Tag Archives: friendship

The Inventor, 1972

american salvage 4 inventor 1972_edited-1

I had the fog in panel 1 perfect, and then I accidentally deleted the layer, and just couldn’t make the fog look perfect again. But it’s supposed to be foggy in panel 1.

From the moment I took on this project, I wondered how I was going to draw the homemade scuba gear, which seemed like such a memorable symbol, but on rereading the story, I felt the homemade scuba gear was less important. The girl in the story believes Uncle Ricky was a real angel, but he was a kid who gave his friend a homemade tattoo and also made his own fireworks. He was no angel. Also, he tested his homemade scuba gear alone, at night. He wasn’t as smart as he thought.

There’s a lot going on in “The Inventor, 1972,” and I had to cut a lot out, particularly the man’s fraught relationship with his father, and the fact that he is referred to as “the hunter” despite the fact that his hand injury leaves him unable to shoot, and the scene that depicts him trying to hunt as a younger man shows him failing to take the shot. I thought there was some ambiguity about the car accident. The man keeps saying that he didn’t see the girl, but then he thinks about how happy he was when he hit her because he thought she was a deer, and then he recalls how she looked emerging from the fog. So, did he hit her on purpose, mistaking her grace for that of a deer? Or was it all too fast to be anything other than an accident? How culpable is he? He sort of hopes that he will go to jail—his situation is so bad that jail would be an improvement, to his mind—but his guilt is mixed up with so many events that it’s hard to say how guilty he is now.

In the story, the girl sees the man’s hunting license pinned to his jacked when he approaches, but when I Googled “Michigan hunting license 1972,” all the hunting licenses from that era clearly read “display in middle of back.” Having never hunted at all, let alone in Michigan 2 years before I was born, I didn’t know what to make of that, so I just left the license out, since the girl can’t read it anyway. Also, it’s supposed to be the back of his hand that’s burned, and I ended up drawing the front of his hand burned.

At its heart, I think this story is about 2 people who don’t know each other at all, even though both of their lives have been indelibly affected by the death of another character and they’re clearly connected and could help each other. I’d like to think that the girl’s parents find out that he was the person who hit her with his El Camino, but also the one who went running for help, and that they would, naturally, recognize him from their own childhood, and that somehow he gets reintegrated into the family’s life and becomes a subsequently less broken person as a result. I think it’s meant to be redemptive.

This comic took almost an entire week to write and draw, but in my defense, I was at Tucson Comicon for 3 of those days, 4 if you count picking up my media badge and skulking around the load-in on Thursday. Usually I write the script before I start drawing, but I knew that panel 1 should just be this moment of the girl lying on the ground with the man kneeling in front of her, so I just started drawing and figured out the text as I went along. Maybe it would have been more coherent if I had worked it all out first.

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Dragon Comics 114

I really do have a headache and The Man is asleep so there's no one to block out the light.

I really do have a headache and The Man is asleep so there’s no one to block out the light.

Even without a migraine, I’m pretty photosensitive, which is why you’ll see me wearing sunglasses 90% of the time the sun’s up, and sometimes even when it’s not. With a migraine, the light sensitivity is much worse. But I’m committed to drawing webcomics every day, or something like that, so here I am powering through. And as I’m sitting here I’m seeing these aggressive flashing lights out of the corner of my eye. Something weirdly sharp and sort of painful and disorienting. But I’m only seeing them at certain angles, to the point that I’m starting to worry that I’m hallucinating or having a stroke or something. Every time I try to get a line on what’s bouncing off my eyeballs, the lights disappear, like a UFO whenever there’s a reliable witness in the area.

Eventually, though, I look over my shoulder, at which point I notice that there are 2 cops standing in my driveway, and the lights on their squad car is flashing violently all over the place. So I’m not having a health crisis. I just live in a horrible neighborhood.

Dragon Comics 106

Because there's a word for that, when you judge someone on the basis of their color...

Because there’s a word for that, when you judge someone on the basis of their color…

Happy Friday! Here’s your friendly neighborhood webcomic. No others news to report. Still working on my passion flower design, which should be ready next week. The desert is hot, the pool is the perfect temperature, and if you want to take a walk, you’d best wait until the sun goes down, and even then you’ll be sweating puddles in your boots. Delicious.

Dragon Comics 11

White dudes: so oppressed, so voiceless.

White dudes: so oppressed, so voiceless.

Every night is basically a Man talking party in certain company. 

All I really have to say about this comic is that I had a lot of fun drawing hands this week. Friday’s comic has some even more amusingly drawn hands. The Man looked it over and informed me that Dragon is using the wrong finger in panel 3, but I guess that says more about his worldview than my ability to draw hands. It’s funny, because in a lot of circles the ability to draw hands is sort of considered the benchmark. I think hands are only medium-hard; it’s faces that cause me the most grief. 

What I’m not entirely satisfied with is the placement of the word balloons in this comic. That’s another important skill in creating a visual narrative, and it’s not always obvious how to line them up so they’re read in order. I’ve actually read quite a bit on this, and I get that it’s part skill and part art. And if you think it doesn’t matter, you should read this hilarious takedown of inexplicable newspaper comic Mark Trail in Cracked. Actually, the whole article is hilarious. But actually, people have written much more serious pieces about word balloon placement. And it’s even more important in a bigger format, because then you also have to think about panel placement. Simply placing 9 or 12 equal-sized boxes in a grid over and over gets boring. The best artists can create a magical flow of images that sweeps the reader along from action to action in a visual way that somehow reflects the action, but done incorrectly, this method can just confuse the reader.

I’m fair from having to worry about that. But it is interesting to consider how the chosen format affects the storytelling. I’ve already got a little story planned out that examines this, but first, Dragon has a few things to say about art, friendship, truth, and beauty. Stick around!