One of the challenges of writing a superhero comic book which reflects and is inspired my own life is that the genre demands lots of high-energy conflict, while the source material is mercifully thin in that regard.
The way I usually address this is to write the inner and interpersonal conflicts realistically, and then let the super-battles grow out of them. And then sometimes the plot and the genre just demand some fights. So, sometimes I just do some fights.
For example, at the end of issue 13 I needed to show that the bad guy plan was bearing fruit. I needed to show that they were starting to beat heroes. So, what better way to show this than to have them take down the until-now invulnerable Sidekick? The scene work pretty well, as he is in one move, not only defeated physically, but also emotionally. He has never been hurt before. Relatively minor injuries open him up to the terror of vulnerability that everyone else deals with every day. For a scene which is essentially a plot point, it packs some punch.
Plus, it promises a heart-wrenching scene between Sidekick and Flamethrower. She has never seen him hurt before, and this new potential fear is something that they will have to work through together. Not really allegorical, but a nice scene.
And then the other day I was talking with my boss about the dangerous environment in which we work. After being punched by a student, I had to deal with the fact that I could actually get hurt here. That is scary for me, but it is far scarier for the people who love me. For example, my girlfriend.
What I thought I was writing as side-plot to advance the main story.... turns out was a pretty straight-up allegory for a very challenging dilemma I am currently facing.
Whitechapel, I need your thoughts. My webcomic PITCH BLACK will soon hit a hundred and fifty strips. I've started thinking about the art style, and some of the readers have been understandably weirded out by the lack of mouths. So I'm trying to update the art style without losing the soul of the comic. I've made an original strip comparing the old and the new:
And I've remade an older strip. Here's the original:
I was just reading another thread abut politics here and it got me to thinking. careful now, huh. I'm a staunch non-voter, having never voted once in the 17 years i've been able to. At this moment in time i don't plan on ever doing so either. Its not that i don't care who's in power, more the fact that i have no faith in the whole process. It seems to me that all i would be doing by voting is choosing who would be lying to me for the next four years. Election promises from politicians are little more than a waste of this planet's oxygen resources. On top of that, i really don't believe that the parties or the politicians listen to, or give a shit about what the people think. Maybe if i was a multi-millionaire or someone claiming lots of benefits it would make a difference to me what party was in power, but as things are, i'm neither. I'm a working-class plebian, who'll get shafted in taxes no matter what hand they take them from. I can't hear no fucking violins. oh well....best get to the point of this gripe i suppose. What really grates with me is when i'm told i 'can't talk about politics' or 'the current situation' or that 'my opinion doesn't matter' 'because i don't/won't vote'. Why should anyone have to vote if they feel there's no-one worth voting for? And why should they have to compromise their stance just to validate their opinions? I'm not entirely sure that last question makes complete sense, apologies if it doesn't. Apologies also for my grammar. /end gripe Just wondered what others thoughts are on the subject, if any..
Tonight, oldhat, steevo, lucid seraph, spike3185, Rachael Tyrell and I went to a place where there is beer, in copious amounts, and people who went to NYCC2010, in somewhat less copious amounts.
In front of a halal food truck, I was asked to explain the US political process in terms of Transformers.
"Well, see, there are these two groups. One group are the decepticons, and another are...um...yes, autobots, that's it. And they are supposedly fighting each other, but REALLY there are producers funding the whole thing and choreographing the moves and it's all fake and a ploy to make money off the people who are forced to watch."
So there's this guy who busks outside the Beer Store. (In Ontario, you buy your beer at the Beer Store. Or the Liquor Store. The Beer Store used to be called "Brewer's Retail" but everybody called it the Beer Store and so the name, she was changed.) The thing is, the instrument he uses is a saw. He's got a handle on the end and he bends it to make noise, giving it an ethereal, almost electronic-like quality to the sound. He can only play a few "songs" and they only let him busk there for a limited time, because his "instrument" is kinda ... annoying.
So I see him a few times. He plays "Somewhere Over The Rainbow", "When You Wish Upon A Star" and a couple of other "tunes". I get to chatting with him and ask him why he doesn't play the Doctor Who theme. "Hmm, I don't know that one", he says so I whistle it for him. He tries it and says he'll work on it.
