Sunday, September 30, 2007

Page 5 pencils (obstructed story)

I am happy to report that my scanner is working again, so herewith a scan of the pencils for page 5 of our story in progress:

It's very close to the thumbnails and script I posted the other day. I've trimmed the text somewhat and tried to give a clearer sense of what sorts of items Stepan is gathering up: a box with a clasp; a knife; a length of rope; and (hard to render intelligibly at this size) a flint. I've also added a knapsack leaning against the wall near the door when Kalbi gives the all-clear; the faithful dogboy is wearing the knapsack in the last panel.

I will get this inked as soon as circumstances allow. So if you have any changes to recommend...act now!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Thumbnails for p. 6 (obstructed story)

I don't have a lot to say about these, or a lot of time to say it, but I've managed to draft some thumbnails for p. 6, with the hope that I'll drag us back onto our weekly schedule by the end of this week.

Some of this might get edited when I see Mike's pencils for the previous page, and of course it's all up for quibbling and criticism, which is why I'm posting it now. We get a couple of new characters on this page, and some explanation for the way that Stepan's magic works. (I probably need to make it clearer that he destroys whatever thing he uses to cast his spell.)

I also want to change the final speech balloon to say, "They've found us already!"

Here's what I've got. You'll be able to see the Langridge with no problem. The J. Chris Campbell is in the final panel, when the trio on the cart sees the shadowy bad guys all around them:

I think I'm going to enjoy drawing the junk dealers. One of them has already appeared in the story, in the second panel of page one. (He's the bird-like guy with the barrel chest.) The other one is a new design. I wanted him to look a little like a toad. He appears here, in some notes, but I can't guarantee he'll continue to look like that.

What do you think? Are there problems? Things I ought to fix?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Enemies from Between the Panels!

As you can see from Mike's new thumbnails for p. 5 of the Elfworld story, we've been talking about having Arntham's mystery assailant come from a space between the panels of the comic, at least metaphorically. (For a while it sounded we were going to have them live literally between the panels, which seemed to sort of mess up the tone of the piece. I like the tone that Mike's setting up now, though, for sure.)

Anyway, this got me thinking about a couple of manipulations of the two-dimensional comics page that aren't really relevant to our story, but are still pretty interesting. People tend to talk about this sort of manipulation of conventions as "breaking the fourth wall," borrowing a term from theater, though there are ways in which that metaphor doesn't transpose to comics very neatly.

The best known recent instance of this in mainstream comics is probably a moment in the fourth issue of Grant Morrison's Zatanna series, which is collected in the third volume of his Seven Soldiers of Victorycollection: after defeating a scary-powerful bearded evil magician named Zor, Zatanna briefly gains a sense of a world beyond the "scaffolding" and "machinery" of her own world. She holds her hand out to us as we read, and the visible pressure on her fingertips seems to literalize that "fourth wall" metaphor for a moment. (Her hand appears at just about life size, so it's tempting to match your fingertips up to hers while you hold the book.)

It turns out that she's reaching out to the "Seven Unknown Men," who (from what I've read about the series) are supposed to be the writers at DC Comics, or maybe more like their extrusions into the fictional world they write about. There they are, all looking bald and sunglassed, a little like Grant Morrison I guess, with a few typewriter parts in the visual space between them and Zatanna's hand. (What are those things in a typewriter called, that strike the ribbon and the paper? I don't know.)

(These images were drawn by Ryan Sook with Mick Gray.)

But this isn't the sequence that motivated me to make a post on ye olde blogge.

When Mike and I were talking about the enemies coming from the panel gutters, I was reminded of a story in Alan Moore's 1963 series (the issue called Tales of the Uncanny) that features a hero called the Hypernaut fighting a monstrostiy from four-dimensional space. It's a pretty entertaining sequence, and I'm going to post it here, partly just because I know Mike doesn't have a copy of this comic. You can, as usual, click on these images to make them legible.

I think the moment between panels three and four, when the 4-D monster folds a panel to make the Hypernaut shoot himself in the back, is pretty clever, even if it's a little difficult to read. (I think it's the position of the first speech balloon in panel 4 that causes the problem.)

This sequence, with the 4-D monster reaching around the "blueprint" of the locked door, takes advantage of conventional two-dimensional techniques of representation pretty nicely.

(We're not surprised, in panel two, to see the insides of the wall, because that's the easiest way to show that it separates the Hypernaut from the 4-D monster; in panel three, the monster not only reaches around this representation, but bursts slightly out of the right-hand panel border.)

