Tuesday, October 20, 2009


My apologies to readers who have been on pins and needles expecting something of late. Again, I have dropped the ball, but I hope to make it up to you.

I'll start with the triumphant story of my 24 hour comic fiasco. I've always admired comic artists, not the people who draw Superman and whatnot, but people like Satape and Clowes, who draw everyday life in all its interest and banality, so when I saw an ad at the local comic store to "write till you hand goes numb!" I thought "Heck, I could do that!"

THE IDEA: most artists can only produce about 3 pages per day in their everyday lives, and the average comic book size is 24 pages. If, however, one were isolated, away from distractions, one could produce much more and more quickly, so people should go to this comic book store and stay there for 24 hours in which the goal was to write 24 pages.

I had up till then written...2 pages of comics at one time and never a real story arc, so I knew I had to do some training, like for a marathon. I started developing characters, getting used to my utensils, mapping out what kind of stories I wanted to tell, so at 10AM on October 3, I was reasonably mentally prepared.

I started off planning the requisite 2 story arcs and then went to work. I was actually going pretty slowly until the comic store filled with the late-arriving participants. In no particular order we had:
some crazies who drew comics in pencil and couldn't be bothered to chat with us
2 art school students
a high school English teacher and one of his students
a genuine super-hero super-fan
and Blue Beard.

Blue Beard was a nickname, but he's now probably the coolest person I know of. He brought his kids and they constructed an epic about a NINJA COBRA fighting a CYBORG NUTCRACKER on the high seas! The event was sponsored by an energy drink, which BB drank out of a stein like one would grogg or something. What a cool guy!

The event had real sponsors too, so we were supplied with pizza and sodas (like a marathon...but unhealthy!), and we had music playing the whole time. The owner had the idea of playing the soundtracks from super hero movies, which was pretty cool for the first--eh--15 minutes or so, but you can only handle shouting choirs and exploding brass for so long before the rest of us were figuring out ways to connect the speaker systems to our ipods, out of which came an odd mix of pirate music, pop, rap, Black Sabbath (I got SO SICK of Sabbath after an hour) and whatever else we could find.

Around 10PM my reinforcements came bearing coffee and sugar, which was insanely sweet. I am proud to say that I was the only participant who had cheerleaders stopping by, so I want to thank you (you know who you are) for the ventis and moral support.

At about 4:00AM something happened to me that I had previously only experienced once, during reading week my sophomore year in college: my brain stopped working. It just wouldn't cooperate anymore. My hands were moving, my body was jittery from caffeine, but my mind just shut off, and all of a sudden "THERE" was a REALLY HARD word to write properly. I was grateful that I had planned out my comic so well, but it was still really difficult as I looked at the objective for each page and tried to envision how I would realize it. We were all dragging though, even the store owner who had volunteered to be there overnight (thanks, Luke!). At this point Blue Beard took his kids and his comic home, since they were showing the exhaustion like mini-zombies, and he didn't need us around to be an amazing illustrator (he was writing his comic in free hand with a sharpie!).

The manager showed up around 8 with donuts, laughing at our bedraggled looks, and by 10 we were all very happy to call it a full day. In the end I was one of the only ones who finished all 24 pages, and I'm not totally proud of them, but I am proud that I could accomplish something. Having been rejected by the State Department and pretty clueless as to what comes next, I knew I would have to look for a sense of accomplishment outside of "job," and I really felt amazing for getting it all out on paper, even if parts of it were a bit toned up or down, and the characters looked rough. Blue Beard had come over to my table during a pizza break to check it out, and he said that "It's a fun style, like an cool internet comic." I've found my niche? Maybe not.

Now, before you all go clicking the link I've provided to check out my work, I have to say that I wrote the comic itself on really large paper (like a real comic artist), and they scanned it into their system, but the scanner wasn't big enough, so it's knitted together, sometimes in rather awkward ways. That having been said, I present to y'all my work:

1. Click HERE
2. Scroll down the page till you see my picture next to a bunch of miniaturized comic panels
3. Click the picture of me for page 1
4. Use the arrows at the top of each page to either navigate to the next or close out completely.

Let me know what you think. I really do hope that this personal challenge can become a sustainable and productive hobby in my life.

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