It's A Good Life If You Don't Weaken references


"It's a Good Life If You Don't Weaken," is a graphic novel by a singularly named artist known simply as Seth. It tells the sad story of a forgotten 1940's cartoonist named Kalo. The phrase itself was first brought to the attention of the band by one of their staffers, Molly Lorimer, who, as Gord once explained, was fond of using the phrase when discussing life on the road. The expression was believed to have first appeared in a 1958 novel titled "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning" by Alan Sillitoe. Yet, Hip Head Potterearle informed me that the phrase appears even earlier than that: "the expression "it's a great life if you don't weaken" appears in "The 42nd Parallel" by John Dos Passos, from 1930."

The best summation of the original graphic novel I could find come from the fine folks over at, and goes a little something like this: "The serious comic book artists of today have a strange lineage to face. Superheroes, gag strips, and pornography are not the tradition most artists want looming over their work, but these genres form the backbone of American comics. Most artists, sooner or later, find themselves addressing the peculiar legacy of their medium. Alan Moore and Frank Miller revised and rewrote the superhero genre; Kim Deitch (the brilliant Waldo cycle) and Dan Clowes (Ghost World, Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron) turned the kitsch of their childhoods into moody, nightmarish fantasies. But Seth's It's a Good Life, If You Don't Weaken confronts the emotions behind the pervasive nostalgia. His dominant influence is the gag cartoon of the '50's: the New Yorker style of Peter Arno and his contemporaries, in which cultured urbanites lightly mocked their own class. Seth's style instantly conjures up the understated gentility of those artists, their spare, curved lines and solid gray shading. It makes sense, then, that It's a Good Life is the semi-autobiographical story of Seth's attempt to track down Kalo, an obscure cartoonist who published one New Yorker cartoon and a handful of others. But what we learn of the deceased Kalo shows a man for whom cartooning was a potential career but hardly an obsession; every person Seth interviews about Kalo knows little to nothing about his cartoons."