Neil Gaiman says:

Neil Gaiman says:
pic by Allan Amato

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Screw the "24" Hour Comic

Hello! I have been on deadline for my that is why it has been quiet around here, and on my sister site Kunstpike (which would all be filled with crazy drawings from "Wayside" instead of Sue sketches, cause that's all I've been doing lately.)

Ok, about today's title. If you don't know ANYTHING about 24-Hour Comics, please go and read about them and the initial "Dare" on Scott McCloud's site. Then go over to my DragonHead Studio site and read my two online 24 Hour comics (The Wyrm's Treasure and SnowBlonde.) Then, go get some supplies and do one yourself! Anyway.. on to the rest of my post..

When I had initially read the variants on Scott McCloud's 24-Hour Comics project, I had always been skeptical of one of them: the "Eastman" variation (named after Kevin Eastman, co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!) Neil Gaiman also has a variation named after him, which is; if you get to 24 hours and you're not finished, drop the pencil, c'est tout, that is it. These are both called "Noble Failures", noble, because well, geez, it's an amazing expenditure of time, creativity, mental pain and effort! Failure because.. well, it ain't 24 pages in 24 hours.
But back to Kevin...from McCloud's 24-Hour Comics Index:
"Kevin Eastman - No Guts, No Glory
That's the title of the printed version (The original was "F**k the Dead" but Kevin decided an alternate title might be more marketable for some reason.)
[...] The Eastman Variation: If you get to 24 hours and you're not done, KEEP GOING UNTIL YOU ARE!

24 pages, completed in 50 hours."

50 HOURS man! That's an accomplishment--it's.. well, can you imagine being up for 50 hours? I had been skeptical because the longest I've stayed awake was during my 3 stints of 24-hour comic-making (the last was the worst though, as I had to drive a friend home afterward and attend a family dinner the same day--urk!)

People stay up crazy-late all the time. Hell, many women who endure labour sometimes work on their first one for 36 hours.. Talk about the pain of creation! And afterwards, when you have your baby (or twins :-) you get those long, sleepless nights, taking care of them and forgetting what a solid night's sleep felt like.

Where am I going with this?
Well, as usual, I was behind on my storyboard. I had resolved to get started early, and I did! But really, after last week, I didn't have enough done to be able to finish the board in a reasonable amount of time. The idea of submitting my work late was not an option, especially when my friend Nick was counting on me!

In High School, University, College and working for various studios, I've always amazed myself by somehow even though all hope seemed lost, of being able to come through in the crunch. I don't know why sometimes it takes UNTIL THE CRUNCH CRUNCHES to get down to it, but there is probably a chemical explanation for it somewhere..

The mystique of the 24-Hour Comic pales when you've been awake and drawing for 41 hours... and, even then, I probably could've kept going (Clay calls this the "Third Wind", not sure, probably my cracked teeth were helping keep me awake too!)

I never intend to get behind and then have to do all-nighters, I don't believe anyone does (unless they're masochists!) The weird thing was getting on the other side of one, hearing morning bird-song (4 am), seeing the powder violet-blue of pre-dawn pale behind dark green pine needles (5 am), and realize; the night is over, and you still have work to do. Lots of work to do.

But I finished it, and gave it in with a deep-felt sigh of relief (one of those sighs that comes from the depth of your feet out the top of your head.) Perhaps the drive to finish something that is deadlined, the imperative and will to see it through made time irrelevant. When you're doing a 24-hour comic there are always breaks for food, jelly-bean and beer runs, pizza, etc. It's fun; a circus-- a performance to see IF you can do it; stay alive and conscious and keep drawing. It is also a more communal affair. Apart from my first solo one ("Good medicine/ Bad medicine"), I've drawn with other comic artists and the company and joviality really help.

This was more like lying on an executioner's block and drawing to save my life. I suppose it was; drawing to save my creative and professional life. Stopping wasn't in the equation. Driving around, doing anything not related to drawing and basic body functioning was not allowed. I had to finish.

Can I learn from experiences like this? I guess I would probably learn more if I tried to pull a miracle out and failed instead of succeeded. But, in a way having to do this is failure; you can't do it and have a life, not a stress-free (or stress-reduced) one anyway. All I can say is for the next board, which I get in 2 weeks apparently.. I will plan better, start earlier and avoid the zombie-elixir of the 41-hour comic!


PS--for the sake of our more timid viewers, the event of my cracked tooth, abscess and all of that fun stuff has been omitted. I may post it later when I have some happy news to report, and leave out the pictures...

My Uncle has this on his desk. It seems appropriate to post and inspire other Procrastinators ;-)


Anonymous said...

With all this work you're doing, will I ever see you again?
I'm sad. :-(

Eifriger said...

Ya never know BDD! Hopefully I will see you when you're in town sometime? Maybe a coffee type thingie? I may be out of town on your show the 23rd... we'll see :-(