I wrote 98 issues of a comic because I thought it would be cool and lots of people would be impressed and MAYBE I’d become an Internet Celebrity. Nobody was impressed but it was interesting anyway. The project naturally came to an end and it’s taken me this long to blog about What I Learned and so on.
In May 2018 I started posting a comic every day about that day. I posted 98 issues using photos I’d taken during the day and learned a lot about comics. I stopped twice: once because they were taking up quite a lot of time and once because I realised that they were, in essence, all about me and I wasn’t really happy with that.
Here is what I learned:
- Fancy software isn’t as good as PowerPoint for speed (would be very different if I was drawing)
- You have to know what your story is before you start making.
- If you are writing about your own day you become really aware of the story of your day. “I started doing a thing but there was a problem so I stopped” is a terrible story. It’s hard to be a hero unless you actually slay the dragon. This was a wonderful way of thinking and I’d love to find a less time-heavy way of working to it.
- I was writing in the style of a superhero comic, and it’s hard to do that unless you know your daily superpower. When I worked out the superpower for comic!me, it got easier to write comics (and live life)
- Comic books are a short medium – I had space to set up a conflict, fail to solve it, try a different way, and then resolve the conflict. Or I had space to setup a couple of smaller plots, show progress and then resolve them all. There isn’t much room for nuance. This was also quite good for motivation – if me execuses are complex then they are probably rubbish as well.
- If you are writing a comic about your own day, then it’s really hard to do cliffhangers or multiple issues without a lot of effort.
- Lots of tiny things about how and why comic makers practice their craft – everything from dialog to panel layout. I read a lot of comics during this time as well and there’s nothing like making your own to make you a) really look at the structure of what you are reading and b) be impressed by it.
- This doesn’t actually improve your photography. I thought it would encourage me to get my DSLR out more and take lots of cool photos, but the time and story pressures meant that I was using my phone for everything.
What I should do is more like this:
- Recognise that if I want to have a life worth documenting like this then I should have an extraordinary life. And also recognise that ‘to document it’ is a pretty poor reason.
- Work out who in particular I was trying to impress and go and talk to them directly (The ‘lots of people’ above is clearly a smokescreen, I firmly belive that almost all social media posts are for the benefit of Exactly One Other Person)
- Switch mediums earlier – I knew the ‘dragon slaying’ was motivational, and I knew the comics took too long to make than was justified – I could probably have found a better way.
If you want to see the comics I made, they are on my instagram feed and scroll down to the middle of 2018.