OK, I finally got this thing uploaded — and it’s exactly a month late. On the bright side, the drawings are REAL SICK, but this definitely falls into the time sink trap I mentioned in an earlier post. Ideally, I would draw these issues with less detail and produce more of them. I’m more about quantity when it comes to this project. That being said, you’ll notice that the art style is slightly different from the first issue and I’m happy with the change. Thematically,…Continue Reading “STIMULUS Issue #2”
Although I’ve drafted several stories, I chose to kick STIMULUS off with The Spacetronaut because this is a comic that I’ve worked on for years. In fact, it’s probably been rattling around in my head in one form or another for almost a decade. I felt that it was in the spirit of this STIMULUS project to finally publish something that had made me feel creatively stagnant for such a long time. Full disclosure: I wrote the first draft of The Spacetronaut shortly after I…Continue Reading “STIMULUS Issue #1”
Fun Fact: At the time of writing this post I have about 800 copies of Automata and will give you one for free if we ever meet at a convention or something.
Just a little bit of background on this one: Automata is the first comic I ever finished and it took me about 2 months from start to completion. The brain removal sequence was based on a dream I had. Incidentally, the dream version was a lot more steam-punk, maybe even Dr. Seuss esque, complete with power drills, gears and propellers for some reason. I chose not to draw fanciful machinery because I wanted the satire to be as straight-faced as possible.
In that spirit, Kurt Vonnegut was my inspiration — during high school I read nearly every Vonnegut book because I fell in love with his casual (and funny) disdain for the human race. I thought that a Vonnegut styled narrator would be a perfect accompaniment to my creepy dream sequence. Ultimately, I’m happy with my finished product, but I still dislike narration in comics. Scott McCloud talks a lot about this so I’ll defer to his thoughts on the subject. For now, I’ll just say that I’m of the opinion that narration in comics is generally a crutch used to compensate for weak visual communication. But, can you imagine Automata without any narration? I needed my sarcastic narration to keep it from turning into a nightmare and to spoon feed the satirical message!
The funny thing is, a lot of readers don’t seem to pick up on the sarcasm. Out of what I’ve written so far, I tend to receive the most compliments on this comic, but I still wonder why some readers can’t connect with the cynical, snarky narrator. Then again, I suppose he isn’t as charismatic as Vonnegut.
Play Devil’s Advocate is an experimental gag comic with an art style very different from anything else I’ve done. After completing one chapter, I put the story on hiatus indefinitely.
This comic represents the early stages of STIMULUS. I was looking for something that I could produce on a monthly basis, so I went with an expressionistic art style that is almost entirely stream of consciousness (I still used a storyboard though). The idea was that I would sketch out a loose, visceral page without worrying about sloppy mistakes. The style would lend itself to the story while saving me a lot of time — I would then use that time to write more chapters! Theoretically, I could churn out one page every two days and become a GOD OF PROLIFICACY. But, this wasn’t the balance I was looking for because I wasn’t satisfied with the artwork.
Let’s talk about this balance and the best use of TIME.
Text-Man is a short story about an ironic superhero, drawn in a very dramatic art style (think Sin City). The story was submitted to a comic anthology with a mandatory “superhuman” theme. I personally hate superhero comics, but I’m into the ironic superhero comics like The Watchman and Death Ray. I decided to go this route and wrote what’s essentially the superhero for millennials — A man who can interpret ambiguous texts when it comes to dating.
Overall, I think this is a solid comic. Looks great, has a couple of good gags… but it doesn’t stick with me, personally. It’s difficult to have a traditional narrative structure in 10 pages, so I went with two short vignettes. I think the pacing is what doesn’t feel right. Either that or it’s the art style…