A little bit of trivia: if you're looking at those Hypernaut pages and thinking, "There's something sort of funny about that inking -- it doesn't look like superhero inking," then you've got good intuition. These pages were drawn by "Sturdy Steve Bissette," one of Moore's collaborators from Swamp Thing, but they were inked by none other than "Charmin' Chester Brown." Yes, this Chester Brown: the excellent cartoonist behind Louis Riel, The Playboy, and I Never Liked You.

Moore's 1963 series is full of interesting little surprises like that. And no post about 1963 could really be complete without reproducing one of the hilarious mock advertisements that Moore has in each of these comics. I could do a whole post on those, but here's my favorite:

Ah, yes. From the back cover of Tales from Beyond, it's the wonderful world of amazing live SOIL-MONKEYS. Never let it be said that Alan Moore isn't funny. It's sort of surprising that this series hasn't been collected up in some format.

Thumbnails for p. 5 (obstructed story), take 2

Here's an almost total reimagining of page 5, which gets rid of John faster, completes the map, and gets our heroes on the road with some awareness of a possible threat:
The constraints:

In panel 2, Stepan casts a quick confusion charm on John to persuade him to "look somewhere else," as Kalbi suggested in panel 1. John's face gets weird (the Bagge) and we see Stepan's hand casting the spell with some bright magical things (the Ditko).

Starting with the second tier, the space between panels starts to get wider, and in those spaces, starting between panels 5 and 6, we start to see glimpses of horned, shadowy beings, identical to Arntham's assailant back on page 2. In panel 8, Arntham refers to his having "glimpsed shapes like his in shadowy realms invisible to normal eyesight, a place sharing the same space as our own, but escaping notice when we fail to look for it." This is Arntham basically referring to the gutter between panels (the Segar).

1) Caption: This constable is a nuisance!
Kalbi: Maybe you should look somewhere else?
John: You think that's a good idea, eh?
Caption: Time for another spell...

2) Caption: Just a quick confusion charm, with the help of some bright things.
John: Uh...

3) Caption: ...and John is on his way.
John: ...That does sound like a good idea...yes, why not...
Stepan (whisper): Lock the door behind him, Kalbi.

4) Caption: We hustle Arntham's new body inside and put him back together.
Arntham: Thank you both...If John had declared me dead, I'd be banished now as an undead man. ... Which reminds me...

5) Arntham: ...Did you see who attacked me?
Stepan: Someone strange...A horned man with an animal's snout.

6) Arntham: That's worrisome. I need to finish the map, then we all need to leave. Quickly, now...

7) Caption: I grab supplies while Kalbi keeps watch and Arntham does his work. When he's done, I have to ask:
Stepan: Does the horned man have anything to do with the map?
Arntham: Quite likely...

8) Arntham: I've glimpsed shapes like his in shadowy realms invisible to normal eyesight, a place sharing the same space as our own, but escaping notice when we fail to look for it.
Stepan: But how can you see him?

9) Arntham: These eyes of mine are useless, but a magician friend helped me develop other ways of seeing.
Stepan: ...Ipthorin?
Kalbi: All clear outside, Arntham!

10) Caption: At Kalbi's signal, we head for the city gates as dusk descends. A nagging thought occurs...
Stepan: Arntham? What if the shadowfolk are looking back at you?
Arntham: They probably are. All the more reason to find Ipthorin, eh?

Comments welcome...

Friday, September 21, 2007

Thumbnails for p. 5 (obstructed story), take 1

Okay. My scanner has chosen a bad time to be on the fritz, so this is a digital photo. I hope it's more or less legible. You can always consult the script below:
1) Inside the shop.
Stepan as Arntham: Why, certainly. Kalbi would be happy to show you our merchandise. I'll be right back!
John: That's not what I—

2) Inside the studio.
John (through shut door to the studio): Hey!
Stepan (caption): I can feel John pounding on the door. I'd better fit Arntham to his new body, and fast...but I can't leave his old corpse in the middle of the room! Quickly now...

3) Inside the studio.
Stepan (caption): ...first to hide the headless body...
John (through door): Arntham? What's that noise?

4) In the alley outside the back door to the shop.
Stepan (caption): ...then to attach the bodiless head...
John (through door): Arntham?
Arntham: Gaaah...

