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Category: Head First

Righting Wrongs
I had a complaint last week from a Subconscious Comics fan. In keeping with our strict policies concerning fan confidentiality, I will refer to this person simply as “this person” so as to avoid the possibility that some of my more obsessive followers don’t go on a rampage of retribution against this person (mum’s the word, Jeff).

This person’s issue was my recent practice of lopping off sections from my graphic novel Head Start and pasting them into the Subconscious Comics page of the website in a place normally reserved for past episodes of the black and white comic strip. This person was of the opinion that the clips, which typically slashed through characters, word balloons, and meaningful background constructions, were disorienting and often “looked wrong.”

Well, we are nothing if not sensitive here at to any offense our cartoons might have caused. So this week (October 16 in the site’s Subcon archives) I have printed the entirety of page 25. That was the page which was so brutally disfigured on October 13. I hope this person’s equilibrium and need for coherence have been served.

Besides all that, though, page 25 does mark a pivotal point in the unfolding narrative of Head First. For that reason alone it deserves to be shown in full. It is here that the journey begins down toward the lower crypts of the Subconscious, and that is where we will eventually find out exactly how the cookie of the plot will crumble.

I can’t promise that I will keep revealing whole pages from the book. That might spoil the fun of reading it when it’s finally published. But I don’t want anything to “look wrong,” either. To “this person” or anyone else. From here on, I guess I’ll just have to be more careful with the chain saw.
Where is There?
Talking graphic novel again. I’ve posted a section of page 25 today (October 13, 2021 if you’re looking in the archives). It poses one of the many conundrums that exist in the Subconscious: where is there, exactly?

In this scene, Nemo is talking about taking the long, perilous journey to the Dark Side, but the dark Side isn’t over there, as the name would suggest, but down there. Is that a big deal? Who really cares about the geography of a place that is completely imaginary? What difference does it make if up, down, and sideways are interchangeable? Well, for the guy who drew Subconscious Comics for twenty years, it was (and still is) a big deal.

I always felt that the Subconscious had to make some kind of sense even if it constituted a separate universe that operated under different rules than ours does. There is, after all, some kind of connection between the real world and the dream world, even if it’s not completely obvious. “Where” on this side of the veil might be in a completely different place on the other side. “There” could easily be “here,” and even “nowhere” would have a place of its own.

I’m losing you, aren’t I? Let’s just say that during those twenty years I always made an effort to make sense of the non-sensical because I knew there was a connection there someplace. I will admit that I haven’t had much luck in this quest. I do know, however, that in the Subconscious the Dark Side is down, just as the Bright Side is up and the Inside is out.

It may be that the source of these uncertainties is language. Words and pictures can’t really occupy the same place, at least not in a drawing. You’re either looking at one or the other. You can do both at the same time with animation and a sound track, but that is a much different thing. Dreams and reality are the same way. It gets close sometimes, but they never quite co-exist.

Okay, I’ve left the mother ship again, this time without my tether. So before I go, let me sum up: I’m not sure where “where” is. Furthermore, I am hazy about what “what” is or when “why” is, for that matter. Which is about normal in the Subconscious.

(And yes, Head First the graphic novel continues to move forward toward the big day of its Kickstarter launch. I’ll give you plenty of notice, I promise.)
Bookedy Shoop
If you take a look at the Subconscious Comics page on the site this week, you’ll see that I’ve posted another peek at the innards of Head First, my graphic novel. Just another day in the Subconscious.

That picture is a detail from page 73, which is where things take a turn for the bizarre in the story. The truly bizarre, that is. The subconscious (at least my version of it) is pretty strange already, but this tale goes some places the comic strip never did. I can’t wait for people to see it.

I’ve almost finished with the inking and coloring, and now I’m headed into the most mysterious part of the journey. Telling stories with words and pictures is something I know how to do; launching a crowd-funding page on Kickstarter is uncharted territory for me.

But I’m moving forward…one step at a time. My face will be there when we launch, immortalized on video, and so will my characters’. They’re the stars of this production, after all. Plus, I’ve known them for forty years now, and I’m pretty sure I can trust them. For the most part. Usually.

I don’t have a launch date yet, not even a ballpark estimate. But it is definitely closer than it ever has been. I promise that you will be the first to know. Stay tuned.
The Book Again
I posted another clip from Head First on the Subconscious Comics page of this week. Head First is the comic novel I’ve been working on for a while now. What with the pandemic, I have lost track of exactly how long it’s been, but I can now see the finish line.The plot’s been in my head for over twenty years, and finally the writing and drawing and coloring have almost caught up to the vision.

One thing I hadn’t imagined is how color would play out in the book. When I was drawing those thousand-or-so comic strip versions of Subconscious Comics in the 80s and 90s, they were conceived and executed strictly in black and white. After twenty years, I had a pretty good handle on the line and the inking style of Subcon. But only now (roughly 90% done with the inking and coloring of the book) has the full palette of the subconscious revealed itself. I hope you like purple.

I certainly do. It’s a potent hue, but of the six basic primary and secondary stations on the color wheel, it is the darkest and the least in-your-face. That makes it a perfect color for shadows, and there are plenty of those in the subconscious. And since the story will take us deep into the Dark Side, purple and some of its earthier cousins become quite prominent toward the end.

I still have some art — including more color choices — ahead of me. There is the cover, of course, and some special interior pages, and my Kickstarter page (along with the “rewards” my donors will receive besides the book itself). That amounts to a lot still to be done, but the end is in clear sight.

I have mixed feelings about that. The book has been challenging and fun at a time when I needed something like that to work on. It’s been like a pleasant place to vacation in the middle of worldwide bummer. Even though I’m anxious to finish, I will miss having the refuge that the project has provided.

But life goes on, and so does the project. More later.
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