Seeing the movies “Crumb” and “American Splendor” this month gave me a sorely-needed reminder of some of the merits–and advantages–of autobiographical comics. Which isn't to say that autobiographies, self-insertion, or observational works are inherently flawed, but an endless stream of comics about “me and my friends and our ordinary lives” can leave a reader bored and jaded. Just as too much fantasy without an underlying substance will do the same.
I'm a big fan of being challenged as a reader, but I don't want that challenge to be to see how much I can endure before I give up. Within any genre you'll see lots of sameness between titles, but even still I don't feel as though I ought to have to seek out the exemplary titles in order to continue to get enjoyment out of a genre.
I adore Masaki Kajishima's sci-fi adventure “Photon”, but his latest entry, “Isekai no Seikishi Monogatari”, has left me unenthusiastic. The more his stories interweave, it seems, the more dry and uninteresting they become. It's a lesson I need to take to heart and a challenge I'll need to overcome before I can finish my novels: it's a bad sign if the material is only engaging to me the author and a few hardcore devotees. I'm not looking to make something so simple and universal that it's instantly accessible to everyone, but at the same time I've seen plenty of great stories that rose to popularity without too much pandering to samey sensibilities.
Where Misfire Reactional is concerned, I find myself either talking a lot or being completely silent. Part of that has come from the way I update. I'll usually put up 10 pages at once, which means that at that moment in time I don't have a lot to say about each one. And while the story itself has usually come from months of thinking and plugging away at the work, there are many times I notice that the particular ideas I'm interested in conveying are no longer contained within the bounds of a single page.
The last thing I want to do is tell people how to read this. I feel that analysis is something best left for the time after the completed work exists. But as American comics go, it's quite long for a single continuous work.
I admire artists and writers who can tell a whole story in a page or handful of pages. I ought to try it myself one of these days, and I've certainly toyed with the idea of starting a short-format comic to run alongside Misfire. For the time being I still don't know. This last month has mostly been spent writing, working, and thinking about my financial situation and the future.
But for the present, here's statistics!
Time elapsed since comic debut (1/1/2009): 460 days.
Pages posted: 184.
Average days per page: 2.50.
Time elapsed since start of work (10/26/2008): 527 days.
Pages planned: 464 (63.4%) (1.14 days per page)
Pages sketched: 255 (34.8%) (2.07)
Pages drawn: 255 (34.8%) (2.07)
Pages complete: 198 (27.0%) (2.66)
Pages posted: 184 (25.1%)
81 units complete, but most of those are in the writing sector. Not to put down writing, but as far as this comic goes that's always the area that gets done the fastest, and ends up with the most revision as things progress anyway. Chapter 7 is done in its entirety. Chapters 8 and 9 are still drawn, but not completed. And now the writing is done up through chapter 12. This puts the comic at 40% complete, meaning the total timeline is still about 44 months, of which 27 remain.
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