5) Scurrying back to the door outside the studio.
Stepan (caption): ...then to clothe the blind old man before the sight of him makes me blind...
John (through door): Arntham!
Arntham: What is ... ?
Stepan: Slip this on quick and get inside! There's a constable making trouble!

6) Inside the studio, same angle as in 2.
Stepan (caption): ...and then to persuade John that nothing's amiss.
John: Arntham! Why wouldn't you answer me? That mutt of yours wouldn't let me in here!
Arntham: Eh? Well, know Halfhoundlings—they're pretty dogged!

7) Inside the studio.
John: Lucky for him you're here, Arntham. Otherwise—but who's this youth with you? And why is your robe dripping?
Stepan (caption): Time to get "persuasive"...

8) Inside the studio.
Stepan (caption): Just a quick confusion charm...
John: More strange sounds outside—I'd better have a look.

9) On the road.
Stepan (caption): After John left the shop, Arntham thought we'd better leave Drena...
Kalbi: Good riddance to those people! I can't keep relying on Arntham to protect me against their ill-will toward us animal folk.
Stepan: Ill-will?
Arntham: Too much trouble with weres in Drena's past.

10) On the road.
Stepan: What about the present, Arntham? Your attacker looked like a man with an animal head—horned, even.
Arntham: Eh? Then it's as I thought. The people of Elsewhere don't want me to chart their city.

11) On the road.
Stepan: Why not? How much trouble could that cause them?
Arntham: You tell me, boy...because it's your master Ipthorin who wants me to map it.

I'm afraid I took all the easy constraints—largely because I had too much exposition to deal with (Isaac and I have exchanged a lot of story notes offline about this page, and there's a lot of backstory involved). In the second panel, I'll use the Bagge to indicate Stepan's agitation at the situation he's in. In the third panel, I'll use the Langridge with peek-a-boo bonus to show the headless corpse inside the trunk. And in the eighth panel, I'll use the Ditko to add oomph to Stepan's charm. That saddles Isaac with the more challenging constraints, the Segar & the J. Chris Campbell. Sorry, chief. But think of the possibilities, especially now that we're getting out of town!

Anyway, that's what I've got so far. Help me out, folks—time is of the essence!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Page 4, inked

Okay. Here's the inked version of page 4. I wound up cross-hatching a lot on this one, maybe more than I ought to have. I wanted to make the shop (and the alley) look a little gloomy. Plus, cross-hatching was one way to make the signs drop into the background even on the black-and-white version of the story. (You'll notice that I also broke the letterforms a lot, which will hopefully make the signs read less like captions or speech balloons, even though they're mostly in my lettering hand.)

Notable changes from the pencils are few (except for the shading): mostly I just firmed up a few places where I'd left the pencils a little loose. I made one mistake with the orientation of Kalbi's dewclaw (in panel 3) and had to erase the mistake in Photoshop. Hopefully that's not noticeable.

You can, as usual, see a bigger version of this if you click on it:

That bigger version will appear at larger-than-postcard size, but believe me that it has 70% of the information (pixels) that the actual postcard will have—so it ought to be a good gauge of legibility, even at a slightly larger size.

Now let's see where Mike goes with page five!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Ben Towle's Constraints to Us (pp. 5-6)

Well, I know that some people are really itching to see Ben Towle's constraints for our in-progress Elfworld submission, so I'm going to go ahead and post them. Page 4 is all lettered now, and I'm planning to get the inks finished on Sunday. I'll post that page as soon as it's scanned. Meanwhile, please enjoy contemplating the direction of the story with these constraints in place.

Ben said, "Looking over the constraints up to this point, I found myself laughing out loud at 'The Corrigan,' mainly because I kept hearing it in my head as if it were being pronounced by a sports announcer narrating a past sporting event—as in, 'the catcher has signaled The Corrigan, but the pitcher shakes it off...'

"Anyway, I wandered over to my book shelf and grabbed some comics that I like and decided to isolate some formal element from each of them that I liked and make each of those a constraint. Although I've listed them as 'The xxxx,' none of these things are unique to any of these cartoonists, nor necessarily 'signature moves' from each.

"They're all formal, but hopefully they'll have a significant enough effect on the process that they'll have narrative effect as well."

And here are his constraints:

1. The Ditko: At least one panel must prominently feature a literal drawing of a character’s hands as well as some sort of non-literal graphic representation of something: a spell being cast, a change in psychological state, emanata of some sort, etc.

The Bagge: At some point a character must be drawn off-model in order to convey his or her emotional or psychological state.