Flash-forward a couple weeks later. He sees me ride up on my bike to get some beer (mmm ... beer) and he starts playing the Doctor Who theme song. Pretty well, too. Better than "When You Wish Upon a Fucking Star", anyway.
Just trying to nerd-up the universe as much as possible, me.
If I sidled up to you and said, without any context, "I like it under my desk, where my dogs sleep, and I occasionally drop crumbs." or "I like it in the freezer, next to the stiff, dead meat." you'd probably have no idea I was trying to raise awareness about some kind of issue, right, and would instead think I'm some sort of nutter off his meds?
I bring this up because there is this incredibly idiotic meme going around Facebook lately that is doing just that. The idea, for those of you who aren't in the know, is to post the location you like to leave your purse to raise awareness for cervical cancer. What the fuck a purse has to do with a cervix I don't know, I can't claim to own either, but the whole point of this meme-campaign leaves me scratching my head. Three reasons:
1. If you are attempting to raise awareness about an issue, YOU ACTUALLY NEED TO TALK ABOUT THE ISSUE, FFS. A FB comment of "I like it in the garden, beside the radishes, where the bugs are" says nothing about the issue and, as such, will leave people who don't know about the meme completely out of the loop.
2. That being said, how useful is a meme to raise awareness about an issue if the only people who are going to GET the meme are those people WHO KNOW WHAT THE MEME IS ABOUT, i.e. the people who already have an awareness of the issue. Such people, I would think, are not your target audience. People like Jim Bob Herp de'Derp, your old friend from high school, will not have the psychic connection necessary to convert "I like it on a hook, hanging from my wall next to my doll collection" into "Oh, hey, I should be more cognizant about breast/cervix/whatever cancer." It's like telling a joke that you then have to try and explain to your audience because they don't get it.
3. Do you honestly think that what you are doing does a lick of good? Honestly? Does re-posting a meme actually do anything for the issue you are trying to support? Does posting "I like it by the door, except then my gerbils get into it" magically raise money for cancer research? Does posting context-less non-sequitors make people care? Or are you going to post "I like it on the couch, half open with its contents spilling out" and then go right back to playing Farmville while enjoying your sense of pointless, empty good will at your well-intentioned-yet-totally-ineffective gesture?
"But, Ren, I'm just trying to help!" You want to help? How about you actually talk about the issue or toss a fiver to a charity or fund that actually contributes to the issue that you claim to care so much about. Then you're actually doing something.
I have a mustache and a fine one it is, too. It would hardly be out of place in the Old West, where, if Kate Beaton teaches us anything, men used the power of their mustaches (and occasionally beards) to win wars and tame continents.
Now, some people don't like mustaches. But a cursory glance around Whitechapel will reveal that there are many fine mustaches, good enough to win wars and etc. In fact, I'd guess that a majority of male Whitechapellians have some sort of facial hair.
So, the question is : why do you have a mustache? In my case, it's because 1) I've always wanted one since I was a kid (I've also always wanted to be named "James" but that's a different story), 2)I have a small scar in my mustacheular area and the mustache covers it up nicely, 3) I don't like shaving there and 4) it's my personal tribute to the magic, mystery and music of Mr. Frank Zappa.
And ladies, I'd love to hear your thoughts on mustaches and why you love/hate them. The comments are for commenting.
There is no great secret that the true artist holds dear, no secret power passed down from master to apprentice, no secret method that transcends both rational mind and chosen medium, no secret, save one. It is a secret that can not be taught, can not be learned, one that can only be experienced, and even then it can not be captured by skill, or conjured by ritual. The secret is to sublimate the self to the art. To commit the self, the higher consciousness, the intellect, the internal voice, to open the spirit to the demands of the art, and let the soul flow unhindered into the work. All things fall away when this is done; the critical mind’s eye, the needs of the body, the concerns of one’s outside life, the very passage of time, all are secondary to the work, the art becomes all. This is what the true artist strives for, and it is a rare occurrence indeed.