Sunday, September 14, 2008

Escape from Mortal Coil

I like this one lots. I made it at Mike's house. It also stars a futurist grittier Mike. At the time we were both working for the paper and Mike was gracious enough to let me sleep over from time to time in his apartment in downtown Athens. As I was starting to feel a bit morose for various reasons, it was good to not be left alone for weeks at a time. Plus, it was a creative atmosphere, working along with a friend, critiquing each other and such. I have very fond memories of that time -- thank you Mike! So this comic came out good.

Besides the slight case of cantdrawomenitis, I am very pleased with the characterization of Helen here. There's not really much to say about the formal considerations of the strip. I went with skewed panels to try my hand at how Manga arists structure their pages, and it's cute enough, but not something I'm going to do lots. Perhaps it's worth noting that I did away with any sound-effects for a few reasons. This is a comic where the outer world is about to fall sharply in dissonance with the inner world. Or to put it in better terms fantasy is about to clash with experience.

I believe the death of a loved one is as tragic as it is most of all because an outside world intrudes on the plans and concepts we had laid out in our inner world, and reconciliation - as Slavoj Žižek would say - between fantasy and experience cannot be a head-on collision, the wound is too great. Our modern lives are so comfortable, we're left to our fantasies most of the time, we are not disturbed. When we are, it has to be a sideways glance into the wound, through mythos and art and song, to soften the blow of the disparity. Almost everything else unfortunate in our life's story, we cushion with these devices, we give it meaning and some consequence in the ongoing 'plot'. Death as a far-away concept is very often dressed up with romance and existentialism in art, but the personal death, that of someone very close resists any attempt to be chipped away with our tools, it will not be sculpted into a statue of beauty and quiet acceptance.

Enough about that. I am also very pleased with the sixth panel. That point of view is tricky and it sorta worked without much effort and redrawing so when I look at it I remember feeling good about myself and that I had probably leveled up a little as a draftsman if I can pull off difficult shots like that without much preparation. Of course I was wrong, it was just a fluke. Still can't draw women.

On other news, Scotch devised a little javascript for me, and you can see the fruits of his labour in action here, and there. Ack! My privacy!!



KOM said...

Poton moiazeis tromaktikos me koustoumi.
Deuteron: eida pc-master kai euxaristo ek merous tou periodikou.
triton to aima sto teleutaio kare einai iperoxa ftiagmeno opos kai i klisi pou exeis dosei sta podia tou.
Tetarton +2 points charisma gia to adventure type java.

Sophia said...

I dont remember this one! Maybe I hadn't bought the newspaper that week..hmm.. yeah, he looks like Mike!..

Stop saying you cant draw women! I like your women a lot! They're tall and thin and strong with not exacly "pretty" faces and that makes them more real... Maybe -i say maybe- you have a small problem with cute little girls (hehehe). But again i'm not that sure..

a! My favourite panel is of course the (hmmmmm...) proteleytaio (the one before the last one, i dont know the word :P). I always love the "light" panel among those with your heavy inking and i wonder: you do so much work to prepare us for this one? Or is just me? ^^

madart84 said...

hahaha Metal Gear Mike :P
good to see this comic again.

keep the comics coming and some strips too.

Helm said...

I don't know if I'll post any strips! I might not! I don't know why I don't want to! Leaving something for the book version I guess?

Sophia thank you for the kind words!

blazej said...

I know this one from long ago!
The balance between black humour and scrutiny of human feelings/relations is perfect.

The wolf is fed, the sheep's alive.

And, like Sophia, the panel before the last one I consider the best: suddenly the real world disappears and we're all in her head. She's so naive there! And the way she sits...

And Helm, you may forever repeat that you despise irony, but this comic is irony itself. Which is good. As irony is good!

Helm said...

I bet 'the wolf is fed the sheep is alive' is a Polish saying!

Yeah the way the knees bend when she's thinking in the second-to-last panel is the type of thing I pat myself on the back for.

I despise irony as a weapon in human relations, which is how it's primarily used. I have no problem with irony, the literary concept. If it's Oscar Wilde, to say, I have no problem with it. But staggeringly most people- especially on the internet where insults are cheap - are not Oscar Wilde. Yet they try and they have their posse of useful misery-loves-company idiots to clap every time they insult someone in a halfway-facetious way. This culture of internet negativity for me is awful, it dehumanizes such a powerful communicational medium like the internet and the older I get the more tired I am of it.

About the theme of the comic being ironic, well... I see what you mean, the twist in the end is ironic perhaps. In Greek we have a word, κωμικοτραγικό which directly translates to 'tragicomic'. That's what I was going for.

Thanos said...

I really really like this one. I like the way the reality/fantasy contrast works here and the way it isn't just a smart and unexpected way to end the story but it also rings true deep inside, you know, where that terrible mess of guts and blood lies...

The bells of St. Mary call us to remember
that life is with end.
And the gestures can kill us
moreover destroy
and there is one judgment only

That's Current 93. I couldn't resist. ;)

Your women usually look beautiful in a simple, subtle way, kinda like the memory of a childhood friend-turned-girlfriend, all sweet and earth-y. This one is no exception.

You look absolutely terrifying in suit and tie (awful knot!) Don't do that. Keep posting instead.

Helm said...

...and terrifying is bad, why?... :D

Anyway yes, it was for halloween, not a daily occurrence.

Thank you for the wonderful comment, please don't listen to Current 93. Falling back in fields of rape, rape, Jesu, Jesu the shells have cracked. Some of the most disturbing music I've ever heard, not in a good way!