Yesterday, the tumblr of incredibly talented cartoonist Sam Hiti presented a post called Rest in Pages Sam Hiti which suggested that he had passed away. Immediately social media flooded with reports that he was in fact alive and podcaster Charlie La Greca was on the phone with him.
I know people want an explanation. I don't want to speak for Sam Hiti. He may or may not choose to discuss it. He was not hacked. He's fine.
— Mr. Phil Jackson (@mistahphil) May 26, 2015
Hiti is, in fact, still alive, but as the post may indicate, not going through the best of times. and has perhaps decided to put his comics career aside…for keeps.
David Zissuo has a much linked to post asking for compassion at this time. It seems Hiti has undergone a bunch of setbacks, including ill health following an accident, and perhaps for a moment ot two it all seemed too much.
Comics is a cancerous profession.
An overwhelming amount of people struggle with comics and it spreads them really fucking thin. A lot of people will come off jaded, ignorant, or morose, if not completely alone. It shows. It’s contagious. Its demand and time consumption won’t flow when the effects of production on personal lives destroy motivation and productivity. Especially when publishers try to get you to work at wholesale prices without the benefits you need to keep yourself healthy, support a family, and insure that if something happens to you, you have something there for you and your family to fall back on.
I don’t want to be pessimistic or “realistic” about comics. Comics at its best is one of the most nurturing communities I’ve known. But, as a career, judging from the people I know who struggle from depression and have expressed suicidal thoughts, it has the ability to have the creator running breathless with hooks digging deep into their backs.
I don’t know that comics is any worse as a creative profession than writing or art in general….but I DO know that the rewards are generally smaller. I don’t know if its possible to run a financial analysis of various creative professions but I can guarantee that even the highest highs of comics don’t come close to the highs of writing, fine art, music, acting and so on. There are several cartoonists who make very comfortable livings from comics, don’t get me wrong, but no one is buying an island…at least they haven’t since the early Image days.
Anyway, I don’t know Hiti’s specific situation but it seems similar enough to others to at least guess that maybe buying something from his store would be a help even if to just clear away memories of something he wants to move past.
Hiti is also enormously, talented, did I mention that? I wish him the best in moving through whatever it is he’s experiencing and finding joy in his life again.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.