Sunday, November 9, 2008

Best Superpower

Hello ZX!! We'll be seeing more of you!

This is pretty much one of the few intellectually suspect comics I've done. Two years ago when I had finished it I thought it was good but there was a nagging feeling about it which cumulated into a pretty specific concern once I found the words to explain it: It's too perfect. I don't mean the rendering, far from it. Actually while lettering this in english today I got a strong urge to redraw the whole thing. The problem is the situation presented, especially the top row of the initial flirting it just too... scripted. Real people don't talk like that, real life is not an episode of FRIENDS or some other such piece of shit excuse of a television show. People don't always know what to say and promptly. As anyone that had flirted even once knows, it's really stupid to try to be prepared for the conversation and run it in your head since it rarely if ever goes as you'd expect so you'll have to improvise... and that's alright. That's what I should have made, not this stilted exchange of stand-up comedian material.

Thankfully the two middle rows of panels spare us of the actual bits and pieces of conversation the couple engages in, giving them at least some ambiguous space on which the reader might project a bit of humanity instead of faux-perfect nothings. The last row is more humanistic, especially the subscription receipt panel is a nice metaphor for premature ejaculation. The whole point of the comic was, initially, not to have a super-cool 'best day ever' fantasy-dating comic (though sadly it's more this than anything else) it was to convey this particular feeling of insecurity one gets when they might meet a new person, strike it off very well initually only to experience a strange fear of abandonment right there in the midst of it all. You promise you'll date me for a while, right? You won't run off? That sort of thing.

So yeah, if I were to write this today I think I'd plot it differently. What I'd definitely keep is the middle shot of the dam on Marathonas at night. It has more humanity in its silence than the rest of the comic.


P.S. The older, newspaper comic material is three or for updates away from drying up. I shall proceed to the 'b-sides' material shortly after, featuring pieces I have done for the Free Your Line fanzine and elsewhere. The material up to the point of three or four updates to come is being collected (along with a boatload of comic-strips I have not posted here) in a physical edition, on paper and all. It'll be in its original Greek language. I am wandering if any of my international readers would be interested in getting such an edition in the mail, even though it'll be in this crazy moon language. Do write in. I will accept mailed undergarments as compensation, by the way.


madart84 said...

i always liked this comic, one of your best.
maybe a hi-res poster for the wall :D

Helm said...

Thanks Mike :D

A hi-res poster of a comic drawn on an A3 paper... won't do, would it?

acorpsperdu said...

the thing that surprised me more in this one is the panel with the dam - not only does it have more humanity, as you put it, but it resonates things - emotionally, and, in a way, semantically, which I think have little to do with the rest of the comic. for me it's a moment where the creator's space and the reader's space are interjected - and i didn't expect that from this kind of strip. even the sketching seems different I think, more depth, shadows and detail. for some reason when i scrolled down and saw it, it seemed so out of place that i was genuinely surprised - so i want to congratulate you on that panel first, because it stirred some memories that needed stirring and of course because it's a joy to the eyes.

"The problem is the situation presented, especially the top row of the initial flirting it just too... scripted."

in the beginning i didn't quite understand this - my first thought was "of course it's scripted, that's the point, he's drawing a satire of "perfect situations"", etc. but then you explained its point so no confusion anymore.

i'll definitely try to get my hands on the book even though i'm half a continent away.

Helm said...

Yeah I wasn't making fun of the perfect situation in the capacity that there is some 'wishful thinking' to this comic, or at least there was when it was made and I was quite lonely.

Thank you for your comment :)

Cow said...

"I am wandering if any of my international readers would be interested in getting such an edition in the mail, even though it'll be in this crazy moon language."

Yeah, sign me up for that. :U

Junior said...

wow i knew you for your pixel abilities and now i randomly find this...
No asslicking ok ok
well i'll come here often.

and don't get surprised if you get linked.

Is there a book or something coming?

Helm said...

Thanks for your interest. Yes there will be a collection of the material from the blog plus more soon.

golds said...

Well but the art IS scripting, that is: selecting the essence, the core of what happens; in other words, organising.
I'm not impressed by stream-of-consciousness prose, for example; "ah, people think like that" - so what? I know I am reading a book, I agree to pretend. Instead of mimicking reality, I want you, mysterious and talented Greek, to select what bits of reality you want to feed me and amaze me with!
Generally, I prefer those of your comics which are not overcrowded with detail, and this is one of them! The dam scene is pretty, but somehow my favaourite panel is taking off the blouse. Hm.
And I don't get the cryptonite joke.
Needless to say, I will buy your book and put it at the honorable place on the Ikea shelf I've assembled today with many a drop of sweat.
Ah, and the child is a boy. Working name: Satanus The Wicked.

Helm said...

Hm, to be clearer, of course it's a selection to do art. I meant that the things one selects from the whole of what he can imagine and puts them in order, he should be able to say he selected them with a clear conscience.

Wonderful news about the child. I'm sure little Satanus will never wonder if his name was chosen as a joke (this ties in with my dream of making a child and bringing it up wrong on purpose, for example making it think he's the last king of Egypt until he's 5 years old and then immediately dropping it and NEVER speak of it again. I'd like to see if the child represses those memories or what. And and... when I'm on my death bed my last words to him would be 'it was all true, you really were the last prince of Egy-- gghthhrch---"

slave to vertigo said...

The best superpower indeed.

You're right about the first row though. It's too perfect to actually trust it. The characters already know each other and are staging this little flirt game for fun. The rest of the comic works pretty well and smoothly.

The dam by night is awesomely beautiful in a comfortably warm way.

Helm said...

Oh... oh wow! That reading (them already knowing each other) makes it work quite better and not as inexcusably!

Johanh said...

I love how awkwardly his shirt fits on his mechanical body :D

Anonymous said...

(K)ryptonite... with a K

Helm said...

mea culpa!