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The author wants to portray their character as a loser, but doesn't want to offend people in any particular occupation. So they make the character's occupation their own. This allows for a lot of Self Deprecating Humor, which is probably the whole point.
Bonus Points if the loser cartoonist can't draw, the writer has an obviously Mary-Sue version of him/herself, or some other type of Stylistic Suck. These characters may also be prone to extreme Writer's Block, which can justify the times that they aren't working/don't have a job.
This must be where a character's career is the same as the author of the work. A hack novelist main character in a novel would be an example, but a hack novelist in an animated show or a cartoonist in a novel would not be.
- The two protagonists in Bakuman｡ start off not so much as losers but as utterly normal high schoolers. Mashiro's uncle, who is dead when the story starts, fits this trope a lot more.
- Jon Arbuckle, Garfield's owner. Over time, the loser aspect completely overshadowed the fact that he even had a job.
- Stephen Pastis, the cartoonist responsible for Pearls Before Swine, sometimes inserts himself into the strip as a 40-year old smoking loser cartoonist who often gets abused by the other characters, especially Rat. See this strip for an example.
- Darby Connley was portrayed as an extreme one of these in thesethree strips of his own Get Fuzzy.
- A great many Franco Belgian Comics portray comic authors and artists as wretched slaves toiling away to produce art under the iron rule of a heartless, evil editor obsessed with productivity.
- Alan Moore's run on Supreme includes the character of Billy Friday, not just a comic book writer but specifically an egotistical English writer of American superhero comics with a penchant for Darker and Edgier revamps of old characters.
- In Allegro Non Troppo, all of the animation is supposedly being made by one lowly cartoonist shackled to his desk.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr. repeatedly uses the character Kilgore Trout, a failed sci-fi writer, in his novels as an Author Avatar of the self deprecating variety, though Vonnegut has admitted that Trout is also influenced by Theodore Sturgeon.
- An extreme example on Thirty Rock::Jack directly parodies Alec Baldwin's career. An approximate quotation:
"And it doesn't matter if you do movies about important things like sick puppies and the Holocaust... the moment you go on TV, nobody will ever take you seriously again."
- There's also Liz Lemon, who is basically Tina Fey but with a crappy love life and no respect from her peers. The other writers in the show are depicted as frat boys with the maturity of 12-year-olds.
- On Supernatural"', Chuck Shirley, pen name "Carver Edlund" after directors and producers of the show, is a loser prophet and a writer. Then again, the last episode of the fifth season implies that he could actually be God, so...
- Seinfeld did this a bit, both belittling Jerry's stand-up act and writing for a sitcom. Another take on "Seinfeld Is Unfunny" here.
- Gary, the main character from Ménage à 3, is portrayed like this. However, this isn't his main job, but a side talent. His actual job gets minimal importance, while his drawing is supposed to be a loser attribute. It just so happens that several potential love interests find it an endearing or useful talent.
- Zach Wiener of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal likes to portray himself as this.
- Kaitlyn Hu of newspaper-style Precocious is an aspiring daily cartoonist, which more often than not only comes up to make jokes about what a bad idea it is.
- Egoraptor portrays himself as a Small Name, Big Ego in the Awesome Series. In Girlchan in Paradise, his Author Avatar is extremely lazy, he is defeated as easily as most other members of the Quirky Miniboss Squad, and he gets the worst beating of any character in the series.
- In The Simpsons, the creator of The Itchy and Scratchy Show is betrayed and turned into a bum, though a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, eventually. The guy who does the ripping off, Roger Myers Jr., although extremely successful, is shown to be amoral, cruel to his employees (insulting them and sacking them on a whim) and utterly uninterested in the quality of the series as long as ratings and profits are high. Other famous "artists" are near universally egotists or hacks, such as Krusty.
- Andy from Mission Hill is another example. There was even an episode dedicated to the fact that Andy was broke, couldn't get any of his cartoons published, couldn't even get anyone to understand his cartoons, and was working a dead-end job that barely even put food on the table.
- ↑ his stage background is a single line representing the horizon