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No. 306: Sestina About Multiple Rabid Delkins: The Second Stanza

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Sestina About Multiple Rabid Delkins: The Second Stanza

First | Previous | 2010-12-01 | Next | Latest

Permanent URL: https://mezzacotta.net/owls/?comic=306

Strip by: qvaak

Delkin1: GRAAAAH!
Oliver: AAAAA!
Delkin1: Aaaarrr!
Oliver: I can't believe it! I bested that monster!
{A rabid Delkin attacks}
Delkin2: RAAARGH!
Delkin2: GRAAAAAH!
Oliver: uuuh..
Oliver: You know..
Oliver: You could have warned me.
Samantha: Rabid Delkins are attacking!
Samantha: That was a good warning, wasn't it?
Oliver: NO!
Samantha: But the Delkins are attacking!
Oliver: Generally speaking, yes. Just now, no.
Samantha: How about a date, then?
Oliver: Guess again.
Oliver: Could you please just help me?
Samantha: Yes.

The author writes:

When I first came up with this idea, I thought it would be well within the boundaries of the given format of Lighting made of Owls - or at least would be pushing the boundaries rather gently. While gag-per-day comics are mostly from three to six panels long - if not single picture gags - there are many longer, more meandering comics that fall well within the category. If I'd gone with tiny panels and fittingly panel-rich slow-paced storytelling, 24 pictures should easily fit within a page (which is a good rule of thumb upper limit for a bite-sized comic) and should form a well-flowing tight entirety. Actually five-panelled rows might be more balanced with six rows, would still fit well within a page and would follow more closely the sestina form, as sestinas are mostly written in pentameter. I was already going to downplay it!

In theory that is all well and good. I sincerely believe you can create a working one-page gag comic of 24 tiny panels, even of 30 panels. And with such comics you can certainly create a loose short continuity suitable to the art form. It's not the tiny panels, though. Tiny panels sure help to concentrate the comic and make the panels with light content fly past quickly, but it's the storytelling that really makes a comic the one style or another. I don't know, how well I might pull it off without constraints. With the constraints the story is often rushed, content overloaded, and jumpy rather than relaxed, minimalistic, and flying. I had every fourth panel fixed and had to use the three preceding panels to force the story where ever the fourth panel was. And as the fourth panels were regularly repeating and I did not want to write the same comic 6 1/2 times, I had to try to find different ways to reach these same panels. The fourth panels became much more distinct punch panels than I intended and thus I had the somewhat unwanted substructure of four-panel gags. The sestina would, I think, work quite passably as 39 four-panellers. That may not be a flaw per se, but is not really helping either, if I don't want to publish the work in that way.

It might be much worse, I guess. I think I still managed to make the story distinctly episodic. It has even, if not exactly punch-lines, still pretty pronounced episode finishes. And there is a lot of humour. If you happen to like it, the comics should be funny. Seven funnies. Hey, maybe I'm pushing the boundaries pretty hard, but that's a large part of the whole constrained writing experience anyway. The only rule I maybe straight out broke is the one that states that if there is a story, it should not be an epic. That rule I just had completely forgotten - or have never paid attention to. Maybe it has specifically been created to prevent this kind of extravagance.

Character art is still Birch's.