The Langridge: At least one panel must be round and without text or dialog of any sort. Bonus points if it’s serving as in “peek-a-boo” panel as in the first item from the example.

The J. Chris Campbell: Somewhere, a change in the amount of visual background or setting included in the final panel of a sequence must serve as a “reveal” in the narrative.

The Segar: Include somewhere, some element of self-reference to some formal element of the comics art form.

(Also recently spotted in Pearls Before Swine)

So: there they are. Mike will be drawing p. 5. I'm really curious to see which of these five he'll be leaving me with.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Pencils for p. 4 (obstructed story)

Well, Mike's not going to see these until the weekend's nearly over, because his observances are going to keep him from using fire (such as the kind that powers computers), if I understand this correctly, until Saturday at sundown.

This means I need to rely on you, our reader, particularly over the next day or two, to help me spot any problems with p. 4 of the story we're planning to submit to the next Elfworld anthology. Mainly, I think I've got things worked out: there's a sign in every panel (though some of them are mostly obscured or only partially in-panel), and there's a disguise presented and then revealed (to the reader). The script has changed slightly from my thumbnails, which isn't unusual for me. I also reconsidered the composition of a couple of panels, to make the storytelling a little clearer. (Panel five, in particular, is my third attempt. I think it's finally working.)

You can click on this to enlargify it:

I include my pencil in this picture so Tom can see what tiny writing his constrains have pushed me into. (I do not harbor any illusions that it will all be legible on the postcards; whatever; they'll still be signs, even if you can't read them all.)

I also include, in panel 5, some of my perspective guide lines, for my comics students who sometimes check this blog, so they can see that I, too, struggle with getting it all to look right. (My solution this time? Draw the walls and furniture first.)

I've given Arntham's business a name ("Inner Eye Impossible Cartography"), and I've listed a few of the things the shop specializes in charting: forgotten realms, lost worlds, invisible cities,and undiscovered countries. Those sound like fun, as long as you're able to return from their bourns...

Coming soon (probably tomorrow): Ben Towle's constraints for pages 5 and 6.

EDIT (1:30 PM): I just noticed (and fixed—phew!) a couple of panels in which I'd drawn the crenellations on Stepan's chest going the wrong way, up from that black band instead of down. I'm not sure how that happened, but rest assured that the error won't be perpetuated in the inked version of the page.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Page 3, inked

Whew! Well, now we're back on schedule (and I have good evidence of how much better is it to stay on it in the first place). Here's page 3:

There are two stray lines that need a dose of Wite-Out, one at the top of the first close-up of Kalbi and one at the left of the panel with the door in the beam. The second of these looks like a violation of Tom's constraint about the grid, but it's not really, because it's a boo-boo. At any rate, once those are gone and I've tidied up one other little Rapidograph smudge, this page should be ready for a high-res scan to send to Isaac for coloring.

I want to thank all those who made comments to help me revise this page to its present shape. I'm a lot happier with the new design than I was with the design in the first thumbnail. And after 21 panels in a four-tier grid, I think it's refreshing to see a different layout. So thanks as well to Tom Hart, for providing the constraint that forced me to think outside of the boxes!

But please don't let this just-posted page distract you from Isaac's preceding post, featuring his thumbnails for page 4. I'm sure he'll be wanting your comments on those, so click back and let him know what you think!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Page 4 Thumbnails (a little early)

Mike's leaving me with a few puzzlers at the turn from page three to page four: Why is Kalbi in such a hurry? Who was that mystery assailant? Why doesn't Kalbi seem bothered by his master's death? How on earth is Stepan going to get his map, if the only man who can draw it is dead now? I've been thinking about these things for a couple of days, and I'm still stumped on a couple of them.

Meanwhile, our pal Ben Towle, who is going to be writing the next set of five constraints (covering pages 5 and 6), wants to send us his constraints early, which means I need to give him some sense of where the story is going next.

And I have two of Tom Hart's constraints to us left to fulfill: the "disguise revealed" and the "signs and labels."

Well, here's what I've come up with. It's a rough thumbnail, but you can enlarge it by clicking on it, and it ought to be mostly legible:

That bone is one of Arntham's bones, and it's going to grow a new body for him, which they'll screw his old head on top of. Unfortunately, a constable is arriving to complicate matters for Stepan and Kalbi.

