Friday, January 2, 2009

Enter Vast Dominions, Welcome to My Dream (part the first)

Sorry for the pompous post title, I enjoyed the synchronicity of listening to Savior Machine while writing this post. Perhaps you could listen to them while you read it also, wouldn't that be nice? We are not the same person and we will never know the inside of another but here, let's pretend!

This is material made originally for the 2006 Babel comic art festival here in Greece. This is an annual festival organized by the people who put out the same-named comic magazine. Both the festival and the magazine enjoy a rich history and culture and they've been absolutely fundamental at increasing awareness of 'comics for adults' in Greece. It was the first time I was asked to participate and participate I did. The theme for the show was 'Dream, Perhaps?' (a reference in a collected work by M. Manara when we was still making amazing, beautiful, insightful pieces of art and not just ass comics). My entry is emphatically a dream (as stated in the introductory page). I took a few liberties which I'll discuss further on, but on the whole the dream experience is unaltered.

Exactly because this is a dream, there are some visual language tricks that I try to recur a lot so they become familiar though always odd and (hopefully) unsettling, what with the squiggly lines that signify beat pauses... and also I am trying to make the textual elements become textural as well, much like G.P.Russell, whom I respect very much (check how in the first panel they obey perspective). Also the hard black line for the stare at the last panel.

I've been discreetly placing these curvy lines in so many comics of mine since we put out the 'Free Your Line' magazine (on the third issue of which I also put this story) as a bit of an inward homage. The name of the fanzine might have come to us as a jest but I tried to take it as a lateral concept, the idea that one 'frees his line', that he doesn't define his work by the standard of others. I place the squiggly line a lot by my signature even when I'm not using it as a visual language piece as a little respect to that circle of friends and what they mean to me.

When this went to the festival some snide comments by other artists were conveyed to me about the quality of the paper I had used. You cannot see here but the original (which I gave to the show as opposed to photocopies) was inked on very cheap paper with the result of the big black border in the intro page - which was hand-inked, there's no floodfill bucket in real life, as sadly, there's no undo - had visibly 'scarred' the paper. The black in places and was generally not completely opaque, the handwork was visible. In the version you are looking at of course I have ran sharp Levels in photoshop so the black is black black, but this is not because I agreed with these comments and was ashamed by the paper or the 'hand-doodled' effect. I believe a piece for a festival should be shown in the format it was made, imperfections and all, it's not just a comic story to be read, it's an artifact to be examined. The Idea Space comic can wait for when it's publicised in print, I see no reason to pretty up the original when I'm showing the original, nor do I really see the reason to buy fancy expensive paper for work that'll be harshly thresholded for final print anyway. What, will better paper make the comic better? That sort of 'professionalism' makes me wary of professionals. The sort of people that keep their doodles and serious work alike in perfect carefully plasticized folders named after each month of each year. Just make the thing and it's done, it's made, you can move on.

Oh well! I will return with page 3 (of 5) in a couple of days.

Also, it is now 2009. I have made some resolutions of my own that aren't very easy to explain... it's perhaps because I don't usually make resolutions that when I've decided to do so they became quite involved and multi-layered... the gist of it is that I'm leaving behind the shames that I've got left, slowly but surely. I will try to stand more bare until I am naked, slowly but surely. I will take what I desire because this life is mine and I owe no shame to anyone man or institution or belief. That sort of thing, it might sound abstract and distant but it's not, it has to do with every single day that'll come. It'll be interesting therefore, this year, the 25th year of my life. I can't tell if it will be a good year for it but I can hope. I hope for me and I hope for you.

We could obviously not start then in any other way than with a short story about what makes simple things worth it, by a suspiciously monosyllabic faux-prehistoric giant bird.



Knijk said...

Best of luck with your resolutions. I'm in a very similar situation, oddly enough.

Helm said...

Thank you and I wish you the same. Our situations are similar you say? I know nothing about you. I pronounce your nickname Ni-ek.

Lackey said...

Happy new year, glad to see this comic. Like I said the atmosphere is pitch perfect. The first frame is rich with horrific promise!

I am wary of your resolution. I fear you will make people uncomfortable and get arrested.

Anyway, it is good that Yus is not a mammal.

Knijk said...

I've sent you a more detailed reply by mail.

Solar said...

Two comics with Yus in, yipee!

I'm getting vibes of the Sandman comics here. The setting is eerie and compelling. It was also good fun chasing the words across the frames.

Don't be too put off by comments from others about the black background. Many are perfectionists/obsessives, often perhaps wanting to offer a view on what they would have done differently themselves without considering the issues in actually producing the work. This doesn't make your original less valid and changing or altering work and a later date is the privilege of the artist anyway.

Cactus Yus:
There is something about Yus and his liberated stubbornness that is so endearing. Keep 'em coming.

Good luck