Ballot Box Comics 2017: have your say
August 2017
Stuart McMillen discussing Ballot Box Comics 2017

Ballot Box Comics: voted by you

For the very first time, I am giving you the ability to steer the direction of the next comic that I draw and publish.

I am calling this idea Ballot Box Comics. It is part of a bigger project, where I will show the ‘behind the scenes’ process that goes into one of my comics.

The concept of Ballot Box Comics

I am idea-rich, and time-poor. I generate ideas for possible comics at a rate faster than I could possibly draw.

Usually, I like being the one tasked with prioritising my personal workload. But this time, I am inviting you to make the decision for me.

These are three comics that are equally appealing to me. I feel that they would each work equally well if worked-up into a comic with the full Stuart McMillen treatment.

Realistically, I will only find the time to draw one of these ideas. I will likely never draw the two ideas that lose the Ballot Box Comics vote.

May the best idea win!

Ballot Box Comics logo - with one arm. Cartoon of ballot box placing a vote into its slot.

The three possible topics

Option 1: Ecstasy versus Equasy

…is about drug policy.

Based on an argument made in 2009 by the UK’s drug advisor David Nutt. David found that the harms from the drug ecstasy is roughly equivalent to the harms from horse riding (which he nicknamed ‘equasy’).

The comic would be a thinkpiece about why society thinks that some risks are ‘acceptable’ and other risks are ‘unacceptable’. Why are drug-takers stigmatised, when others who put similar burdens on the public health system (skiers, football players…) are treated without question?

Option 2: Notel

…is about the impact of television on community participation.

A study observed a non-isolated Canadian city, who quirkily did not have TV reception until 1973. A mountain range was blocking their signal. The researchers observed the city before and after the construction of a TV broadcast tower.

In a nutshell: public participation in community activities dropped, as people chose to stay indoors and observe rather than participate. I will discuss how this isolated individualism is the new baseline for our current world.

Option 3: Trim Tabs

… is about social change, and social movements.

This is a pet metaphor of my hero Buckminster Fuller.

Bucky would ask people the rhetorical question “how do you turn a ship?” Most people answer that you turn a ship by turning the rudder. Bucky would point out that the actual element that turns the ship is a small component of the rudder called the Trim Tab. Once you turn the Trim Tab, the rudder turns, and then the entire ship begins to change course.

In a comic, I would use the metaphor to illustrate how many social movements began as outsider ideas, with only a small number of campaigners (think: anti-slavery, women’s suffrage). These campaigners were the Trim Tabs who eventually turned the whole direction of society.

My ‘pitches’ for the three concepts

I describe the three topics in greater detail in this 6-minute video. They are my ‘pitches’ for each of the concepts.

As you can see, the three concepts truly appeal to me equally!

How to vote in Ballot Box Comics

Voting in Ballot Box Comics is dead easy.

Firstly, visit my Patreon page and become my patron at a level that is at least US$5 per month.

(Remember, if you choose $10+ per month, I send you handwritten postcards!)

Secondly, visit this members-only Patreon poll, and cast your vote!

The poll will remain open until Tuesday 3 September 2017.

Shortly after the voting ends, I will announce the winning topic, and then begin the process of researching, writing, storyboarding, and drawing this comic. I will document this whole process, and share lots of ‘behind the scenes’ videos.

Voting closes on 3 September

Remember, that you only have two weeks to participate in my Ballot Box Comics vote.

I am giving you the opportunity to help steer the direction of my comics, in exchange for your generous crowdfunding support.

To help steer the direction of my comics, become my Patreon supporter at a level that is at least US$5 per month, and then vote here.

Ballot Box Comics logo - with one arm. Cartoon of ballot box placing a vote into its slot.