The "disguise" element is Stepan himself, pretending to be Arntham. He has cast a minor spell to help the illusion be more effective—that's what the symbol for Mercury in that speech balloon is supposed to be. The signs and labels will mostly be little ads and invitations on display in Arntham's shop; there will also be some signs visible in the alley in panels 1 and 2.

In order to put signs on all the walls, I had to create another room to be Arntham's shop (instead of his studio, which was bereft of signs). I made a little diagram for myself to halfway suggest how the doors work, though I admit it doesn't make much sense architecturally. Also, I drew a couple of versions of the constable: garlic-shaped helmet, or smurf hat?

Feel free to kibitz about the layout, the story developments, the constraints, or the smurf hat.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Page 3 Thumbnails (Obstructed Story), take 2

Okay, I've tried a revised approach to page 3. I've clarified some of the exposition, tried to write more dialogue as opposed to captions, and have toyed with using panels as focal points to zero in on parts of larger background images. See for yourselves:

So: better? Worse? Suggestions welcome!

Page 2, inked

Well, I got the second page of our constrained fantasy story done four and a half days late. While that seems to bode ill for our schedule (and it's All My Bad), I'm hellbent on catching up on page three over the next three days, to make sure that Isaac isn't delayed on my account.

Somehow, I managed to squeeze in even more panels than master miniaturist Isaac. Check it out:

A couple notes:

While basically finished, the page needs a few tweaks before it's printed. I forgot to make the tail of Arntham's word-balloon wiggly in the first panel, and I need to remove the ink smudges on the caption in panel 9 (evidence that I'm still a novice at using a Rapidograph with a ruler!).

I also wonder if the first tier, which looks a little bare, needs some real backgrounds for the bazaar ambience. I'm hoping that Isaac provided enough of that on page 1 that the effect will sort of carry over to these panels.

As for the constraints, to satisfy "the Corrigan" I had to avoid showing any character's face other than Stepan's. That actually worked to my advantage with the mysterious assailant and the dark figure in the doorway—I want these two to look, at least momentarily, like one. For the "entrances and exits" constraint, I was glad I took Isaac's advice to compress the storytelling in the first tier so as to win more room later on; I think it's a lot clearer now that there's an exit in panel 10 and an entrance in panel 11.

Finally, a comment on Ipthorin's toponym. "Wynholm" is a shout-out to Diana Wynne Jones, author of such fantasy novels as Howl's Moving Castle (source for the Miyazaki film) and Dark Lord of Derkholm ("Wynne" + "Derkholm" = "Wynholm," which can be construed as "islet of joy"). The latter novel grew out of another of her projects, the indispensable Tough Guide to Fantasyland, an A-to-Z guide to the conventions and clichés of fantasy literature. And sure enough, we've already invoked several, in this project and in the Mapjam. And I'm sure there are more to come...

Anyway, no time to rest on my inky laurels. I've got to get back to page 3!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Tom Hart's constraints to us (pp. 3 & 4)

I've already mentioned three of these in passing, but here in one place for ease of reference are the five constraints that Tom (Hutch Owen) Hart sent us for pages 3 and 4:

1. AS ABOVE, SO BELOW: This is one constraint. The page must feature a levitation and a burial.

2. A DISGUISE REVEALED: A disguise must be revealed—to the audience or the main character. (A light inspiration from The Seventh Seal)

3. SAY NO TO THE GRID: No two panels can be on the same X or Y axis. Each border of each panel must exist in its own unique relation to the edges of the page. Circular panels cannot have the same center on any axis. Trapezoids cannont share a continued line.

4. SIGNS AND LABELS: Each panel has to feature a sign advertising a product, service or the like, or a label doing the same.

5. THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC: All close-ups (of the subject of the panel, whether human or not) and no transition between two panels can feature a common element. ("The kind of storytelling I berate my students for!" says Tom.)

As Isaac noted, some of these constraints would make for tricky storytelling if found on the same page (for example, pairing numbers 4 and 5). I tried to be mindful of this when I left him with "A disguise revealed" and "Signs and labels"—which is not to say that the combinations we are working with don't offer their own brainteasers.

Finally, I like that Tom's constraints offer a mix of pure comics formalism (items 3–5) and specific narrative instructions (items 1–2). I made sure Isaac got one of each kind for page 4.

