Happy St George’s Day! I thought this would be an ideal time to give you an update on what I’ve been doing.
First off, while I’ve been working hard on Let’s All Go to the Lobby, I’ve come to the conclusion I won’t be looking to publish it any time soon. This isn’t because I’ve gone off the idea: rather, it’s a case of it being a little out of field, and not really something that has an awful lot to do with what I really want to do as a comics creator. It might be something I publish in the future, but for the time being it’ll be something I set aside while I work on something with a similiar length and idea underpinning it.
This isn’t to suggest that it was a waste of time: as writers, nothing we do is ever wasted or pointless, and Let’s All Go to the Lobby got me thinking about how comics should be interesting both visually and in terms of the story they’re trying to tell. In an earlier draft, Let’s All Go to the Lobby was a more straightforward look at the afterlife, at how something in death would keep us motivated to live. Setting it in a cinema was, I felt, an interesting take on something we’re otherwise very familiar with… despite having no direct experience of it ourselves.
It was also something I enjoyed writing due to the character interaction it threw up. Alex and Maureen, the stars of the comic, were two very different people who frequently clashed despite ultimately having similiar goals, and writing Alex- someone snarky and kind of unsympathetic- was a challenge. Especially since they were the person driving all of the change within the story I was creating.
Still, setting that aside, what am I replacing it with? Currently I’m focussing on a series of comics tentatively titled Scaled Down: a series of standalone comics that will link to Not to Scale, at least thematically. They’ll touch upon ideas that Not to Scale is meant to share- like prejudice, narrative and so on- but they’ll also play host to perspectives that we might not otherwise explore in the main comic.
Right now, I’m working on a comic re-examining the original George and the Dragon story: historically, it’s meant to be a big deal in the Not to Scale universe, even if what I end up writing doesn’t necessarily fit with it canonically. Saint George did exist as a person, even if his dragon-slaying days never really came about: however, the story we know was first written in the 13th century as part of The Golden Legend with the story a well-worn idea by today’s standards. Still, right from the offset St George is a pretty problematic figure: his connection to England is tenuous at best, and his use of the dragon in the original story also makes his status as a hero a little dubious. You can read the original story for yourself here.
Not to Scale is a comic meant to be drawn very much from real life, both in the setting the characters inhabit and the historical events that shape their lives. This earlier comic, though, is something I’m tempted to make a little more generic in terms of its appearance: it won’t necessarily draw from a specific era of history. If anything, it’ll likely take the Bleeding Heart approach to history: it’ll have the trappings of another time, but it’ll be a fantasy story first and foremost, with elements like the art and dialogue reflecting that.
It’s also designed to examine the archetypes that stories like George and the Dragon throw up: the hero, the villain and the victim caught between them. Poetry like ‘Not My Best Side’ and even film series like How to Train Your Dragon have done this very well, and running with that idea- whilst also putting my own spin on it- should prove to be a challenge.
Regardless, I feel like I have much more of a focus and something more relevant to my wider project. In light of the bit of flip-flopping I’ve done in the past, having something more relevant and practical to work towards should hopefully prove to be the big break I’m working towards.
(Header image: Wikimedia)