Friday, December 26, 2008

What's in the bag?

I'm sorry. Prosopagnosia and Karistos. Some things Just don't translate any better than that.

This comic came to be due to a happy accident, as Bob Ross would say. I didn't have time to ink and color it, and the color page was a mandatory one for the newspaper so this is just pencils and photoshop color. I don't generally like to color my comics, nor do I particularly enjoy painting on the whole, so I went for an impressionistic, mostly limited hue palette that I felt suited the goings on in the comic. I'm not sure how well this conveys what I was going for, I don't think I ever got any feedback for it so I guess this is the time to check for real!

I am especially fond of how - again by accident - the bottom row left three panels seem as if they're cut out of a different page and collaged together on top of a very red canson paper or something. It suits them because that is the only moment of emotional elation in the comic.

As to Prosopagnosia, the illness. I'm afraid I've taken some liberties with how it actually works, as there really doesn't seem to be a time when you 'remember someone more'. However as a parallel to an interpersonal relationship, I think it works. At the point of when I was making this comic (somewhere between Deep Inside The Earth and Anger Managment) I was really not very emotionally or psychologically sound and a lot of my personal frustrations carried on to the pages. Therefore I am really not convinced anyone would be able to gather neither the extremity of my personal condition at the time (which even if they could, the merit of such a thing would be debatable) nor to extapolarate from it something closer to their own experiences. However given how Deep Inside The Earth has resonated with a lot of you readers and humans I can only hope this might as well. If not, sorry for wasting your time.

On the formalist level, look at that non sequitur shot at the lampposts between the two pieces of conversation. Just a simple empty beat, but try to imagine the comic without it, would be worse, wouldn't it? Just run-on sentences. Also this is one of at least 3-4 comics I've done which feature a motorway or railway, suspended bridges and that sort of stuff, I really like drawing them because they're man-made and they usually cut incisions over otherwise natural terrain, but unlike other human constructions, nobody really lingers there, nobody walks around on them, they're just places in between that people pass through with their cars or trains. On a metaphysical map level, they're blank spots. Human stories happening in blank spots pleases me.

If I were to draw this today, I'd ink it, though. It would probably be less of an effective comic (whatever the effect is, I'm covering my ass here) but it would nag my Inking Sense less, at least. We all have our obsessions.

But what could be in that bag.



valium said...

einai yperoxo kai idiaitera ta xrwmata !!

Helm said...

Thank you for the kind words, I appreciate that you like the colors!

pan pan said...

combining love with matters of memory can easily be moving, but then it s up to the artist's sense of (i guess)to remain human and not cheesy. and you never slip to that.

Solar said...

Hey Helm,

Welcome back from Poland.

I see you've spoilt us with another colour piece. The pallet works well for me, the dusky sunset fits with the idea of fading/intangeble memories. I don't think you would have captured that end-of-day ebb without those colours.

I also don't think you're too far away from the representation of prosopagnosia, as far as I was aware it affects individuals differently and some can adjust to the problem to varying degrees. That said I've not had any personal experience of people with the problem.

On a formalist level I think you're over analysing your work here, the story simply flows better with the visual breaks, more natural and paced. It would work without it but you would loose some of the setting.

Now what could be in the bag. I've no idea! Perhaps it's full of photo albums, physical reminders of what will forever escape him. He carries them around knowing the memories are not lost, but refrains from opening them in the hope that some will return unbidden. Of course it could just be a picnic...

Good to see your comics back Helm

Till next time

golds said...

Love it!

It has lots of the poignant Helm-trademark "melancholy of existence" I admire so much.

I think you should never care if your depiction fits the accurate definition. The ecstatic truth is more important than facts, and to mine it you can blow up this or another fact without regret!

Helm said...

Thank you. But you should know something about me. It's a secret: I really really love analysis. No amount is too much! It's because I do not hold any reflection upon anything to be truthful that I find such pleasure in overdoing it!

Generally, if it hasn't been made clear so far, don't believe everything I say as if I hold them to be truthful. I discuss, I theorize, I analyse, because it makes me feel good. Human beings love stories, love the safety that manufactured causality creates, they don't love truth.

I have no idea what's in the bag either. Probably just laundry, perhaps they were somewhere together, they're waiting for some bus, who knows. I didn't think about the bag at all until much later when a reader told me 'but what could be in the bag?!'.

It's good to see observant and courteous readers and humans like you back on the blog as well, Solar. Take care.

Helm said...

Goldmund: yeah I'm not really worried about factuality as much as I might seem. Our private discussion about being true to what you've felt and not exactly what you've experienced has been very beneficial for me in such respects.