Monday, July 13, 2009
This page and the one after it were the first major hurdle in making this comic. I'm at page 15 now so looking back I can sorta see how I am struggling with writing a woman. I am not a woman, though my flowing beautiful locks befi... uh. It's difficult to write about what you don't know, and I have to constantly remind myself that we're all people in the end, made of people-stuff. And also, well I'm certain this won't win me any fans but in the spirit of no shames and all that, I *do* have to fight off an amount of misogyny when writing women, this reactionary urge to write them as if they're fundamentally shallow. I shall explain myself before my throat is spectrally cut.
To rationalize this fault I'd have to say that since romantically I've only been interested in women, I've had my emotions toyed & tampered with and ultimately abused by only by women. Amazing cruelty and crassness and often unapologetic baseness, you know how it is. I'm certain that the other half of the population gets treated similarly by men and that gender, and to degrees, social and communal status probably don't have much to do with anything. We're all half-blind, fumbling and pawing our ways through dim and brittle paths to each others psyches. Damage must occur.
So, writing Mary (Marina, in Greek) is difficult because I want to be fair to her and her concerns, but I do not want her to be an author insertion (there's plenty of that elsewhere), nor do I want her to be 'easily likable', or sexy fanservice (which sickens me as a concept to tell the truth). I want alienation and emotional convergence in equal amounts, and whereas when I write Stephan and ZX my bearings are true because this is my life I'm talking about (they basically write themselves, seriously, you should see my rambling drafts. Not much is amended or left out), Mary comes from an outside perspective:
I'm often preoccupied with the 'dull burdens' of everyday middle-class life, not so much because they're fascinating in themselves but in how we manage to extract perfect amounts of misery from them. Even though our basic needs are met, we're not starving to death, think of the children in Africa, etc... So in pondering young women I find my myind wandering around the complexities of their 'social obligations' towards family, expected communal status and so on. I haven't had to deal with this in my own life a lot because I self-identified with a concept of an 'artist' pretty early in my teenager years and I hid behind the aloofness this concept allows for for a long time (well... still, I guess). Girls are much more tormented with being what they're supposed and expected to be societally, and especially if they develop the necessary skills to cloak their own emergent teenager personalities behind those socially-pleasing, overachieving masks, they tend to not develop in a way I'd judge (sorry) as evenly paced. Namely, they seem to skip adolescence. They go straight from being children, to being adults (as least as far as the outer world is concerned). So whereas they appear much more mature, much earlier than teenage boys, after the social motiffs of schooling/higher education and the straightforward life goals that come with them effectively run out (via achievement), they're often confronted with large gaps in their personal expression. Mary is an exploration of this, I suppose, but not an intentionally cruel one. You'll see where this goes as the comic progresses.
For lovers of comic theory, check out the almost panel-by-panel visual counterpoint to the wording of the inner monologue. The theme of reflection especially, colors the morphology of this page.
Thank you for reading, as always. Comment and make the reclusive artist happy
P.S. check out those mad torrents running overnight