Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Broken Chain is but Circles that Met


Not one follows the other, but yet?...


Though the form of this comic seems a bit obtuse I believe once it has registered, its meaning should be self-evident, so I will not try to make the latter any plainer. I will however note the formalist effect in hopes that someone who has missed it may get at least that answer in this text: the comic can be read continuously clockwise or counter-clockwise and the meaning remains intact and is known to all humans.

This was kind of a difficult page to make and to some degree I feel it as a failure. On one hand I wanted there to be humans in the panels but not faces of humans, and then there's the basement panel where we see a person with dramatic lighting on his face, where someone with ill intent would mock him for being all 'emo-goth depressed' which really wasn't a context I wanted to indulge. On the other hand, I wanted the narrative to be completely seamless going round and round and it turns out that's more difficult to achieve than just to consider. The translation to English hurts it just a bit but too.

The four places in the four panels are ones I've been to and I believe I've had similar thoughts to the ones in the comic there as well. Especially the hotel room in panel one, it will be make a reprise appearance in a future comic. Hotels are really depressing.

It was in fact, in a hotel room that I first tried making my first comic (and perhaps funnily - though privately - that moment is referenced in my very first comic for comic school. We'll get to that). The two pages I inked are now lost but I have a clear recollection of what it was about and what it was inspired from. I was about 16 and my father had taken me to Pyrgos, in Ilia (original home of the olympic games to give you dirty savages some frame of reference) from where our family holds, for some vacations. He went out one night and I was really lonely inside the hotel room. I suppose it's telling of my disposition that instead of perhaps wondering around the public sections of the hotel (including a swimming pool) to make some travel acquaintances, I instead chose to hole up in the room and read my Battle Angel Alita comics. Ah, Yukito Kishiro was an amazing influence on me not so much in how I were to go on to draw like, but in the patience of his work. The craft that it took before one were to call a page finished. Whereas I have since deviated a lot from my 'ideal meticulous' style (probably to psychologically freeing effect!) the form is still there and the superego will not be happy until I have achieved similar robustness one day.

So, the comic I had started then was the perfect capture of my 16 year old psyche. It was a dude and a lady, dressed in futuristic jumpsuits, going into a garage and taking this Akira-esque superbike and then hitting the road in some silent, cyclopean metropolis threaded together with suspended motorways. Low shots from the pillars to the roads, high shots of the bike on an endless travel. Pure escapism. I drew it with my dad's 0.1 and 0.8 rapidographs!

I remember being excited seeing 'something I made' still be there after I had conceived it. Perhaps an instant addiction occurred. I looked at it a lot - though I didn't show my father. I was secretly ashamed of my comic because of perhaps, the naivety of it? or the sexuality inherent in artistic creation (for what is it than a birth of sorts)? Perhaps I just thought it wasn't drawn well enough to show.

I kept the comic in a drawer for some time. Now I don't think it's in there anymore, I think at some more volatile time between 16 and 18, I might have thrown it away. Perhaps it's still there, I don't really want to search my deep drawers that much. I believe I learned a very important lesson making that comic: that when you think you can't do something, if you go ahead and do it, the end result might be better than you expected. I sadly forgot that lesson and didn't make any more comics for a while, but once I went to comic school I had to get over my 'conceptual pessimism' really fast.

- Helm

3 comments:

Conceit Arturo said...

Somehow, I managed to keep my conceptual pessimism after filmschool. I feel like I was always secretely catered to.

funny how you went from narrating a sense of self perpetuating monotony you went on to prove how you have changed radically since you were 16

Helm said...

It's not change that is impossible, it's control towards the direction of the change.

Erenan said...

I know this is super old now but it's the first time I've seen it.

Very interesting concept to try to get the words to flow going either direction. In English it certainly does not work as written here. I will trust that the Greek version flowed better, though even if I were to see it I wouldn't know one way or the other.

The one thing that bugs me is that the arrow just due west of center does not have any black bleed over from the top left panel (as do both arrows going across the north border).

Funny: How ironic it is that to post on this blog I have to check a box that reads "I'm not a robot." I'm not I'm not I'M NOT!