Why I have Favorite Fans

September 7, 2016

Everyone feels like an outsider at some point. I learned that in my teens when I felt like a geek, uncomfortable in my own skin. The isolation, being 6’8″, there had to be something wrong with me and I thought I was the only one. Then I talked to the Prom Queen, the Football Star and the Straight “A” Student and they were all crushed under the feeling that there was something seriously wrong with them… to a point that one of them was contemplating suicide.

Show me someone who has it all together and I’ll show you someone I’m generally not interested in. It’s not that people who have it together have it easy, it’s that I don’t have anything to offer them. They don’t need me and my fragile, traditional male ego needs to be needed or I will shrivel up and die.

So I’m at Comicon and I have normal-people fans, and then I have my favorite fans: they drive up in wheelchairs and can barely talk through drool, pour out every plot point of my books in a row to a point that I can tell the fan is sporting either Aspergers, Autism or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I love my slow readers, sweaty fat kids and the socially crippled to a point that they can’t finish a sentence. I love-love-LOVE them! Why?

When I was in 7th grade I read the entire book of Luke in a teen Bible study. It’s one thing to feel like a freak among normal kids at school, but I even felt like an outsider in my own church youth group. That’s being an outsider among the outsiders. It struck me that I would always feel a little off, and it wasn’t really the rest of the world’s fault. It was me. But I read the book of Luke and chapter 14, verse 12-14 stuck in my head, hopefully forever:

“12 And He also went on to say to the one who had invited Him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment. 13 But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

These few verses are so wise about human nature because they reveal that our generosity is often rooted in selfishness. I get a lot from my friends and family, so I’m paid in full by what I get from them, but Jesus has a higher way, to enjoy the company of social outcasts because they can’t repay you in the way that your family can. Loving social outcasts isn’t just to get a reward in heaven, because even that would be selfish, but it’s implied that the outcast is so important to God that he is willing to pay us to treat them with dignity.

I found a special home in the religion of my church because I wanted to belong to a God who sought the crippled, the lame, the blind, if for no other reason than they were in a low position according to society. So when I get to go to dinner with my best friend’s autistic kid, I’m the lucky one. When I would rather be with the autistic kid than the non-autistic kid, I feel some bad form of myself being transformed into something more like Jesus Christ. My favorite fans are being used to turn me into something better, and I have nothing but gratitude for those miraculous fans.

15 Responses to “Why I have Favorite Fans”

  1. Thank you for that. What a reminder on so many levels.

  2. Mike Says:

    I agree!
    When I saw this Dude Perfect video, I realized the greatest event would be for someone to make a wish to spend time with me.

  3. GaBe Says:

    So needed to hear this. Thank you.

  4. Mac Says:

    Dear Doug, I admit I came to have a look (after a ten year hiatus from our once spectacularly fun debates) because I suddenly thought “OMG – Doug T must be having a field Day with TRUMP – who more perfect for him? Well, I stand corrected. It would seem (sniffs) that my old foil has grown up into something like maturity and a view of Gospel that is genuinely reflective of that first – and not nationalistic Right-Speak first.

    I too have (hopefully) matured and moved ahead in my positions, having become non-partisan entirely (leaving behind what I came to find were many times just as dogmatically-colored views from the Left and now thinking that any polotical agenda tied to Gospel is a huge mistake.

    And I did more radical actions myself – like actually run a Homeless camp and LIVE in it at the same time, dealing with drug dealers and a variety of other real-life in-your-face problems day-in and day-out under the Nimitz freeway in West Oakland.

    Oh and as proof…I will NOT be voting for Hillary Clinton. While I think Trump a certifiable nutjob and a pervert – I would not trust Clinton as far as I could shot putt her. I will look for a viable third party candidate worthy of my vote feeling that whoever I vote for I bear some responsibility for their actions (thus I would not wish to be responible for Clinton’s.

    Of course there were always things you and I agreed upon: the veracity of scripture, the literal resurrection of Jesus and that ultimate Truth exists. All of those are daily tested as I work towatds my Masters in Theology now at Berkeley’s GTU.

    Anyway, I enjoyed your blog post. Thought it dead on, and hope you and your family are thriving. And while I see that Trump hold some fascination for you still (via your Twitter), I encourage you to use that fine noggin of yours which tells you he is actually hateful and out only for himself. I have nthing against the man himself, but am also not fooled that he will not bring irreparable harm to untold numbers of people (Clinton the same unfortunately). As my mentor Coleman Luck has suggested…this is a lose-lose situation – the entire system is corrupt.

    Grace and peace,


    P.S. Hello to the “minions”

    • tennapel Says:

      Mac, I’ve got nothing but respect for you that you can’t vote for Hillary. I’ve got little peace of mind that I’m going for Trump, and I’m still not sure I can pull the lever for him. You know I’m all about the courts and primarily the defense of life in the womb.

      I find Trump a fraud, and a bad person for the highest office in the land. But I do believe his life-time appointments to the court will be good to protect the constitution long after he or Hillary leave in four years.

      That said, Hillary will win.

      Great to hear from you and glad to hear you’re doing the Lord’s work with the homeless. Godspeed to you.

  5. butimgay Says:

    do gay people go to hell

  6. Julius Says:

    Hello, Doug. I just wanted to say you’re on of my biggest inspirations to exist. If not, one of the greatest in my perspective. Aside from the creation of Earthworm Jim, one of my favorite video game characters, your books, other links with video games, and cartoons have not only made me happy, but absolutely gotten me to draw and adore animations as a whole. This blog reminds me of key memories of my own, and I feel honored to realize you are as creative, different, and gifted, Doug.

  7. Your hypocrisy is genuinely staggering, Doug. Seriously.

    I hope you’re not the same hateful, festering sack of slime you were when you were contributing to Breitbart, selling the exact opposite sentiments about acceptance to your neo-Nazi pals.

    Say you’ve grown up.

    • tennapel Says:

      I dare you to skype with me.

    • vaporman87 Says:

      You’re in a good place, as is the world, when lefty trolls are calling you names. It tastes so good going down, just the like the tears on the faces of all those Hillary supporters.

      On a less political note, I purchased Ghostopolis today for my birthday and read it all the way through. Man that’s good stuff. Going to read it to my kids before bed over the next few days.

      • tennapel Says:

        Thanks for reading Ghostopolis! I’m honored that parents read my work to their kids.

      • vaporman87 Says:

        You bet. So did the rumored plans for a film fall through? The whole time I was thinking about how perfectly suited the story was for a film. I imagined it as a stop motion Tim Burtonesque outing.

  8. Jennifer Bate Says:

    hi Doug hope you will see this. My son is 16 and loves your graphic novels. He would like to write one himself. He has aspergers and looks at the world differently so it is neat to see what he draws. He’s looking at colleges and we were wondering if you could recommend a program. We live near PLNU, I notice you are an alum. Curious as to your view as how college developed your drawing or how else he could continue to grow as an artist. God bless you!

    • tennapel Says:

      I recommend just consistent support. He probably won’t need much encouragement to provide the inspiration he’s already using to make comics. As for education, PLNU helped me by providing illustration and creative writing classes.

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