Elements of the past and future combined to make something not quite as good as either
Sorry excuse me while I write down how I feel about my comics now it’s 2014.
In 2012 (I think?) I wrote a similar blog post which was a bullet points about what I had learnt from self publishing my own comics in print and online. Overall it was an analysis of why I make comics which informed what I’ve been making since. No more competitions or open submission anthologies - the plan was ALL about making things that would make me happy when I was making them and in theory this would make the content good.
…. But it turns out that making comics in a vacuum without a reader in mind doesn’t make much sense? (But I guess I could make comics for my future self to read … but I really hate when comics I’ve made sit on my computer without a reader so that can’t be what I wanted)
So the content of my comics is meant to be for teenagers and young adults. But the only time I interact with teenagers is when they throw food at me from the school bus or if they’re buying a 29p greetings card at my day job. I’ve never been cool so I’m not sure why I worry and try so hard to gain any coolness …. and thats without thinking about how I don’t plan to ever drink since I see no appeal and I doubt swear words will ever wind their way into my regular speech pattern.
So even when I was trying my best not to let what other people thought of my comics get to me, I made the most drastic change to a comic ever. I was fed up of people telling me my comics looked like Scott Pilgrim. I really love those comics but making that sort of comparison isn’t clear if it’s a compliment or an insult. And as far as I can tell from manner and tone of voice different people have been doing both. Which means when this happens online I have no idea what’s even happening.
One time someone told me my work will only stop looking like Scott Pilgrim if I stop being so heavy handed with a brush pen. :T I’ll never be able to get thin lines.
I like to think I know what’s alienating about my work. I don’t expect everyone to like my comics. As an example - a guy dressed as Iron Man at a convention probably wont want to read my photocopied hourly comics.
So what is alienating about your work Sammy? … so my favourite thing outside comics is music - so thats what I usually write about. But to avoid awkward Scott Pilgrim comments I moved the story away from the main characters being 20 something indie rock types to being 1 eyed, 4 armed, 3 fingered green aliens. Which I do still enjoy drawing. I like drawing and writing with the focus in either direction.
But the aliens are alienating. Giant Rhinos In Space doesn’t have spectacular scifi fantasy action sequences, the story is still meant to pace like slice of life. But I think really if I wanted lots of people to like the comic I should have either written strong scifi or written strong slice of life. The combination of both is not really a best seller. It also doesn’t help that the whole thing was a critique of the music industry, which the vast majority of people don’t actually care about.
I guess the point I was making in my 2012 (?) post was that I don’t need to be making a best seller to be happy? And revisiting that notion is reassuring. After all my teenage self wouldn’t have thrown food at my 20something self from the bus … but it was OK to not be popular.
But 2014 has been pretty weird so far. I ended 2013 smashing my face off the road but even though I’ve been back cycling I think I might be in some sort of recovery stage still. My Hypochondria has been awful this year. I think it’s difficult for other people to take something thats obviously irrational as something serious, but the panic attacks have been interfering with my whole routine, including comics making.
But don’t worry ….I’m not giving up on Giant Rhinos In Space, and I don’t believe it’s jumped the shark …. it just doesn’t deserve to be on a Best of Britain list. And I have a detailed list of reasons of why and this definitely isn’t ‘WAA I’m a awful comics maker give me all your attention.’ … I just can’t figure out a way to write those reasons down without sounding ungrateful to the people who have sent a lot of support while I’ve been making this comic.
I’m not sure if I really have a good sum up conclusion … :T I don’t really plan to change anything about the content I was making, it’s just about readjusting my attitude towards it when I’m finished?