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Who Are These People?

Banes at 12:00AM, June 30, 2016

For several years I've been doing a comic called Typical Strange here on the Duck. And I'm still doing it, I swear!

The characters are a fairly diverse assortment of different temperaments and personalities, and the adventures they've had and will continue to have will hopefully be A/Interesting, B/Funny or C/Contain some bit of insight or emotional resonance that might stick with the viewer. I hope for all three.

But I've thought more recently about the ARCS of these characters. Though they may not all have arcs, exactly. But I've thought about what they want, and where they're headed.

Much of what these people are all about has been explained to me by other people. They've told me what's going on with these characters with greater depth than I could have.

If I had to sum up these main characters collectively, I'd say they're all struggling to grow up, and to learn to be real with other people, rather than acting out the defense mechanisms that keep them comfortable. They are (very slowly) learning to be more genuine.

It's me. I realized it's all me.

There's another character/series I've been working with bit by bit for over a year, since creating the guy in HippieVan's Mary Sue exhibit.

He's a parody Mary Sue-type, for whom everything comes easily, and to whom the world seems to cater. In figuring out a journey for him, and a need that readers could care about, I hit upon the idea that he needs to become VULNERABLE.

He is very capable in his own sphere, but has little ability at intimacy or letting people in. It's the one thing he doesn't jump into wholeheartedly.

That seemed like a good way to take the boredom out of this character.

But more than that…

It's me again!

I haven't been a fan, generally, of some of the “journal” comics I've seen, where the creator has a personal axe to grind and lays it out in their comic.

It seems…I don't know. Indulgent? Whiny? I'm sure there are some good ones out there, and John Lennon himself did quite a few very personal songs that I like. Though even then, I'm not a huge fan of how literally personal some of them are.

Stephen King wrote about his own experiences, being hit by a van, and later sliding down an ice ridge and nearly falling over a cliff in SEVERAL novels. When questioned about it he said those subjects would keep showing up until he worked through them.

Maybe a personal catharsis or “working out one's own issues” has a way of appearing in our writing even when we're not aware of it.

Do you work out your own issues in your comic? Or even better, have you been working them out without even knowing it, until you just now paused to think about it?

In any case, that's what I was pondering today.

See you next “issue”!




Z74 at 1:21PM, July 2, 2016

My comic is pure escapism , I deal with real world issues too much as it is .

Zaptoid56 at 12:14PM, July 2, 2016

Yes, the fact that I'm casually demented has always figured into my work.

bravo1102 at 1:27AM, July 1, 2016

If you feel your characters are too much like yourself, get out and meet more people. Observe humans and their interactions and take yourself out of the picture. Do not judge, just see and listen.

HippieVan at 9:01PM, June 30, 2016

I totally get you on your characters being you! As I'm writing my upcoming comic I've sort of addressed this to my own satisfaction (although perhaps not to others', we'll see how it goes!) by deciding that it's easier to think of them as different imagined mes than adding unnecessary character traits to them, trying to distance them from myself.

usedbooks at 7:27PM, June 30, 2016

Some characters are more 'me,' but they aren't the ones you would guess. When you get a couple dozen regulars, you can sneak in a little self-reflection now and then without anyone knowing and without it being any kind of mouthpiece.

usedbooks at 7:22PM, June 30, 2016

My comic is mostly an escape for me, so it's as far removed from my life as possible. Originally, two of my main characters were caricatures of my roommates until they developed their own personas. I actually go out of my way to research settings and characters because I like it to be accurate and true to life -- just not my life. I vacation in cities and take reference photos for my comic. My life is no where near a city. Sometimes news stories or reseach I do at work inspires an arc or a character. One of my antagonists was inspired by real American slave owners from the 19th century. Another was inspired by modern MRAs. I also take advantage of my moods for writing. If I am grieving or sick, I tend to write better drama. If I'm feeling mushy and lovey, I write the couple scenes. They are no reflection of my life though or even my opinions.

