'This Is Fine,' the Meme, Gets an Update
The illustrator behind the viral comic strip says “there’s a stupid nugget of truth” in memes.
A portion of KC Green’s This is Not Fine. Photo courtesy of The Nib.
As brutally honest—and brutally gory—as the original comic might be, KC Green's updated one of his most famous pieces. His work first began to gather buzz after a silly strip about wasting paper turned into the ridiculous “Dick Butt Meme.” From there, Green’s notoriety grew, and he created comics about anything and everything. His most famous creation, though, is something of an extreme case. In This is Fine, a hat-wearing dog ignores the flames growing around him. Given the current sociopolitical climate, it exploded like wildfire. Now, to tap deeper into the zeitgeist, Green’s updated the classic comic-turned-meme and created This is Not Fine for comic strip website The Nib. With the release of the comic still fresh, The Creators Project spoke to Green about the evolution of his work, why he updated a classic, and the power of memes.
Green’s been an active illustrator for years. “I’ve been drawing since I was a kid,” he explains. He made comics all through school and slowly got into webcomics. “It didn’t really hit me until my senior high school year that it could be done as a job. Webcomics, specifically. I didn’t really get into actual underground and indie comics [until] after high school, when I found a great comic shop that had lots of different selections.” There, he learned about and was inspired by the works of Jeffrey Brown, Chris Ware, and more. “The whole time I was always making comics and posting them online.”
Green says the original This is Fine comic first came about when he had just started out as a freelance artist and “having a rough time mentally.” Green writes his ideas out in a big text file and goes back later to see if any of them stick. “This is Fine was super simple. Just sitting in a room that’s on fire. Well that’s fine, okay. Ignoring it. Nothing to it when I go back and look at the original text. I did the comic quick and didn’t really think about it until 2 years later.”
His latest take on the comic features the dog fully reacting to the fire that engulfs him. So, why create another comic based on the original idea? “There wasn’t much to its [This is Not Fine's] process,” explains Green. “It’s a feeling I’ve had in my belly for most of 2016 and since the original image was getting popular more and more, I thought it would be a good 'sequel' to make an opposite of it.” Green says he’s surprised at both the popularity of the comics as memes, but also at their staying power. “I don’t think anyone can correctly guess what’s going to be a ‘big meme.’ If they say that, they’re lying or they’re lucky.”
“I think you definitely can read a lot of people’s feelings through memes,” says Green. But he cautions, “It sounds real dumb to say that and anyone in their right might would roll their eyes, but I think there’s truth to it. You see people all the time sharing something that’s ‘relatable’ and saying ‘me,’ ‘same,’ etc. and as funny as it can be, there’s a stupid nugget of truth in there too. Good humor has some truth to it.”
Keep up with KC Green and all his artwork, including He is a Good Boy, a comic about “an acorn who leaves his tree and meanders around in a scary, horrible world” on Green’s website. View the entire ‘This is Not Fine’ comic on The Nib.
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