This is a brief behind-the-scenes of the weekly comic Bonemeal.
By the time of posting, it is best to revisit this piece after having read/engaged with the strips when it's out.
Unless you really like blogging..
Well.. I figured if I got a platform to talk on longer than 280 characters,
I might as well drop some comments on the over-a-year project that is accumulating to the weekly upload comic strip I will be rolling out November 1st.
Click here for the First post
Relatability is a fickle thing, and the definition depends from person to person, through circumstance, usage and application.
From a storyteller perspective, it has become difficult to make people satisfied or meet the balance with an never-ending push towards identifiable or relatable characters in media.
As a surface statement, it doesn't describe the meaning fully what people ask of, nor does it summarize aptly the demand, and when it is, one could take it to be of the reader/viewer having a need to project themself onto a character.
This reveals an intention that it is not an inheret interest to the story told, or a distance to observe and witness conflict in a simulated environment, but a need to "live" through something non-existent for the sake of assuring ones identity is validated or affirmed through a fixation.
This brief, simplifed, personal observation shows that entertainment that places identification above stories are at odds with what I wanted to do myself, as storyteller and as a lover of stories, as my consumption habit, expectation, and appeal varies greatly from others.
Not to go unmentioned too that it makes it tougher to create comedy, if the person transposed to a particular character feels attacked on some level by-proxy.
And yet, there's a nagging sensation that this had to be responded to.
That would be difficult, to what was about to be done in particular with a series of strips such as those with bones.
Worse yet, it has an undeniable connotation as well synonymous to another word:
It was during the summer of 2020, during the lockdown, while sitting in the living room that the first strips began surfacing.
By that time, there had been much talk the past five months of death in different forms, central or almost eve-present, and it was unavoidable to hear that five-letter word making dents on a personal or collective level.
People dying, being afraid of dying, conspiracies about systematic culling of the world population, governmental errors that caused stress and tensions for the survival and care of their citizens, untold amounts of mentally ill not being able to afford or receive help that quickly undid the hard work from recovery, no safety nets, increased addictions to cope, feeling alone in a world that created a bipolar view of the subject, as if the thing wasn't enough to deal with before the pandemic.
Now, bombarded with that 24/4, it was easy to feel a sense of pressure that life as currently known was gone and bit the bullet.
But here I was.
A hermit on the couch.
With my internet sabbatical; away from the world virtually and real life.
Laughing at dead people I had made up.
Bonemeal was from the beginning not conceptualized with any one character in mind.
Beginning with a series of small jokes, it was clear from the start the strips were more effective if there was no character that could be considered reoccuring or constant left the imagination open for a variety and infinite potential to reflex and bend things around.
The seed that put it to motion by doing the comic then became two-fold:
Decompress and reflect about "death", and create something compact that is universal.
The anonymity aspect came later, as most of the draft thumbnails was done with names, to further distance given identities that could obstruct more than help.
Death is not a comfortable topic or fact to speak of for many.
That much is taken into consideration in what we as living beings face with before the inevitable demise of ourselves. We do not know what it is like, or know what will happen next.
It's also a great parting with the troubles and traumas, as well as the finite joys and pleasures we take for granted, let us be impacted by deeply, or feel grateful for have happened and partaken with. Alone or with others.
That is why, in an optimistic way as to honor that reality, to uplift that the afterlife being a party (Andrew W.K style) and a celebration to what was can still be, only in a fiction, in doing the ordinary in an extraordinary fashion.
The pragmatic and often quoted cynical truth is that: we're all skeletons on the inside.
And yet there's something relatable in that.
And to explore the humor of it ought to do growth towards a positive relation.
The gift in doing Bonemeal so far is that no matter where you're from or who you are, you can laugh from the creative and the bizarre way of fictional, animated lives in something so antithetical to the six-feet undergrounded reality.
That's a personal interpretation more than a reader's experience, which hopefully is different.
Don't feel bound to what is said here compromise your enjoyment.
I will still laugh at those dead people, even if I have to do it alone.
Check out part 3, coming up!
"End? No, the journey doesn't end here.
Death is just another path...
One we must all take."
J.R.R Tolkien (through Gandalf The White)