Tantz_Aerine at 4:12PM, June 30, 2016

Yes and yes. I do it consciously more than unconsciously but I've caught myself imbuing my comic pages with experiences or thoughts or feelings from whatever has been troubling me or whatever I've been recently problem solving. When I write my characters I always keep in mind that to some level (if I am not careful) they will become my mouthpieces. So it was an exercise to not do that. The fact that I'm in the field of psychology has helped a ton both in characterisations of persons I wouldn't actually be able to properly portray otherwise, and in keeping my will and views out of their minds when they've no business harbouring thoughts of mine. :) They still are highly linked to my personal experience, however, because barring a few exceptions, they're all based on people and situations I've experienced. (make of that what you like :P)

Mika_yi at 9:26AM, June 30, 2016

I love your article here, it's very interesting. I have heard that often people put a piece of themselves in their comics. I know when I first started drawing; (the comics not up here) but I used a lot of life references. how people saw others, how they deal with them ect. I do kind of still do that now, and I'm sure a part of me is in those comics in one form or another. I still use a lot of how things are viewed, personality wise, or reasons why they act the way they do. Although it's not clear unless you read into it, a lot of it has some form or another dealing with some form of nature. Although all of it is fantasy based, and one does go back and forth a bit with 'slice of life' and fantasy. I have a habit of working in those things, and giving all my characters some flaw to make them seem a bit more real. and I do thing it's partially the whole " 'You don't write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say."F. Scott Fitzgerald ^-^

Bruno Harm at 6:00AM, June 30, 2016

My first attempt at writing was just a gush of personal drama. A fantasy story that was basically my childhood with swords and magic. It was horrible. Even for me. So I've tried to avoid that kind of thing as much as possible. But anything I write is going to share some part of me regardless. The last "novel" I started before switching to comics was a Neo Noir, and the themes were still centered around real life relationships that I've had or witnessed first hand, and wanted to share. But it was dark, and writing it bummed me out. So when I started tinkering with comics, it was for pure escapism. Now that being said, I know I'm in it somewhere, peeking out in unexpected ways. Now, Bruno's grandson IS my real life son, Jack. Even some of the jokes are his jokes that I am stealing. His first appearance is in the third adventure, so he hasn't made his Drunk Duck Debut yet.

KimLuster at 4:44AM, June 30, 2016

Another great article by Banes! And I agree with Paul - the very nature of the genre means at least some of 'us' is gonna come thru! As for my comic, if I'm working out any issues, I certainly don't really know about it (which is good, I suppose, considering the dark themes...)! I guess, if there's anything that 'might' reflect me, it's that I spend a good deal of time thinking about the nature of reality (an endeavor which feels largely fruitless but I can't seem to stop...)! If the Godstrain reflects any of my conclusions *shiver*...

PaulEberhardt at 2:13AM, June 30, 2016

In my case these guest appearances mainly boil down to my characters kicking my lazy arse, effectively telling me to stop fooling around and get some proper work done, but there you go... What does that tell readers about me? - Well, no idea. Somehow I always hesitate to ask. ;)

PaulEberhardt at 2:11AM, June 30, 2016

I guess it's practically impossible to keep yourself completely out of anything you write or draw. Some might even say that's the very thing that gives life to it all. Maybe, maybe not, but at any rate I decided to take the bull by the horn and sometimes have a fictionalised version of me intrude into my comic. This kind of thing has long been a tradition in classic European comics; in those pre-internet days it used to be a neat way of giving readers a glimpse of who's behind all the craziness (in fact they expected it. Asterix is a prime example for the authors and their friends making frequent appearances in period costumes as an Easter egg). If you think characters unconsciously represent a part of you, it certainly does feel like a slight taint of schizophrenia, but maybe that's exactly why it can be great fun.

ozoneocean at 12:23AM, June 30, 2016

Pinky TA is more superficial and wanky than this. On one hand it's just a sexy action comic, on another I use it to express my views on war and politics... lately it's about getting things done despite the odds. I don't know how much of me there is in the make up of Pinky... I suppose a lot? I don't know.

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