People who've been keeping up with Better Days know that the comic is in new territory. It's strayed a bit away from the usual interpersonal handwringing and social occassions, to the depiction of Fisk's involvement in battles during the first Gulf War. Back when I first hatched the idea to have the comic cover the characters' lives as they grew, changed, and learned, I knew the day might come when the comic would resemble less of what it was when it attracted most of its readership. As the characters have become adults, that time is now. I remember getting e-mails from people telling me to never let the characters grow into adulthood, because they enjoyed seeing them go through the troubles and dramas of teenage life. They obviously didn't know my mind was made up. I even recall one relayed criticism of my comics as being poorly constructed, because the characters made different kinds of decisions as children, than they did as teenagers, than they did as adults. I suppose this person is the exact same way they were when they were eight, as they were when they were 14, and are the same exact person, now. Actually, I guess I can believe that in their case.
Anyway, the comic is about living. I've never experienced living as a static, routine experience, and so I'm unsatisfied writing about it that way. I can't write a story where everything returns to normal after the week's escapades, and the characters return to their comically "normal" states of personality and behavior, without learning from their experiences (Oh, THAT'S the Barney we all know and love!). Just as Sheila has changed a lot from when she first appeared as the wild single mother trying to recapture her youth, the main characters are changing, too. I was really tempted to skip most of the combat that's going to be depicted in the next couple of weeks, and instead zoom ahead to the homecoming and subsequent interpersonal trials that my readers are more accustomed to. I realized much of the battle would be key to shaping Fisk, the character, and I feel far more comfortable depicting it in the long run. If you become really annoyed with it, just hold out for a while and things will return to more familiar territory. Better Days isn't going to turn into a war comic, though war will be covered when necessary. Some have speculated that the title of the comic refers to the past, where life was relatively simple and happy. That's never been my experience. When I devised the title of the comic, I always thought it would refer to the future: the result of a lifetime of planning, effort, and just living.
More site news behind the cut:
In other site news, I've been half heartedly toying with animation. I've thought about constructing some simple looped .gifs to include into my products as a way to enhance them by adding occassional motion to the scenes they depict. I've done a few tests with fair results. Sometime in 2007, I want to pick up and learn how to use Flash as an animation tool, but with everything else going on, that might not be until the second half of the year. Also, some of you may be pleased to know that, despite all the other idea possibilities I've listed in previous posts, my brain is contemplating another completely debauched after-Tommy Rachel story. I hate her as a person, but she's really fun to draw and write about. I've recently re-designed her hair and a few of her features to make her more pleasing, as well as easier to draw repeatedly.
The Amy at camp story chugs along very well. I'm quite happy with it and I've started experimenting a little bit with the layouts of the pages about halfway through the story. Those who see it will understand. Amy's almost as fun to draw as Beth, but much more fun to write about. It's probably going to be in the neighborhood of 20 pages or more when I finally finish it. After I finish that, as well as compile the 2006 Compilation CD, I need to revamp some of the New Worlds navigation index. I need to include a more eye-catching link to the actual comic. I also need to create a few more character write-ups, and I want to do a more organized, and extensive, presentation of the races and factions. That's a difficult prospect, considering the New Worlds world is changing. This means I'll have to update these entries regularly to reflect changes. There are a few races who really deserve more detailed entries, or just entries period. I have a ton of extremely detailed and unpublished material just waiting to be used. As usual, a lack of time is my primary obstical.