Remarkable correspondence from the consistently unremarkable world of email

At the time that Albert Birney received the following emails, he was doing a regular one-panel comic for Syracuse University's newspaper, The Daily Orange. Most reactions to his abstract humor were favorable, but some were not. Although we can't divulge the name in the second email, we can say it's from a comic illustrator who has gone on to some prominence in the underground papers. Send your reactions, favorable or unfavorable, to

--- Michael Neault

To: Albert Birney
From: anonymous
Subject: Daily Orange website comment
Date: February 11, 2003

For the love of god and all that is holy, please stop assuming that you're funny. You are not. Your comic Jonkeys makes my eyes bleed. It makes my stomach curl, and if my heart could, it would indeed vomit. You are dumb. You're giving the DO an even worse name. I recommend you stop doing everything you've been doing and do something productive. Thank you and have a pleasant tomorrow.

To: Albert Birney
From: ------------
Subject: zines
Date: April 20, 2003

Hi Albert. I got your check and letter and sent the book out over the weekend. You should probably have it by next week (I send everything Media Mail so it takes a little longer than normal mail).

Thanks for the invite to the zine! Unfortunately I can't participate. Now that I'm a "professional" (note the quotation marks), I can't really contribute to projects like zines and such because the nature of them tends to lower my market value as an artist and illustrator. You're supposed to progress upwards from zines into professionally printed books. And when you step downward, it lessens your artistic credibility. Yeah, I know it's kind of lame, but that's how the business works. Plus, then I have to explain to other people why I let someone publish my stuff for free, but I don't do it for someone else and it becomes like a whole thing.

Anyway, good luck on it! Maybe Nils would be interested like you suggested. I think he's still doing the zine thing himself. Let me know how it goes.