Back in 2005, as the deadline came for my first 6-page comic in my first official comics class, I was honestly unsure what story to tell. I wanted to do something with superheroes, or werewolves, or galaxies exploding. But I knew I was at a HUGE disadvantage — having sworn off of comics for so long and having an imminent deadline looming over me.
So, I decided to create a story about something that was weighing on me at the time — my feline friend of 10 years, Thomas Aquinas (yeah, that name was mostly my philosopher sister’s doing) had recently passed away (by being run over). I felt it was my fault, as I had meant to take him on as a house pet, but had taken much-less-of-an-outdoor-cat Alex instead — and I failed to take him to the vet when I noticed he was getting slower and sickly.
What resulted was this comic —
As you’ll notice if you look at the far right side of that first page, there is a kinda big problem in that it’s REALLY important that readers notice this photograph of a cat floating through the air, out of the road, and into the swamp. So, when it was published in Empty Pockets Vol. 2 a year later, this page was fairly heavily editing — but here is the original, for your consideration.
I was also trying to incorporate ink washes into my work without having to do too much of it — but realized after I made this story that I really just wanted to incorporate it throughout. Alas! But the result is some interesting compositions with a few central moments pushed to the front of the story’s overall flow…
To be clear, none of these characters bears any real relation to myself, my sister, or my father. Though the cat is a portrait of my friend Tom-Tom (that was his nickname).
Looking back, in attempting to be serious, I may have taken on a story that people in general could find hard to take seriously — people are cool with taking grief seriously, but grief about a pet? Maybe not so much. I also had issues with pacing, such that I had to change page structure fairly often and do quite a bit of editing after the fact (but before printing it for my classmates).
All of these issues came to bear on my making of the next comic that you’ll see — in a few days — called “Tabula Selenographica” which roughly translates as A Map of the Moon. The one thing that I learned from all of these stories (The Unnamed, Dude’s World, comics for class)?
In general, my better stories are the ones from a woman’s perspective.
Or so my readers tell me — speak up and tell me what YOU think in the comments section, eh?