In an interview, David Hellman (of A Lesson Is Learned But The Damage Is Irreversible, my guiding light in endless seas of balsamic vinegar) said the following when asked about which of the comics were his favorites:
My favorites are the ones that capture some romanticism, yearning or pain, and convey those feelings with immediacy and mystery. Episode 13, in which Dale suffers repeated head injuries, achieved this, but the drawing has not aged well. (Other favorites: 14, 15, 18, 21.) I want readers to be moved and entertained, but also perplexed. I think one of my favorite kinds of experiences, which is ultimately what I hope to share with my work, are moments when I delight in something while also feeling confused and frustrated by it. Humans are able to perceive and experience incredible beauty, but our imaginations, or maybe simply our natures, push us on to want even more. That’s why some of the most vivid moments of life also contain sadness.
I like it. As for mystery: although I usually think that confusion and ambiguity are overused and weak stand-ins for actual content, I don’t mean to wage a war, not least because that would be hypocritical. In the context of their comics especially I really agree with this quote, that there’s something special about the feeling that something is not quite complete (often something that we imagine – probably falsely – would be perfect were it complete). This partly explains why we like the Venus de Milo and its cousins. Oftentimes some element of imponderability (!) is necessary.