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This is part of the annual two page spread of “funny paper” comic strips in the January “Humor Issue” of the Asheville Mountain Xpress paper which I am tasked to create each year at great time consumption and thought on my part, but very little financial compensation or even measurable reader recognition for the results, so I’m pretty stupid for continuing to do it, but I can’t say no!

This cartoon is a parody of the long-running Dick Tracy comic strip, incorporating his logo and signature “two-way wrist TV/Radio” that seemed so futuristic when it was conceived and pretty much just a smartwatch now. From the three differently-colored letters in the logo, you can probably tell that it is actually satirizing the local issue of the TDA (and the current president & CEO of Explore Asheville and the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority, Victoria “Vic” Isley).

The Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority (sometimes just called the “TDA”) enjoys a sweet state-level set of rules whereby they (a board made up of many hotel owners) take the monumental proceeds from a state and county-imposed “occupancy tax” or room fee, that is added the the bill of all guests who pay to stay in a hotel, or rental B&B or vacation rental by owner, mostly all tourists to the area and keep it all for uses also mandated by state law for “tourism” purposes (and for their own expenses of course). The fact that none of the tens of millions of annual dollars pouring into those coffers goes directly to the city that is attracting all of those tourists and guests, especially to repair or reinforce the infrastructure that those same people are contributing to and using and crowding, leaves many a resident a bit miffed.

Recent hand-wringing from the TDA that tourism and its ensuing profitable fees was down fell on deaf ears from a town feeling besieged by rising costs of living and housing due to trying to live in such a seemingly still vital destination city. News of the TDA doling out some of its windfall, after a lengthy process, in line with the law of what percentage of their funds and the eligibility of the requests for some local festivals is the focus of some of the strip. Meanwhile, the party continues…


Cartoon originally published in the Asheville, NC alt weekly paper, “The Mountain Xpress”.

© 2024 – Brent Brown, Brent Brown Graphix