Does This Look Like A Real Comic To You? is a collection of stories I created between 2015 and 2016, 2015 being the year I finally starting making comics for serious. I thought it'd be interesting to offer some commentary on what's behind them and perhaps process pictures and whatever else may be relevante. So here are the stories, in order:
The Lizard Strip that is in the back of the cover I created at a workshop with Ed Piskor at SAW in March 2015. I've had the idea for it for several years before that. I was pretty happy with it, especially for a first attempt.
Brazil: A Good Start was the first comic I did on my own, a few weeks after getting back from the Ed Piskor workshop. What prompted me to do it was John Oliver's segment on Brazil that is referenced there. I'm a big fan of Last Week Tonight, but was a bit bothered with how superficial their segment was, and decided people should know a bit more than that. So it was made with someone whose only understanding of the situation came from that segment. I submitted the strip to The Nib, who rejected it, which was disappointing, not because the strip is so great, but because they didn't have any comics on this subject, as as far as I can tell, still don't. There were talks of it being published on a Dutch website of political comics, but by then the scenario had completely changed and the information was outdated. Such is the nature of Brazilian politics these days. I had originally hand-lettered this one, but in the end decided to re-do it digitally, as I wasn't happy with my own hand lettering.
Toe Jam & Earl. This is stil one of my favourite strips I've made. I think I hit the right tone with the writing and the art with my abilities as they were at the time. It's somewhat based on me and my brother, who used to play that game to death, much like the sisters in the story. It was done shortly after the previous story, but I think the art shows a lot of improvement. I also like it that it's very compressed storytelling: just one page, but it packs a lot of story in its six panels. I tend to go for that more often than not.
Tattoo. All fiction is autobiographical, it was once said. This one surely is, it's pretty much what I foresee for my future, as more and more people around me seem to get tattoos. I'm such a contrarian that I probably never will. This is a reworked version of a strip I did at the Ed Piskor workshop, and it was great to see how much better it looked with only a few months in between the two versions. I might put the original version here sometime for comparison.
Jaws. An autobiography, and a terrible secret of mine. This was originally made for Culturally Significant!, a website I occasionally contribute to, on the occasion of the celebration of JAW's 30th anniversary.
New Jersey, 2005. Autobiography again. This is exactly how I remember it all happening. It's an interesting look at my relationship with the American Way Of Life as I perceive it. I may write more about that in the future. I like some of the artistic choices I made on this one, but I do think I went a bit overboard on the halftones. It was my first time using them! I wish I could redo that last panel, but I made the decision of not redoing anything for this collection. Keep moving forward, done is better than perfect!
Keep It Real. More autobiographical fiction. This is what I imagined my future would be like at the time. Now I'm a bit more optimistic.
An Old Joke. I made this one as a test. I was testing some design ideas and wanted to see how I would handle inking a strip with a brush. Nowadays that's my go-to tool, but at the time it was quite daunting. I chose this scene from ANNIE HALL because I love the film, and this joke is still my favourite definition of what life is. I wish I could redo the second panel.
Neverending Math. Inspired by the Modest Mouse song, Neverending Math Equation (actually more by Sun Kil Moon's cover of it), and my own life, being someone who has moved around a lot.
Don't Let Our Youth. This one is sort of inspired by the song "Don't Let Our Youth Go To Waste", as performed by Galaxie 500, but I actually did it as a test for a longer project I'm writing. This strip previously appeared on Incompleta, and got a beautiful playlist put together by my friend and playlist wizard Fabio Kawano. Here's the Spotify link to it.
Talkin' WWIII. An adaptation of the somewhat-obscure Bob Dylan song, "Talkin' WWIII Blues". Every time I say it's inspired on a Dylan song people ask which one, and they never seem to know it once I tell them. It's in THE FREEWHEELIN' BOB DYLAN, his second album, which has a very famous cover at the very least. I've always wanted to do this one, I love how it is all a dream and doesn't have to make sense. Plus, it has some great imagery. This had been the longest story I had done at that point (not counting the Jesus Christ Time Traveler stuff), and you can kind of see me get better as I go along. The last few pages look a lot better than the first few, IMO. But let's keep moving.
The Things You Don't Do. I always hate it when people say "you only regret the things you don't do in this life". It's such a fallacy. So I came up with this story to make fun of those people. I don't know if my point comes through okay, but that's always a risk. I changed the style a bit for this one, I did it all in ink and pen, whereas nowadays I usually go for the brush. I don't know, the harsher quality of the pen seemed more appropriate for this, as did the different style I drew the characters in.
Ours. This one is based on a trip I took last year, but I intentionally changed a bunch of details. I made this one for my Autobiographix class at the University of Dundee, and it accompanied an essay on the limits between fiction and autobiography, which, having just written about all these stories, I'm starting to think is a recurring theme for me. Hm. Anyhow, I think the art on this one is my best among these stories, so it's heartening to know it's also the most recent of the bunch (the stories o this collection are more or less presented in chronological order). The style is a bit different from my usual, but it's good to vary those things. The brush strokes are a lot more confident than in other stories, which I have no idea if others can tell, but I sure as hell can. I got kinda clever with this one, having a panel after the story ends, and I will not write about why I did that.