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24 Hour Comic Day!

04 October 2020 - 15:19

I finally took the challenge this year: I tried my hand at 24-Hour Comic Day. I feel I should use an exclamation point, but the period denotes more finality. Because it's over now. I started at 14:06 Hrs. yesterday and ended it at the same time today. To say I'm exhausted doesn't even begin to cover it.

I feel... changed. Something changed in me somehow. I can't really explain it, only that it makes me feel both elated and terribly sad. As a creator, as a storyteller, I think I've evolved. See, I've been writing as a pleasurable hobby since I hit puberty, pretty much. When I started off, I was terrible at it. Then as the years went by, I got better. I'd say, much better. I'm a pretty damn good writer, and I know it. I don't need people to tell me, but they do. Call me arrogant, if you will. I accept it.

Drawing also started around the same time, but with that medium, I've never really had the opportunity to develop it as I did with my writing. Or maybe I just wouldn't take them. All throughout junior high and high school, I never took any Art electives, stubbornly telling myself that I could be self-taught. There was more pride in that. After all, if I could teach myself to write, how would drawing be any different? The thing is, I didn't realize that I wasn't self-taught as an author. I was learning by reading literary works, but more importantly, writing is not an elective at school; it's mandatory! So I was being taught. Funny how the young mind fails to see outside contributions to its own achievements. Anyhow, my point being that my drawing skills are stunted compared to my writing. So over the years, when I've wanted to tell a story, I rely on the written word. Then I discovered Scott McCloud and his wonderful series of graphic novels about graphic novels. Understanding Comics and Making Comics really changed my world. I finally ventured to try my hand at making an actual comic book, even if just one chapter. That was my Apocrypha Project, which is still on hiatus after about four years. I can't bring myself to admit that I'm pretty much done with it, that I will never get to finish it, because I just wasn't ready to undertake such a gargantuan task. However, then I took it upon myself to finally take the plunge and try my hand at 24-Hour Comic Day (also started by McCloud, I should say... the man is a genius!). Once again, Scott has completely changed my life.

Although I've written more stories than I can count, all my works have fallen under the category of fan-fiction. Yes, even Apocrypha. Its working title was T.I.N.C!, which stood for This is Not Canon! The nature of the work was implied in the very title! Everything I've ever created started out as either a parody or inspired by someone else's work. Some, like Apocrypha, I've never been able to divorce from the source work. My dA is riddled with stories taking place in various manga, manwha and cartoon universes. I even write Star Wars fanfic, for crying out loud! 24HCD requires one to create an entire 24-page comic, start to finish, in just one day. That includes the story and character design. Which means, by definition, it must be an original work. That was the most daunting part for me, or so I thought going in.

The other hurdle I was not looking forward to was keeping the story short. A 24-page comic can technically have a cliff-hanger ending, with a To Be Continued scrawled on the bottom, but even then, a single comic issue must usually be able to stand alone, on its own. That is something else I've never been particularly good at. I can start all kinds of stories, every day, all day, but I just can't end them...! Well, I had to for this!

I just want to say... I will be forever grateful to Scott McCloud for his wonderful contributions to my life, even though I've never met him, and with my luck, probably never will. He's made me grow more than any other teacher (well, at least in the storytelling medium). Crazy that he may never even know it!

I wrote out my story, designed most of the panels, and got to the storyboard stage. Didn't make it to the entire comic, not even close. In the end, it was the drawing part that kicked my ass, and having not had much practice lately, I shouldn't be surprised. But I sketched more than half the pages (stick figures) and have the dialogue for most. Better yet, I have an entire new story not based in any creative universe other than my own. I won't go into what it is now, because now that I've begun it, I definitely plan to finish and self-publish. Just know that it is extremely personal for me, and was a story I hadn't truly acknowledged I had brewing in my brain. Seriously, I cried writing this comic. Partially in despair, and partially because I was so moved by the experience and story. This will see the light of day. I won't let this stagnate the way Apocrypha did, because this work... this baby is all mine.

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