James Stanton/Gnartoons.com

Hey, lady walking your chicken on a leash in Portland – somebody's looking for you.

The personal ads in Craigslist's Missed Connections are awkward, melancholy, hopeful, surreal or a brutal sandwich of all of those things – in other words, perfect fodder for a comics series.

Sorry, artists diving for pens: It's been done before, with this anthology and now James Stanton's depressing yet somehow hilarious project, "Missed Connections Comix." Stanton, a 28-year-old cartoonist in Seattle, sifts through Craigslist personals in several metro areas looking for catchy post titles.  "A lot of them won't seem that interesting," he says, "and then I'll see one and it's like, Oh yeah, that's gonna be weird. There's just no way around it." In the bizarro universe of Missed Connections, "weird" is relative: Stanton has illustrated everything from a crust punk pining for her stinky-footed companion, a desperate soul clicking his inbox furiously for replies and a man hunting for the beautiful women he sheltered when they got attacked by bees.

The comic began as a way for Stanton to draw the personals of free spirits at Burning Man. He's since expanded it to the San Francisco Bay Area, Fresno, Portland, Eugene, Seattle and elsewhere. He completes about one a week for Uptown Almanac and hopes to publish them as a book, which careful readers will digest in small parts to avoid falling into a sinkhole of existential despair.

"The general theme is basically loneliness, which I think really speaks to the idea of the Internet as a thing that has made people more connected than ever before, but in a really lonely way," Stanton says. "If you imagine people not being able to talk to somebody that they feel a connection with, and then they go home and post something about it on the 'net – in that sense, [the ads] are all kind of sad."

In terms of what makes for a good comic, Stanton looks for funny, pithy posts that he can quote word for word. He won't illustrate the longer ones, which often are "sappy, feel-sorry-for-me posts." Whenever he feels completely devoid of inspiration, he knows one place that'll get his creative juices splurting: the Missed Connections of Portland. "There are just so many details there that work well for the format of a comic," he says, like a woman "strolling down Hawthorne with your chicken and my heart on a golden leash" and a facial-hair enthusiast looking into a bar who "wanted to treat you all like a sexy petting zoo of beards."

Below, find a few hits from Missed Connections Comix. Several in the series are possibly NSFW, so for the whole shebang head over to Stanton's Gnartoons.

Comics used with permission of James Stanton

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A person tapes an eviction notice to the door of an apartment.
    Equity

    Why Landlords File for Eviction (Hint: It’s Usually Not to Evict)

    Most of the time, a new study finds, landlords file for eviction because it tilts the power dynamic in their favor—not because they want to eject their tenants.

  2. a photo collage of 2020 presidential candidates.
    Equity

    Will Housing Swing the 2020 Election?

    Among Democratic candidates for president, the politics of America’s housing affordability crisis are getting complicated. Just wait until Trump barges in.

  3. Environment

    Paris Wants to Grow ‘Urban Forests’ at Famous Landmarks

    The city plans to fill some small but treasured sites with trees—a climate strategy that may also change the way Paris frames its architectural heritage.

  4. A house with a for sale sign.
    Perspective

    Why Are Zoning Laws Defining What Constitutes a Family?

    It’s wrong to exclude safe uses of housing because of who belongs to a household. Like family law, zoning ordinances should prioritize functional families.

  5. At an NBA game, a player attempts to block a player from the rival team who has the ball.
    Life

    NBA Free Agents Cluster in Superstar Cities, Too

    Pro basketball follows the winner-take-all geography of America as a whole, with free agents gravitating to New York, L.A., and other big cities.

×