You Can Leave Your Hat On

PaulEberhartd on Sept. 18, 2014

Whew! Ladies, Gentleman, and Tigers - I present to you a “page” to illustrate the meaning of infinite canvas.
Naturally, the world conspired against me, as usual. First, everybody suddenly seemed to need the library scanner, so it took an entire day until it was my turn. After putting the page together, I found that I couldn't connect to the internet - the connection is rather shaky at best,
working outside only, and is outrageously overpriced, but at least it had always worked before. This lost me another day, but today it works perfectly well. I really like living here in general, but it's things like these that really make me look forward to moving back to the Continent at the end of the month, where I've got a proper working space, my own scanner, and a broadband connection actually deserving of the name.
Before moving back I'm going to visit London for a week and probably be busy with sightseeing there, so I'm sorry to say it will probably be a while until I can post the next page. Rest assured, though, that this comic is NOT on hold, despite
appearances, but please bear with me for some time again.
I usually have a very clear vision of what a scene is going to look like before I put the pencil to the paper, but I imagine it as moving. What I do is basically watching the film before my inner eye in slow motion to catch the best stills. The advantage of this method is that I get a good grasp of the movements and can capture them in a lifelike way - there have been comments pointing this out in the past, so I guess in all modesty I'm allowed to repeat them. The downside is, as demonstrated here, that I can't always tell how many panels I'll end up with.
The real problem here was however that I wanted to try and leave this page in one piece for the sake of pacing. Interrupting the plot before Gundi
issues her challenge wouldn't make much sense, doing so afterwards would fail to build tension with anyone who knows Gundi a bit. I'm sure it's a fun scene as a whole, but splitting it would ruin it(unless you don't put it past me really to include a striptease in an All Ages comic -
Please raise your hand if so… Wow! That many?! :D ).
For some time I thought I'd have to split it anyway to meet a 2MB file size limit on the Duck. Turned out I didn't need to, which makes me extra-happy; the one thing we're not allowed here is
uploading more than 20MB in one go - fair play, I should think!
And now a few words about the page itself: I wouldn't say I nicked it, but I have to admit that the basic idea of the arm-wrestling match was inspired by Lucky Luke's version of Calamity Jane engaging in one. It has always struck me as just the kind of thing Gundi would do. It fits her character so well, I just had to do it. Still, the scenes are very different in just about every other respect, so I think it'll be all right as a well-deserved nod to a great artist whose work inspired me a great deal. Pity that Morris passed away years ago and can't see it. By the way, I've hidden a little Pratchett reference in there, too - who can spot it?
At any rate it proved a great way to explore my human characters on their own a bit - just got to do this every once and again - but I still took some time to add a Tiger panel. Wouldn't have done to let you wait so long for a tiger-free page, would it? :)
The result of this exploration is dedicated to those of my female readers who had trouble with a character like Thorsten in the past and no witch at their side. Now, just so you don't get me wrong, I'm not above my own little bits of what some people might call roguishness (and I just call character) myself, but there is a point when it stops being funny, and it's definitely not cool to cross that line. As a matter of fact, I've never really understood why people like Thorsten do this in the first place. I can only guess they must be secretly afraid of having sex - not that I'd think of myself as a second Alex Comfort, mind, but in my experience this would be a surefire way of not getting any ever. But then, I've never quite understood either how one can lower oneself to wear flip-flops in public, although it seems to become more and more fashionable every summer. ;)
I was also happy for the opportunity to draw a bit of Bremen called “Das Viertel” (which translates as nothing more spectacular than “the quarter” -
although it's actually several quarters that traditionally consider themselves as one unit). It's just the place for a storyline like this,
and provided a justification for having taken the trouble to copy my entire collection of stock images to my laptop.
The central part of the Viertel is reputed for its disreputation, and of course for its many, many small pubs and bars. Gundi lives on its edge, about a fifteen minutes' walk from its main axis as seen in the third panel (Ostertorsteinweg and Vor dem Steintor, if you must know). Like many
others, Gundi's neighbourhood would have vehemently denied any association with the Viertel twenty or thirty years ago, but nowadays it feels like half of Bremen proudly boasts to be a part of it, as it somewhat increases your property value.
The thing is, that the Viertel's rebel charm has made it stylish to live there. In the Seventies or the Eighties, girls like Sophie and Josephine would have thought twice before going there on their own in the evening, but these days it's just the place to go for a night out - we're witnessing a rapid evolution here from avoid-at-all-costs to must-have-seen. A Viertel inhabitant these days often has some kind of academic or artistic background paired with a taste for adventure - you know, the type of person who loves playing in the mud as long as there's always a nice hot shower to go back to. Consequently, rents have soared, the
blocks in the side streets and on its outskirts have been renovated to mint condition, and while e.g. many pub owners seem to take pains to maintain a certain, acceptable standard of sordidness that is happily added to by the many colourful alternative scenes and signs announcing
that police may conduct searches for weapons and suchlike after 8pm, even if you're not a suspect, the whole place has in fact become a lot safer than it still looks. This is not to say that you couldn't get drugged, robbed and beaten up (not necessarily in that order) if you're asking for it in the appropriate corners, but it's far from being anything like, say, certain parts of Manhattan. The really nasty areas at nighttime are elsewhere, e.g. near the main station.
Now, with this in mind, reread the page, taking a close look at the patrons and the landlord of that bar, and I'm prepared to bet you'll notice a thing
or two. ;)
Thanks for your patience with me, for reading, and for commenting! Have a nice weekend!