:16  
was a hot thing for sure. Photo mosaics or whatever, is that what they were called, it would be kind of like that. But it would be like every comics page drawn by a certain cartoonist, or even like, you know, you could do a year, you know, or something like every comics page, published in 1970, or something like that, or 1963. It just seems like, it seems like an insane thing to do. But it seems like I can imagine it being doable. But also like as a as a sort of, like, thought experiment. And myself being a cartoonist, like it's sort of, it's what I imagined, like, when I'm dead, that will be what I leave behind is the all the pages that I've ever done. And then there'll be like a boundary around it. And, you know, you could conceivably take that body of work, zoom out and see it. And then that would take, take its place on the giant quilt of the, you know, the infinity of all the other comics that were drawn. I

Brian Heater  31:25  
totally understand conceptually, and I think I understand it as an art object. But is there like a pragmatic use for this? Or is it just fun zooming in and out on somebody's art?

Kevin Huizenga  31:40  
I don't know, it's just a way to arrange data, I suppose. You know, like, I have all these, you know, I'm sure a lot of people do have all these digital copies now of comics on my hard drive. There's all these, you know, electronic versions of books that you can buy or pirate. And there's all these comics, you know, are available on the internet. And you just thought I, you know, I save them and throw them in a folder. And over the years, it's like, these folders have gotten bigger and bigger and bigger. And so they're, they're sort of arranged like that already. They're just arranged in files and in folders, you know,

Brian Heater  32:20  
one of the things that I've been doing, as I'm testing this new piece of hardware out, I downloaded the Marvel app the other day. And I don't know if you've used that, or if you use Comixology, when it was a thing, but it you know, essentially, it's that Netflix subscription style thing where you basically have access to probably not all but most of Marvel's entire catalog. Yeah, it's, it is like going through Netflix in the sense of, here's all of this movie history. And here are all these great works of art. And it's incredibly useful. But there's something almost demoralizing just seeing them all presented together in an app in that way, where they're all kind of the same.

Kevin Huizenga  33:12  
Right, and the people who have designed the app have made, you know, they've made the decisions about how that stuff is going to be presented and accessed and, and interacted with, you know, if all that stuff was just raw data that you could open up and let people build on top of, you know, then it would be it'd be interesting to see what people come up with, you know, I guess the other thing that's in my mind is there's all these comics sites that are like, you know, Grand Comics Database, or, you know, in music, there's all these different sites where it's kind of like collector obsessives, like find different ways to categorize the archives, and link it all together, either by like, reviews, or like rankings, or like, they tag it or they, they arrange it by artists, you know, or in discographies, and so on and so forth. So

Brian Heater  34:25  
much of the internet, so much of Spotify is is is about discovery, which is useful at the end of the day, and obviously, comic shops still exist, but you know, certainly record stores don't exist in the same meaningful way that they used to so you've got to find some kind of proxy for the discovery process online.

Kevin Huizenga  34:46  
Yeah, and you know, a lot of it comes down to ownership and so on, so forth. Like to tie it back to curses, like it's like what we're talking about with folk tales. You know, folk tales are stories that belong I want to do everyone. And so the tradition sort of like repeats them and evolves them over time. And part of what I play within the book is, in the is quoting that the story with the starlings gestures that this idea that the starlings are mimics and that they can quote this unit, they, they pick up the sounds of traffic or the sounds of car doors, or the sounds of air conditioners or whatever. And in the same way, like in the comic, I'm, I'm kind of quoting from a lot of different sources. And, you know, in you even walk a line sometimes where you're like, I'm, you know, I quote from Robert crumbs, brief history of America, or, I'm not sure what the exact title is, but, um, it's the same sort of thing where it's like, I, I like the, I like the idea of these, these, these files, and this work being available to play around with, you know, with the software, rather than just, you know, you sign up and then you you can use their app. It's, it's also connects up to the idea of notetaking, in the same way where like, you have all this, you have all this writing in your notes. And then you have to figure out some way to arrange it so that you can keep it alive, you can use it in a new form, you can tie it together in an essay, or in a story or something like that. I suppose what we're talking about, is the kind of thing that happens with texts all the time, you know, texts all end up in a library. And you can quote from them and in writing a new book, and quote from old books. To make something new out of it. There's

Brian Heater  37:11  
the very obvious visual metaphor to I mean, I imagine you get this all the time, but you know, there's air gay, or there's ECC eager, or there's, you know, stylistically there are things that you're referencing in the process of making the book. Yes, yes.

Kevin Huizenga  37:28  
Yes. And I think as a cartoonist, and when I was a younger cartoon is to especially like, you look to the past for, you know, what am I doing? How should I do this, and you look for models, and you look for styles. And when I went, Yeah, the story with 28th Street and the feathered ogre, the other big inspiration for that was reading EC cigar. And, you know, he would just draw people sort of from the crotch up. And he would draw, like to have them in sort of a horizontal in a in a panel, and they would just be talking. And that was it. And it was funny, and it was compelling. And the story moved forward. So that's what I tried to do on some of those pages, too. I was like, I'll frame this panel, the way that Sega frames his panels, that's

Brian Heater  38:23  
exactly the story that I was thinking of, but I was thinking specifically of the doctor who just feels like he could be a Popeye character. Yeah,

Kevin Huizenga  38:31  
that's yeah, those pages are definitely the pages where I was thinking of car. Yeah.

