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The home stretch

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Much has been happening since the last entry and although I’m neck-deep in marking, I thought I should get some of it down. After the Drawing International Brisbane and TEXTure exhibitions, after the end of teaching, and after all the little bumps and scrapes that life throws your way, I have some idea of a direction to take me to submission of my Doctoral work. I met with my supervisor, Associate Professor Andi Spark during the last week and she told me I need to get this stuff together, out the door. I had planned to take another year to maximum submission time and get my GN finished. She said no, wrap it up, I’ve almost done enough, now I just need to make sure I deliver a cohesive package with an exegesis that explains everything and ties all my work thus far together. So to account for what I have and its status.

Diary Comics Compendium 2014. 155 pages. Laid out, text finished, waiting on cover design and print

Diary Comics Compendium 2015. To be laid out

Ashcan Comics issue 10– Curated, Laid out, waiting on final submissions, design and print.
Mini comics- All laid out and ready for print, as follows:

Briefly Biographic (2013, 2 pages)

Night Drive (2013, 24 pages)

Preparing for ZICS (2013, 6 pages)

1994 Melbourne (2013, 9 pages)

1994 Queensland (2014, 15 pages)

Chasing Shadows (2014, 24 pages)

The First Time (2015, 6 pages)

Final Graphic Novel (working title Life in the Gutter: Confessions of an Unintentional Lothario) – in process.

Here’s where it gets curly. This was originally intended to be a complete piece, a 100-150 page graphic novel. However, as you can see here, the planning and writing of this has taken a great deal of time and effort. I’ve been redrafting the script and laying out slowly into Manga Studio, very roughly, like so:


At the moment though, to tell the full story will go over 500 pages, which is just not feasible in the amount of time I have left. However, after reading The Diary of a Teenage Girl by Phoebe Gloeckner which was amaaaazing and I could not put it down, I have come to a conclusion. The way that Gloeckner put this story together, and I’ll write a full blog about this soon, was to incorporate diary entries, drawings from the time, drawings from now, and comics telling part of the story, all weaving a tapestry showing this time of her life from different angles, using different modes of delivery.

The result is unexpectedly immersive and gives an equal or perhaps even greater impact than I would imagine a straight GN detailing the events might, dealing as it does with confessional narrative. For those who haven’t read it, the main catalyst of the story is her teenage self’s affair with her mother’s middle-aged boyfriend.

At the moment, there is no possible way I can possibly put out 500+ pages of completed graphic novel by next March, probably not even by max submission (march 2017). But I could hypothetically lay out all the relevant diary entries, kind of like a rough animatic, in InDesign. And then replace and add to it, bit by bit, with illustrations, drawings from the time, drawn over photos, and comics. Even sections of script could be dropped in, where it elaborates on the diary in a meaningful way. It would mean making choices about what best conveys the mood and information for each particular scene.

Unfortunately a lot of the diary entries are quite pathetic. Like a diary of a teenage girl trapped in a man’s body. I wasn’t quite so intelligent or in such a complicated situation as Phoebe Gloeckner.

An advantage of this method would be that I could still deliver the full story at any time. I’d do some reading and add a chapter to the exegesis about how this takes the multi-modal aspect of comics one step further, perhaps adding to a new-ish or emerging form of literature. I’ll still like to keep working on the graphic novel and dropping in sections as they’re completed. But having the freedom to also create single illustrations, shorter gag style strips, and more flexibility to use different media would be fairly liberating.

I imagine the end result could be a kind of beautiful, and most importantly cohesive, Frankenstein.

Next step though, contacting publishers, getting work pulled together, writing up everything into the exegesis, and hoping like hell I have enough time and fortitude to get everything done to the best of my abilities.


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