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Jake Tvister @JTvister



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The Secret Ingredient - BM Commentary 3 (of 4)

Posted by JTvister - September 24th, 2021

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

Click here for the Second post



What does it take to make a Bonemeal strip?

Is it the sick, twisted humor? The skeletons design? Immortality's potential of limitless creative play? The environment and setting?

The answer - like to all complex matters in this universe - is a bit of all of it, and then some.



You think there is more?

I don't know. It would be exclusive content you'd have to pay to access, dear reader.


Still here?



Bonemeal operates on four guiding principles:

1. What is possible as a dead person?

2. Is the subvertion/punchline well?

3. Can it be done in less than 5 panels?

4. Does it make me laugh?

Take it from the horse's mouth, these are hard to please!

The resort at times is to (sadly) do cheap tricks and easy solutions, and on hard days there's material that is so by the numbers you hear a rustic creak of a jaw open to squeal a "haa".


There are the greats.

Where material just hits like a lightning flash without second guessing it by the way how it's rushed to the draft by a burning ballpen and the count of giggles that is left strewn behind the trail to the desk from the bathroom.

Over the course of the development cycle, those bad and good days on the notepad had at a time been outweighed for the worse.

By then, a personality had taken shape to the creation, but it asked for more direct and subtle.

It had taken about a year to the date to allow and finally try out a new format for the content in doing single-panel, as the fear of running out of sequential orchestrated strips crept, but granted in return sudden impact, room to think for the reader, and gags that would count as bloat if stretched shy two panels.

No, don't worry.

I keep a steady diet of creating single-panel and sequence-panel strips to tickle the funnybones, recommended by a local part-time physician/part-time mortician.


As for what quality level of the executions that the production has resulted in, some strips are heavily streamlined, others noticable in it's searching of the identity in its formative stages, and some plain borderline unreadable to comprehend because of the specificity to the joke, or so baked with referencial humor one would had to scavage a thesarus at an antique shop just to price guide that words current worth or relevance.

This caused for a few overdo elimination sessions, to secure the best preforming ones to shine first than having to mix and match abit of stinkers, sinkers and knee-slappers, giving the material left another go by reworking it...

..Or, as rarely as it happens, scrap all together.


Two of these was deemed risqué at an early stage, during the comic debut out through its first 50-100 strip publications.

One about a small skeleton at a date mixer that someone mistakes for a dwarf until she said she had died when she was six.

Another was a reaper asking a fellow reaper why their cloaks were black, for the other to imagine a reaper in a Klan hood.

Not that I shy away from doing them. They were made quite early before any form or rule had taken root, but after around 200 of these done there's bound to be some misses, even if they'd certify as hitters.


The secret ingredient aren't the aforementioned guidelines.

It's what those combined (and a sleu of other unspoken things) that can tell me as a creator the success from failure, and the secret is be willing to be picky about what can be contributing to that success forward.

When the spark is gone, doing it without considering what made it great, and inconsistency emerges, that's when it's time to call it quits, as the first thing to go is discriminating the material to see if it holds up and if it should be published or not.

The two unused strips are still up on the table. They may be published it elsewhere, or stored until its reasonable to use it. With timing and growth to cook. Perhaps in a heavy black humor edition.

As with all dishes, some are best eaten at the right moment, and there's plenty a Bonemeal to go around before the chef decides to experiment away from the newly written menu.


What other wise words could waltz out of this jawless skull?

Find out more on this in the final Bonemeal commentary!

Next, on Sick Sad World!


"Your scientists were so preoccupied with

whether or not they could, they never stopped

stopped to think maybe if they should."

Dr. turned Dino Poop Ian Malcolm, Jurrasic Park.




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