Monday, June 8, 2009

ZX : Start Here.

This strip has a peculiar history. It was a test strip I did for a paper that wanted to hire me (which never called back, hah!) and it would be one in a series of human interest cartoons without any overt continuity.

Its origin is hilarious (well, to me at least). I was browsing Mangatraders and reading the synopses of the series. This has been a pass-time for two reasons. Besides finding new manga to read, I just tend to find the synopses really hilarious. This strip is an improvisation on the synopsis of Caramel Milk Tea, which I never plan to read.

"Nozomi, a high school student, did not believe in love at first sight. But it happens that she is in love with a cafe clerk. Immediately she declares love to him. But because he gives her the cold shoulder, she is disappointed in love. Now she begins to work part-time for the cafe where he is working."

It just cracks me up. Anyway, as you can see I've been mostly faithful to that script, though my Mary isn't a high-school student, more college age I think.

The interestingness about this strip happened after I drew it and showed it around, though. A few people liked it, some were kinda confused about what there was to like in it (which I suspect might be why I never heard back from the paper, heh) and a few were all 'well... what happens next?' which I really didn't expect but I suppose I should have, given how it's a synopsis of a manga that actually had a continuation after the opening premise. I took it just as a study in absurd determination but here's what happened next... as the days passed (and I waited to hear from the paper) I started to visualize my own continuation to the strip. After giving up on the paper, and due to a beneficial synchronous discussion about what I want to do in the future with comics with a close friend, Basilis Sakkos, I decided to actually draw 'what happens next'.

What happens next will not be a series of 3 or 4 panel strips each, they'll be full pages which is my preferred format. However it will be a long story (I estimate about 50 pages) and there will be left turns in both pacing and methods used to achieve what I want to do. I've effectively turned a simple quasi-funny comic strip into the launching pad for a story that is very important to me and which I had hesitated to commit to for the last 2-3 years, although I've been constantly thinking about it. I now have the means and I have the desire to see it through. I know that I do because I've already drawn the next 4 pages that come after this strip you see, within the timespan of two weeks.

So, readers and humans. Every Monday you can look forward to the posting of a new page. I intend to create two pages a week and post one a week. If I ever fall behind, I will never do so worse than one page a week, so you may rest assured that I will meet the relevant deadline. Given that I am shooting for (but might deviate from) a 48-50 page story, the next year on this blog will be populated with the story of ZX, I hope you look forward to it as much as I do.

P.S. I might get Johnny to do a pleasant redesign - mainly recoloring - of the blog soon. Don't be shocked when you come here and it looks nothing like it did before!


Mr. Bagel said...

The strip and manga summary really is hilarious. I like the look of the strip and I'm very happy to hear you're drawing a 50 page album. Hehe. Looking forward to the first pages. :D

Solar said...

Hey Helm,

Nothing but anticipation for the upcoming adventure.

It's sad when people don't get something when there is obviously 'something' there. No point describing or defining it, the strip captures a premis, all folks have to do is read between the lines.

Ah well. Top form as always Helm. I liked how the style, hard lines and grainy shading, echoed that often found in newspaper comic strips. Also easy to appreciate her change of clothes, from prude to emo. Nice.

Helm said...

Prude to emo, though? I like women in dresses, I don't think they're specifically prudish. And Them were just more 'working' clothes, I felt. I think it tells us more about you how you interpreted these clothing choices, than her, hah!

Thank you for your ongoing interest :D

Johan said...

I checked that Manga Traders page and there are indeed a few extremely funny summaries on that page, and I think to base a comic strip on one was a fantastic idea.

I don't know much about comics or art or inking, but I like what you're doing lots and am looking forward to this :D

Helm said...

Thank you. A strip in the start of chapter 3 will also be a summary from a manga series. I managed to get another one in there, but I don't think I'll be able to do 3.

pan pan said...

i 'm looking forward to it!
have a nice trip!

Solar said...

Yup the Manga summaries are a pretty rich source of random, relationship based shennanigans. Fun times.

Guess I need to qualify my prudish (covering up neck, hesitatiion about approaching relationships) and emo (angst driven, opinionated, dark mascara, liberal approach to clothing). Obviously my interpretation, but that's why I enjoy your comics, it doesn't try to fill in the blanks.

Thanks again.

Nick said...

The girl's expression in the last frame is really ... uhm, expressive.
Hah! I really, really like it,both the story (funny and made me curious for what's next, really glad to read u plan to make a 50pages comic out of it!), it also seems very well-drawn to me, very sharp&bright somehow.

Keep it up !

Helm said...

Thanks for all the comments! Proceed to fuller page 2!

ingeniuous said...

Great comic! Its hilarious! Who would want to go out with a crazy chick with three arms? Though I can see why she would be good at her job because she can carry multiple orders.

Helm, I hope you won't compromise your truthful examination of humanity if you get a professional gig in the end. I can just see ZX telling Garfield "Lasagna is not a gospel!". lol but seriously people need more philosophy and less america: my really stupid friend said, "does she have spider danger sense on panel 3?" lol don't worry i slapped her and made her read some Socrates. At least she'll pretend to get your next comic.