Shamanic Lemonade

8 10 2009

cvf_thumRead the Comic

I made some deliberate risky choices going into 24 Hour Comics Day this year. I decided to work on very large paper (18″ x 24″). I brought colored refills for my brush pen (it’s the Pentel Color Brush, but I’ve always just used black ink). Also risky, though I didn’t realize it, was the change of venue. For the first time we held PNCA’s annual event off campus, at Backspace Cafe. Some unforeseen logistical issues caused us some inconvenience, and while most people didn’t mind too much, as organizer I felt thrown off balance. It may be for these reasons that this is by far my weirdest 24 hour comic ever.

While I always make up the story as I go, usually I can see at least a narrative trajectory from early on. This time, I had no idea. at 1:30 am, on page 15, I got my first inkling that there might be a way out of the hole I’d dug myself. At 4:45 am and page 19 I could finally see an ending. When I finished it, I felt like certain parts worked in isolation (I really like page 1 all by itself) but as a whole it had gone off the rails. However, the more time that goes by, the better I feel about it. I think I was mostly successful in letting the story be what it needed to be, without resorting to my usual safety cushion of wacky nonsense.

There is wacky nonsense, to be sure, but in the service of larger things. Mostly. Professor Flatworm being the most egregious exception. He showed up to fill an empty space on page 10, and I thought he might be a useful device to counter the increasingly murky weirdness. But right away it felt like a cop-out, so I left him un-inked and planned to erase. Then I reached the end of the story on page 23, and having no better ideas, I brought the Professor back. Maybe the better idea would have been to leave him out and let the comic be 23 pages.

I hate to give anything away, but it’s come to my attention that I’m too cryptic and alienating in general. So I’ll give you the multiple-choice question I’m trying to get you the reader to ask and then answer for yourself:

the stars and swirlies brought on by a blow to the head cause what?

A) hallucinations

B) visions of true reality

C) travel to another dimension

D) all of the above

E) other

Last thing: people have had trouble with the transition from page 17 to 18. Just go with it. It may help to note the contents of Potato-Roy’s vomit. (That’s probably the best sentence I’ll ever write.)

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