The end of a year!
Which for many is an exciting time filled with drink, hope and more likely, a little more drink.
For me, it’s turned out to be, purely by accident, a nice little landmark. Next strip fully introduces the central protagonist of Foxhell, and that will be on 1st January 2012.
It’s a personal landmark rather than one I think that will carry any significance for anyone else, but I like the timing. Is this protagonist something new for 2012? A new type of hero? Well, I think that would be unlikely – every character we build is based on what we know, or what we experienced, so firmly entrenched in the past, not the future – but I hope Fox proves to be fun, dynamic and not too predictable.
Time will tell, as said by the real McCoy, it always does…
Already onto part four, how time flies.
So where the hell did this idea of hell come from?
Quite frankly, not sure. Never been a massive one for mythology or theology, but I guess I’ve always found how we respond to both subjects fascinating; how we draw comfort blankets around our own uncertainty in regards to our existence, how we justify our actions and how we look for a future beyond our future – a life beyond life.
Putting the question of god(s) aside, and the prospect of an afterlife, we seem to dream of heaven being like mortal beings on fluffy clouds, playing harps – but with mortal minds… now strikes me dear reader, wouldn’t that get a bit dull? I guess in some respects Foxhell plays with this notion of eternity and how an eternity within the mortal construct we understand could exist. After all, science fiction, historical drama, all play with contemporary ideology because to invest in drama we must empathise and understand the construct. To this effect, all drama is based on contemporary thinking. If audiences were to invest in something truly futuristic, or honestly historical, could well be many watching such stories would find it very hard to connect.
Foxhell doesn’t look to try and depict the eternity we could never understand, as we’d never be able to understand it – it’s looking at a world we do understand and how the (Fox)hell we’d cope as mortals in an eternal expanse – or could we?
One day we’ll know. And on that day, to paraphrase the great Douglas Adams, “drink up, your world is about to end…”
Onward my friends… another blomble or ramblog (blog/ramble or ramble/Blog – I’m steering towards blomble, thanks to the terminology feedback by Mr Morrison).
It’s a slow daily affair, but I’ve always liked news-strips. Something “coffee-breaky” about them. A quick read on a daily basis. Why you could even put them in the daily newspaper, at the back!
I remember as a kid my family used to get a tabloid, and there wasn’t really any strips worth noting in it. I recall only one episodic strip which episodically had the main character strip, at her top half, but aside from there being some pre-pubescent curiousity in such, there was some enjoyment watching an event unfold day by day. At the time, even soaps were only twice a week, so it was pretty much as episodic as you could get in fiction – certainly for a kid. You shared someone’s life, popping in each day, often at the same time. In some ways, the simple daily format of three-four-five panels can be extremely potent and powerful.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, I’ve done a couple of news-strip based episodic stories before and I failed a little on delivery – with sometimes large spaces between the episodes as life kicked in. There will be gaps between Foxhell stories, but not episodes. Strips will be complete before they start releasing. So stick with it day by day, you’ll get the whole story as promised. Promise.
There maybe a minor gap between this tale and the next, not that I want one, but 2012 should be busy and I’ll really watching has this unfolds as to judging which of three scripts I embrace as number two. Four in fact, I had quite a simple idea last night I’d like to use, which might answer some natural questions that might begin mulling in your mind as you enjoy coffee-breaky.
Foxhell rolling on, doing as was planned, though I’ve never felt in such uncharted waters. Everything I tend to do artistically, be professionally or as a hobby, is based on remits or project briefs. To do something entirely off one’s own back, is a little like placing a blade on the floor and jumping off the diving board wondering whether you’ll fall on it. A tad melodramatic perhaps, but while there’s a liberating sensation in pushing forward with only one’s convictions to carry you, there is also a certain sense of masochism knowing you’ve not really attached any support to the venture.
I would like to pretend that as some artistic experiment I intentionally withheld the physical print of this project from other people, but simply put, Foxhell is one of those projects you manage late at night or waiting to hear back from clients – not really something you then find time to share with others, it’s that sandwiched in to your schedule. Which creates the diving board launching, sword defying leap I suggest – which is exciting and a little nerve racking – but that’s good I think. Be it the result of circumstance, this uncharted waters in creativity has made this more of a rush.
In the end, it is an approach I would recommend. Too often projects fall by the wayside because you get caught in ever-increasing loops of insecurity, or you become too dependant on what other people think, forcing you to re-write, sometimes to break through that it’s just good to rush on through. As I write this blog, as raw as the topic I speak of, I’m becoming very aware this is part of the process – that subconsciously I knew if I let myself pause, be it for others or my own insecurity, I’d never get this done. I recall being 19 and starting my first band. One band member had never touched an instrument before, and I trained him to perform in 6 weeks, booking the gig on the day we agreed to try it. It was fool-hardy, the result was far from perfect, but it commited the project and the band ran in various forms for a couple of years.
Sometimes you just have to force yourself to leap, otherwise you’ll dangle at the precipice, never quite finding the conviction to jump. And if you don’t jump.. what was the point of placing the sword below? There’s something profound and intelligible in this post. Somewhere. I dare you to find it for me.
A day late I’m afraid, blame it on festivities, blame it on insecurities, and blame it on some minor rewrites – or blame it on one of my dear co-creators, Paul L Mathews who got me nervous about the dialogue! Paul and myself have worked on several projects in the past, dear lord, ten years – in that time one of our longest collabs was on a short running news strip called Stripped Bare. In some respects, Foxhell is an extension of that format – a format I had used when I was at university and doing the Batman based Dark Knight Adventures fan-comic for World’s Finest website. Most recently we did a comic strip called Desire that was published in the award winning magazine Murky Depths earlier this year. I value his advice, and embraced it.
One of the concerns I had with Foxhell was having the central narrative being first person and given the characters lack of social graces, somewhat informal. I also wanted it so the origins of this character were ambiguous – American? English? But at the same time, all too wary that it was just too jumbled to premiere a world as much as a comic. Paul’s nudge was a push in the right direction when he suggested the English was odd, so I’ve made it a little less informal – though still very clear the speaker is far from well spoken… as I apparently might be…
In any respect, Wine & Die has had its first episode released today that will hopefully give an indication as to what sort of world Foxhell is.
Next part of Wine and Die tomorrow!
A little about myself – but I hope nothing that overtly duplicates what’s written in the “about” section.
My name is James McLean. I’m a fulltime illustrator working in a full spectrum of unhealthy arty vocational activity from game design to editorial cartoons. Somewhere in the middle of that is “comic art”. It’s not something I dabble in much (comics is a tough medium – and not that well paid given the talent required to narrate, depict and stylise a concept in such high quality). However I do have creative leanings and this here is an outlet for such creative attributes and seeing where it will lead. If nothing else, for me personally, it’s a fascinating evolution of story and creativity. I’m happy to share that process and will do so rather frankly on this blogreel.
Foxhell is one part of a bigger story that floats around my head and archive. Could be almost a prelude to a book I’ve tinkered with for the past few years. A tale in its own right, like all tales, belongs to a greater world – and that world I may – or may not – expand on at a later date.
Anyhow, the first 19 part tale will shortly go up on this site – I’m just doing a couple of script tweaks, though I hope the first strip that will remain on the main page will give you a rough idea as to what to expect!
Glad to meet you!