Monday, August 10, 2009
That's how I play fighters too. Stick with what works, I can't keep up with the combos. Case and point: I still play Ruy on Street Fighter II CE.
The last batch of comments on the last page are heartwarming (sorry it took me so long to validate them, I was busy with summer activities!), and I do appreciate furthermore how some of you are paying close attention. Those that do will be rewarded by the narrative.
A few words about how this comic finally found its way to pages. I've been wanting to do this story (the core, the essence of the story) for a couple of years, yet every time I approached it I felt as if I wasn't ready. I did a *lot* of preliminary work, setting up pages, counting panels, all those things you're 'supposed' to do when you're making comics. This way, when it came time to draw the very first page, I felt exhausted already, intimidated by what lay ahead and discouraged by my own lack of skill. This is how I've evaded doing the one story that means the most to me.
So why am I making it now? Well... for a dream, I guess.
A couple of months back I had this dream where I was holding some pages, expertly inked, of an engaging narrative in my hands, they were my own, of course. I felt so happy, so content in my dream. I forgot this promptly after waking up of course. But some time later I got into this conversation with my friend, Vasilis Sakkos, where I was trying to explain how comic artists are 'sci-fi nerds at heart', and then I further qualified it: they are not - well, most of them - content with just having drawn a large volume of 'funnies', like I am not content with the series of single-page comics I have done in the past (which you've seen on this blog). They're only content when they have to their name, a long, engaging and internally consistent narrative. There is this enticement of world-building. I realised as I was saying these things to Vasilis that this is what I had to do next, the dream came back to me and I told him. The very next day I did the first (well, second) page of this comic, all in a feverish dash, full 12 hours of it.
The way this works for me is that I've pondered on this story so much over the years (though it's extremely different now, superficially, at the core it remains inalienable) that I don't have to plan ahead. I have this single A3 page on which I write the thoughts that come to me, and otherwise I work only on the chapter that I am at. I write the dialogue for it first, and then describe a bit of the scenes and that's where I STOP WORRYING about the future and draw the first page of the chapter. Then the second, then the third, then sometimes there's a fourth, and that's it. Page by page, little by little, I'm moving towards the completion of my goal and the fulfillment of this 'sci-fi nerdish fantasy' that fuels some of us to try to make a containable narrative consistent and alive.
Although you wouldn't know it from page 10 here, I am at almost the middle of the story (page 18 now). It's going to be 35ish pages, not longer, but that's how long it should be and that's great. I find myself getting better at this as I go, not worse (as I feared, heh) and although I have my little annoyances with drawing that make me want to go back and retouch a few panels here and there, it's largely contained (though I will probably permit these alterations once I'm done with the whole story). I have even started working on the cover of the book. I estimate about 3 more months of work and I'm done.
About this page in particular, as I mentioned before, the consciously careful will be rewarded, those that read faster will subconsciously gather the effect as well. Those of you that are gifted with patience for scrutiny, from here on end, please, do not spoil the rest with relevant observations. I don't think much of spoilers personally, I think that a good work stands on its own merit regardless of the 'plot twists'. In fact, in ancient Greece, before a drama started at the theater, there was a designated actor that would rise to the stage and summarize the action of everything relevant that had come before, and of what will come during the plot of the drama, so as the viewers could surrender their expectations and be allowed to be swept by the pathos. This is what we want, pathos, not just 'plot twists'. That being said, I realize others do not feel the same as I do and so, don't spoil it for them :)