So we come to the end of Dude’s adventures, at least so far. Back in 2005, after taking the comics course I mentioned over here, I turned back to my old comics — specifically because my professor (Phoebe) asked to read them. And I was mortified! Looking back at them, they seemed so juvenile, idiotic, poorly drawn and written (though Photoshop has helped me eliminate a LOT of what bothered me about them) — and here I was, trying to make more serious stories.
Or at least that was my thought process back then.
I returned to Dude’s world, quite literally, because I felt like, after all that storytelling and all that investment in the characters, they deserved an end. At the time, though, my central conflict as a comics-maker was the way that so many stories seemed to fall flat — as a friend of mine used to point out, comics were either about over-objectified superheroes, jerky people being jerky and wondering through story about it, and/or meditations on drug use and sex in the least mature and informed way possible. The sad thing was that the latter category was so popular in our program and so often supported by other students and instructors.
Or so it seemed to myself and my friends — I’m not so sure about it anymore (but that’s another topic entirely)…
Anyway, here it is, the final issue:
As the final issue, DW #4 appeared in a collection of other comics and short stories that I called Narrative — I distributed this in a few local bookstores in Ann Arbor and Bloomington but didn’t push it nearly enough — mostly because I was starting graduate school in the Fall of 2005. I regret not making a full cover, but I was really, really busy that summer…
You probably notice a big tonal and visual shift — at least I do! The composition works better for me, and the text is actually important! Plus, i discovered the usefulness of a good wash…
Sidenote: Alex was a character in DW #3 — so you probably have no idea who is unless you read that cover to cover!!
SPOILER! Oh well — twas bound to happen that you’d get spoiled what with these previews.
Originally, Dude was supposed to get brainwashed into fighting Star alongside the villain who appears in DW #3 — but I decided the story was already too overblown and complicated. He was intended to join Muse and thus start off a whole new series — Suzy was going to die in the battle, having been completely wiped out of existence, and his mom was, after a few issues of Muse, going to commit suicide, leading to an arc where Jason would discover where his powers came from.
But I realized that wasn’t his story, or the one that I wanted to tell anymore. I wanted to tell a story about taking the unexpected path — about following a desire for peace, for the life you already have instead of some melodramatic ridiculousness that might seem appealing in the short term. Because that (or what I understood the superheroic-y storyline of life to be), in the long term, as evidenced by Star, did not seem to lead anywhere good.
So that’s why I changed the story. That’s why it had to end. And that’s why I kept telling stories — to show characters dealing with the fantastic in very normal, human, everyday ways.
Or so I told, and keep telling, myself…