Brian Heater  38:36  
One thing I think that we're kind of talking around, but we haven't quite touched on. I know, it's something you wrote a little bit about on your blog. And, obviously interests you is, is this world of LLM? And like generative AI? Are you? Do you have a morbid curiosity? Is it something that you are actually interested in exploring at all?

Kevin Huizenga  39:01  
I don't know. I don't know. I, I don't have a take on it really yet. I feel like it's it feels new, in a way that something hasn't felt new in a while, if that makes sense. In the sense that the way that the internet felt new in the mid to late 90s. And you were like, well, this is going to be something you know, I think and then and then you get a lot of people who are trying to make money. You know, to me, that's like the that's the part that I kind of, for better, for worse, definitely for richer, for poorer. I've tuned out of, you know, like, I remember, in the 2000s in the late 90s. It was like everybody was talking about when we talk about the internet, and then, and then it was like everybody was talking about focused ads, you know, and I was like, Really, that's what, that's what's exciting about the internet. And I thought it was so stupid. And I laughed at it at the time. And of course, let's like, in a way it took over our world and our an economy, that focused ads ended up being the thing that somehow everything was built on top of or built around, or built in the service of I don't know. But in so in the same way, it's like, there's a lot that's fun to think about with the MLMs. And with AI. But in the same way, I feel like the the exciting, the interesting stuff is going to be, you know, art projects, or, you know, eccentric software design, and that a lot of it's just going to be, you know, like, stupid capitalists, money grubbing. And it's just going to be disappointing. And it's, you know, that's what our, that's what our children's lives will be characterized by as whatever, whatever makes it to the top of that scramble for money. You know, that'll be what, what happens, but, you know, at least at least for now, there's a lot of fun things to think about, you know, doing or playing with. But, you know, I'm, I'm kind of pessimistic and cynical, I guess,

Brian Heater  41:39  
I'm with you. And this is something I think about a lot, because I actually end up reading a lot about robotics for my job. And I always have to have this conversation with people who, you know, make it build robots about the job loss to automation, and they always have this, you know, obviously, really rosy picture, because they kind of have to, and the thing that I inevitably say to them is, as we're projecting out these utopias, you know, whether it was Tim Berners, Lee or Timothy Leary got really into this idea of the internet as Utopia, that that we forget to factor capitalism, and that we end with the job loss thing we forget to factor in that, like, you don't think that if Amazon could save pennies on the dollar, by automating every single job out of his existence, that they that they would,

Kevin Huizenga  42:32  
yeah, I mean, the decisions are not going to be made according to real values. They're going to be made according to money. expedient CS. And I, you know, what, that's just that's the way it is, I guess, you know, and I guess the best thing you can do is sort of try to carve out some spaces that are shielded, you know, in the same, you know, like, I'm I, you know, I think about libraries all the time. And I think that libraries are secretly The best thing about civilization. And that, you know, and then, and then, and then I think of schools, as schools are built on top of libraries, in my mind, that's how I think about it. I don't know if that's, but in my mind, there's a library, and then people start reading the books, and then they want to have a book club, and then the book club becomes a class. And then before you know it, you have a school. And I still am idealistic about that world. And to me, that feels like a good space to protect and in hold on to. And I don't remember where I'm going with this. But like, yeah, you know, responding to what you're saying about like the idealists or the futurists, and so on so forth. Like I said, I keep thinking about that, like, they're really excited about the ads that they're going to get to vote, you know, they're going to focus an ad on me because I said something in my phone heard me

Brian Heater  44:27  
or whatever. Instagram is like the ultimate version of that because somewhat of it is art for for people. But it's also telling I had Jillian Tamaki on recently and we were talking a little bit about, you know, because she has been directly affected by the the library bands in in Florida, and here in New York. When the mayor was making cuts that you know, the library hours were the first things to go and I think that there's probably something very telling and why these, like, seemingly benign institutions are the first things that people target?

Kevin Huizenga  45:07  
Yeah, yeah, it's a, it's a whole thing, for sure. I mean, I, you know, I also have a real, like, I think about university libraries all the time. And those are some of my favorite places in the world. And I don't know, I'm always concerned. I'm always concerned when I hear something about technology and libraries, and that I get suspicious.

Brian Heater  45:39  
You have been teaching for a while. You know, as you're talking to these young budding cartoonists, is there anything that is really exciting you about comics?

Kevin Huizenga  45:57  
I mean, the way I think about it is that I think there's a particular kind of person who latches on to comics, you know, they could latch on to anything else, you know, sports, or, you know, taking care of horses, or whatever, but there, there's something about comics that that resonates with the part of you that loves to focus and concentrate, and write and build something and create a structure for something. And so when I see these students, I often feel like we're part of the same we got the same quirks, you know, the same personality quirks and so I just, I'm trying to like do my best to like, help them with the path that that is ahead of them if they continue to, you know, try to find the pleasures of concentrating on comics and making comics, the the inevitable hurdles and the inevitable things that they're going to run into. And that's, that's, that's icing my place.