Page 3 Thumbnails (Obstructed Story), take 1

No, you haven't missed a step, Dear Readers; I'm trying to make up for lost time by working on parts of two pages at once. Hence I give you the first set of thumbnails for page 3 while page 2 remains uninked (but not for long!). I think the text is fairly legible when enlarged (click image to make that happen), though I forgot to introduce the mysterious dog-man's name in panel 3 (his name is Kalbi):

There's likely to be some changes in this design before the end, because I haven't quite satisfied one of the three fiendish constraints that I chose from the five that Tom Hart gave us. These two I think I've addressed:

1) As above, so below: The page must feature a levitation and a burial. (You will note that Stepan himself gets some airtime thanks to a handy ring of levitation, which he uses to grab a bone hidden in the rafters, the very bone that the dog-man buries with Stepan's help at page's end.)

2) The Passion of Joan of Arc: All close-ups (of the subject of the panel, whether human or not) and no transition between two panels can feature a common element. (Tom describes this as the kind of storytelling he berates his students for. I can see why. This constraint is to blame for the proliferation of narrative captions on this page!)

The one I'm not so sure about is this one:

3) Say no to the grid: No two panels can be on the same x- or y-axis. Each border of each panel must exist in its own unique relation to the edges of the page. Circular panels cannot have the same center on any axis. Trapezoids cannot share a continued line.

It's not altogether clear to me if the constraint about "unique relation[s] to the edges of the page" means that no panel borders can be parallel anywhere on the page or if it simply means that multiple squares and rectangles, while permissible, mustn't line up neatly at their edges. If all I have to do is skew the join of regular parallelograms, this won't be so bad. But if every line has to be pitched to its own angle (or curved to its own shape), that'll be a bit tricky.

At any rate, I'm also unsure about the spirit of the constraint, since it's clear that the nine-panel grid lurks behind my current (very sketchy) thumbnails above. But I needed to work out the basic story elements first. I think I can adjust panels for this third constraint if I've misunderstood it.

So, comments welcome, on any aspect of the thumbnails that need 'em!

Page 2 Pencils (Obstructed Story)

With apologies for the delay, here are my pencils for page 2 of the still-nameless obstructed story. On this page I had to avoid showing the faces of any character apart from that of our protagonist Stepan, while also including dialogue and interaction among multiple characters, at least one of whom had to make an entrance and at least one other of whom had to make an exit. (The penciled text may be hard to read, so I'll provide a transcription after the image.)

1) Stepan: I--My master said you could draw a map for him.
Arntham: A map of what?

2) Stepan: My master said you'd know, yourself.
Arntham: And just who is your master?

3) Stepan: Magister Ipthorin, of--
Arntham: --of Wynholm. I knew him well, once. Come, boy, to my lodgings.

4) Stepan: Arntham, how do you see the maps you draw?
Arntham: Naturally I can't, boy. Your question is foolish! But look here...

5) Arntham: I can feel the marks I grave into the parchment with a blade.
Stepan: I can barely see the grooves...

6) Arntham: Well, you have to learn how to--
Stepan: LOOK!

7) Assailant: You've seen enough! A blade for your grave, Arntham!
Arntham: Kalbi! Run, boy!
Stepan: Ay!

8) Voice off: Kalbi--no--
Stepan: Oof!

9) Two illegible balloons of off-panel speech.
Stepan [thinks]: ...landed bang on my chin...head's roaring...can't make out who's talking...

10) Stepan [thinks]: ...can't see straight...

11) Stepan [thinks]: ...when all at once everything clears up, to reveal Arntham dead on the floor and a dark figure in the doorway.

I took Isaac's advice to condense the conversation at the bazaar so that it now occupies a single tier, and I took advantage of the extra space to try to build up the assault of the mysterious assailant with a little more drama. I also tried to convey a better sense of Stepan's disorientation visually as well as verbally after he landed hard on his glass jaw.

Comments welcome!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

My Kyoto Doppelganger

My friend and former classmate Tara Prescott recently went on a trip to Japan, and when she was walking on the street in Kyoto, she was confronted by a strangely familiar face:

She was good enough to snap a picture of it. Her friend and Kyoto guide Naomi reports that this is the emblem or mascot of a chain of sushi restaurants called Ganko-Zushi, which means something like "stubborn sushi."

I imagine I must have made that particular sour expression from time to time in the writing workshop Tara and I took together. If you've seen any cartoon images of me, then you can probably see the resemblance.

I couldn't find any images of me that perfectly capture it, but I think my demonic self-portrait from the Demonstration book comes kind of close:

Anyway, I figure I'm in good company, having a Japanese advertising icon / corporate logo for an overseas doppelganger...

I, too, am disrespectful to dirt.