03 December 2011

Unfinished Business: the Paris Incident

Years ago, in an unwisely-timed exercise, I decided I'd take part in the first 24 Hour Comics Day, and planned to write, draw, and letter a full 24-page comic in 24 hours flat. Frankly, this would have been a hell of a task at the best of times, but it was ludicrously ambitious on a day when I was on call at work. Suffice to say that the first two pages weren't yet finished and the next two barely laid when, less than three hours into my mission, the beeper rang and I found myself spending pretty much the whole day dealing with one of the two worst plumbing crises I ever experienced whilst working in halls.

By the time I had time to myself, the day was nearly over and the moment had -- I felt -- passed. Still, I thought, I'll do it again someday. And then life got in the way, as it does, and things got forgotten, and I've hardly taken up my pen in years, barring the odd Christmas card, say. I've not even done any life drawing in more than a year.

Getting back to the drawing board is something I'm looking forward to doing in a few months. Not just yet, though.

Without giving away the story, in the summer of 1999 I was travelling around Europe as was my wont back then, and on a train between Luxembourg and Frankfurt met a rather lively American girl with whom I wound up staying in Paris some weeks later. This was, frankly, a very foolish thing to have done; as the mother of a friend of mine put it a year later, when my friend and I were planning on going travelling together, 'Oh, I'm glad you're going with Thirsty. He's very responsible. Well, apart from the Paris Incident.'

Names and likenesses may have been changed. I'm just saying.

Just looking at the first page now, I'm mystified as to why I faked the background behind Jeana's head in quite that way in the final panel.That's rubbish, and probably took ages. While the way my speech balloons start wobbly and stabilise as I wake up is quite nice, it's pretty obvious that my lettering could do with serious work. Still, the top-tier sequence isn't bad at showing how the colour leeched from everything that morning. And that was indeed where I sat as the eclipse happened, having taken an overnight train from Barcelona; I had a few photos from that trip in a photo album that was to hand.

And then the water system went berserk.

This is more like it, I think. I'm really pleased with the panel where Jeana walks away -- there's a nicely isolated feel to it, and I think I got the posture and lighting spot on. Actually, I'm a bit suspicious of how good it is, and rather hope I didn't copy it from somewhere. I must have just googled for shots of the train and Frankfurt station, and I'm pretty sure that there are legions of train nerds out there who'd scream at me for having depicted a variety of train that didn't exist at the time, but given that the clock was ticking, and I was well into my second hour at the time I drew it, I don't think I can be faulted too much for that

Anyway, when the slate is finally clear, one thing I want to do is to go to Paris, preferably with a sane female friend, and to wander round the city for a couple of days, visiting all the places I went with Jeana and taking lots and lots of reference shots, so I can try this again. And maybe next time I'll start with a 24-hour comic, and then give some thought to building it up into something more substantial.

It's a good story, after all, as a fair few of my friends can testify. Not a short one, but a good one. I think it might be worth putting down on paper.

1 comment:

Lynda said...

Your range of talents is very impressive! Keep up your great work.