Demon Of Tooth Decay
Okay, if any strip needs a note, it’s this one.
First of all, I know this is a picture of the Hindu God Ganesha. Brandon was the first to point this out to me. I did not know it at the time I wrote the strip, but now that I do, I don’t actually see the need to throw this one away. Let me explain why, before anyone decides to get offended and make a giant stink.
The dreamer/narrator in this strip is a comic persona, just like every other character I create for a strip. They each have their own voice and perspective. This one happens to be haunted by monsters out of his childhood. He also happens to be (as I was at the time) culturally ignorant of this aspect of Hindu belief. But that doesn’t mean he couldn’t have run into an image of Ganesha, which his subconcious latched onto and interpreted as the Demon of Tooth Decay.
When a comic persona does something offensive, it might be intended to mean the opposite. Norman Lear created Archie Bunker to make a number of points that couldn’t be made by speaking through an “enlightened” character. I’ll admit there was more of me in the narrator character than I originally intended, but now that I know the whole story behind this image, I have a certain amount of sympathy for the narrator here. If you don’t know that this image is known and prayed to by millions as “the one who removes obstacles,” it’s just a scary picture.
Maybe when he does find out what the image means (like I did), Ganesha can help him out. The guy has a lot of obstacles.