My comic for 09 is posted and I'd like to talk about it for a bit.
The artwork: with 24 Hour Comic Day I didn't expect to create an artistic masterpiece, but this time... You know when a kid draws something, a fire truck or an X-wing? They really think they're drawing what they want to draw, but little do they know how far off they were. That's what this year's comic was like, only less endearing. I look at it now and recognize what I meant to do, but missed the mark on. Ah well. (Sweet Enemy just told me that last year I did half-letter and this year I did full-letter size. Hmm.)
The story: This year's story is pretty good. But, it's bleak and dark. Probably the darkest thing I've written and I don't know why. I don't feel dark and bleak. I blame The Decemberists. Sweet Enemy and I saw them live the week before last (awesome show) and they write the bleakest, yet catchiest songs. I mean between Leslie Ann Levine, Yankee Bayonette and Eli the Barrow Boy is it any wonder I made a bleak science fiction tale called The Ghost of Delilah Gray?
I did un-bleak the ending just a bit by changing three words. SE thought it diminished it, but I felt that I'd let my character down a bit. Like Londo Mollari1, my character deserved better. I'm a softie.
The process: I came in cold, even if not thinking of a story the week before is like not thinking of a pink elephant. Some folks came in with an idea or even with character turn-arounds, but I feel that is against the spirit of the thing. So, I rummaged around a House of Ideas (or bowl filled with pieces of paper with story seeds on them) I'd made for everyone at the event and came up with The Ghost of Delilah Gray. Then I went through my stock photo catalogs2 and found this image and HAD to do something with it:
Then about a half-hour of brain storming. I went through three ideas before I hit on the one I used. Then an hour of thumbnailing and a half hour of "production design". Then, for the next ten hours, I pencilled. I worked in red and blue as an experiment; erasing twenty-four pages is a pain. I finished pencilling all twenty-four pages by midnight and started inking. A forty-five minute nap around three a.m. then back to the paper. By the end my hand was cramping. Badly.
The Aftermath:The good part was that, with the exception of my Saturday morning coffee (a usual) I took no stimulants the entire time, just food, water and o.j. That meant an easier come-down.
What I'll do different next year. First, I'll do a happier story dammit! Last year's wasn't super-bleak, but it wasn't a laugh riot either. Secondly, I'll work with bigger lines, maybe use that brush pen that Sweet Enemy got for me last year. Thirdly, I'll ease up on the words this time. Lettering is painful. Painful to do and painful for others to have to read my printing.
Due to obscurius.org space issues, I had to post on my flickr account. I also put up last year's 24HCD entry and a MiddleMan contest entry from 2007
The Ghost of Delilah Gray (24 Hour Comic Day 2009)
Redemption (24 Hour Comic Day 2008)
MiddleMan and Wendy (Viper Comics contest 2007)
listening to while posting: "Poor Little Rich Boy" by Regina Spektor
1 I think that Londo regretted his actions and tried hard to redeem himself. He didn't deserve reward, but he certainly didn't deserve to be tortured for the rest of his life with a mind-controlling parasite stuck on his neck
2 Anybody out there looking for inspiration for a face or a body or a story could do worse than to order a catalog from Veer. They have some gorgeous stock photography that really makes me wish I was not an in-house designer and some call to use it.