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Monday, May 9, 2022

The Soap Strip Folk VII

Episode Two Hundred Ninety Two: The Soap Strip Folk VII.
In which we intimate.


1 comment:

  1. The challenge in creating these fictional 'originals' is to construct something that seems like it might exist as a regular running strip, albeit from a parallel universe. Having to do this week in and week out, were I drawing a strip like Garfield for a living, for example, would be a marathon challenge. Doing this once every few months, on the other hand, seems fairly easy to me, and I'm wondering whether it's because it's less an internal expression and more a fictional construction within the confines of a genre.

    Being satisfied with a Soap Strip Folk strip is hard, now, because of episode #87, the second Soap Strip comic. That one turned out so satisfying, that even if I were to excel it in terms of genre / style fidelity, I doubt I'd get the same serotonin kick out of it.

    This week should feel the same, but it's painful to look at nonetheless.

    I'm really happy with how the first frame turned out. I was able to refrain from over drawing the figures, and I think it's an achievement. Even the fence turned out well. The car in the subsequent frames is the Bullitt Mustang, and that translated well. Although I wish I had the foresight to turn in the left front tire in the second frame - it sticks out noticeably. The 'Vroom' in frame three is weird, but, because it's weird, it works.

    One of things I like about these complete singular comic weeks is the idea that the reader has come upon a stand-alone strip that conveys a cultural language that is unfamiliar. The transition between story lines is strange enough: who are these two in this All-American suburban tale? It's a father picking up his boy after baseball practice, no? But why doesn't he know that the kid is a lefty? So, probably not a father. Step-father? Uncle? Or is he a creep? The kid is not alarmed: he wants the treat following practice. (I was told by my father that, as a lefty, I'd be first baseman, but, as with everything in my life, my utter lack of motivation meant that I'd be sitting in the outfield for a few weeks only eventually drop sports for cigarettes, early computer games, and sci-fi on VHS.)

    And then we switch tracks to the two men getting into the car. I had William Overgard's "Mike Nomad and Steve Roper'' art in mind here, though, obviously, his work is well beyond anything I'll be able to imitate. The punchline in the fourth frame is, for me, great. Who are these guys stopping for lunch in a deli and performing some investigation in a sewage plant? It's intriguingly preposterous, but not so surreal as to be implausible. Still, as a whole, I find it funny.

    So, the emotional accent on the third frame - that car all in shadow, and the prominence of the sound effect - is weirdly out of place. Even with such an strange comment as 'wastewater treatment', frames two and four come across as banal. This week is clearly an expository week - there's no action happening. As a result, frame three stands out as too dramatic.

    All of which was unintentional (I'm only trying to get this done quickly, and there isn't that much thought in to laying it out). So, it's a happy coincidence that it pans out in the way that it does. Even the background buildings work for me.

    Yet the negatives persist: The halftone pattern - laid on quickly at the eleventh hour - is too large. It's a distracting problem. The biggest heartache for me this week: in frame four I inked in the tarmac on the road, and then decided to paintbucket it lighter, and then cover with halftone. (Halftone is laid at less than 100% opacity, so the background shows through.) The paintbucket messed up the underside of the car, and I was in too much of a hurry to resolve this. Also, the erasure of the halftone around the car is sloppy. The net result is that the car seems to be ghostly, and not at all what I was shooting for. Makes me feel amateur. Which I am, I guess.

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