Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Truths Revealed and Surprising Insights!

First off, the not so big surprise is that The Inquiring Minds' Big Summer Adventure... which seems to be running through this Fall and Winter as well... was secretly in actuality The Ghost Pirate Skeletons of Three Craters Lake!

Also, not so big a secret... the entire story was inspired by the Pirates of the Caribbean! No, not the movies, but the ride, and the pioneering spirit of Walt and his amazing Imagineers that created a truly virtual experience. And what better way to pay tribute than having my characters go through the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of creating their own pirate ride, from scratch?

Those of you who have studied the history of the ride will see quite a few parallels to the creation of Disney's ride, as well as some hopefuly new innovations that I've lovingly brought to the concept.

And now for the surprising insight that has revealed some hidden truths, and some help to those of you Cartoonists who want to create new comic strips. The above strip was a bugger! For some reason, beyond some personal issues I've been dealing with, I just couldn't get this strip together! I rewrote it several times, and redrew it several times, and kept second guessing myself, wondering why I was having such a hard time with what should be a fairly straight-forward cartoon. Okay, sure, the punchline had to be just right... you had to see that Albert's suffering a blow to the ego here, or it just doesn't work. Also, I had Iris origonally drawing with Bobby, and her drawing being equally as good as Bobby's.

First, this didn't work because it removed emphasis from Bobby's drawing, and second, it created a bigger wedge between Bobby and Albert than I wanted to create. Sure, this sense of isolation is what kept Albert from admitting Iris to The Inquiring Minds all along, right? This strip would just enforce that issue, but also pull the story in a different direction than I wanted to go. The kids are facing the Eleventh Hour, and teamwork is needed right now.

Then it occurred to me: Maybe it wasn't Albert's fault entirely that Iris wasn't in The Inquiring Minds, and maybe the answer lie in my difficulties creating this week's overdue cartoon?

Thnk about it. Calvin and Hobbes, Charlie Brown and Linus, Charlie Brown and Lucy, Pogo and Albert, Bobby and Albert.... Hold on. The best comic strips come from great dialogue and character interaction, which usually occurs between two characters. Given the space limitations in a comic strip, that is'nt so surprising.
Picture the famous Lucy pulls the football away from Charie Brown moments... would that work as well if other people were involved? First off, it would be a crowded scene, and second, emphasis would be taken away from the main event. Think of any great conversation between Calvin & Hobbes. Would that scene work as well with a third person adding their insight? Probably not.

And so, the real reason Iris hasn't been a full fledged member of The Inquiring Minds is all my fault. Subconciously I knew it would make better comedy to write for two characters... two different yet compatible characters who could bounce ideas and ideologies off of each other.

Of course, there are times when a third character works, but in many cases it is one character too many. The Ghost Skeleton Pirates of Three Craters Lake has turned into a comic book adventure, much as my Three Knights in India did, so Iris is welcome to stick around. The strip is changing, but there will be times when it will just have to be Bobby abd Albert. In this particular strip, I needed to bring Iris in, so I had a lot of trouble creating a scene which in my head should have only involved two people.

Which brings us full circle... The Pirates of the Caribbean ride had a terrific woman named Alice Davis creating the memorable costumes for the characters. In her spirit, I wanted Iris to be the one creating costumes for The Ghost Pirates. Alice Davis was the wife of Marc Davis, a Cartoonist and Imagineer who brought us much of the visual humour of the ride. Bobby's vivid illustrations are a tribute to the work of Marc Davis and the other artists and Imagineers responsible for the ride.

Hopefully my passion for the creativity of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride comes through in my own story, unique and challenging, and hopefully an engaging tribute to the Imagineers who have given me so much joy and inspiration.

Cheers, JOHN :0)


Brian Hughes said...

"Subconciously I knew it would make better comedy to write for two characters..."

Makes sense to me. I can't help thinking of Compo, Cleggy and Foggy. A bit of editing in their case would probably have worked wonders. (I'm in for it now...I know I am. Time to depart hurriedly, I reckon.)

John said...

Now you've done it! Don't go messing with Last of the Summer Wine, or I'll have my Aunt Nora after you with her broomstick!

Your point, though, is valid. I admit that good converation can work with three characters, especially in the medium of television.

The comic strip is a static medium, and with three characters in the scene, with a lot of dialog, there may not be enough room to establish 'place'. In television, the characters are moving through a three dimensional space, so establishing background is not as much of a problem.

Also, like in a comic book, a tv show has more time to establish both scene and dialog.

My 'comic book' is a series of connected comic strips, and so I find the need for large establishing shots when three characters are involved.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it has to be made to work. Hence, the lateness of this week's (last week's?) strip.

Let it be said that I shall serve no comic strip before it's time!*

*so long as I work for meself, that is. Once syndicated, I'll have more stringent deadlines, so the occasional stinker may get through. :0)

Cheers, JOHN :0)