< Piro >
Tuesday - July 26, 2005
A few quick notes, before i prattle on about "Circuity" - I will be giving a talk at the Ann Arbor Public Library wednesady night at 7:00pm . It's a fairly informal affair, and i plan to talk about my somewhat fractured creative process and other pointless and useless stuff. :) It's a free event, but seating is limited so i know they are giving out tickets for admission.
Another thing that is coming up VERY fast is Otakon 2005. This will be our biggest show this year, and we are already gearing up to get ready for it. The show this year will feature live music by a talented (and very capable) friend so you can rest assured that at least SOMETHING will come off right at the show. :) We'll be bringing the MegaGear store with us, and we will even have a few new things to debut at con. If you are coming to Otakon this year, be sure to plan on stopping by.
Oh, and i haven't plugged the MegaGear store recently, but i shall do so now. Go forth, shop, and buy things. All support greatly appreciated. Seraphim has some things in the work that she'll be talking about soon (yes, a long awaited Seraphim rant is in the works :P)
[yet another update... posters are now back online in the MegaGear store. We had to roll the price of shipping into the poster price because of problems with the software (posters all get shipped separate from the other stuff in your order because they go into tubes... you cant just wad up a poster and stick it in a box. I think people might not like that :P)]
I've been waiting until i finished Circuity before sitting down to talk about it, and now that it's done, i've been having trouble finding exactly what I want to say. I've been having that trouble a lot lately. It's kind of sad, but it's like the only reliable way i have of communicating my ideas is the comics and drawings I produce. All of my other methods of communicating -- rants, blogs, random sketches, emails, product designs for the store -- are amazingly buggy.
First off, i would like to thank everyone for their patience and willingness to let me stray a bit from the normal fare offered here on the Megatokyo site. In the same way that end of chapter extras (or "Omake" as they are called) usually give creators a chance to do some off the wall humor and laugh a bit at the characters, "Circuity" was an exercise in going in the other direction. I wanted to do something deadly serious, something that would contrast the more serious parts of Megatokyo the same way my last omake poked fun at the more humorous elements of the story. I wanted to experiment and see how well i could do a short mood piece, to see how much i could ratchet things up and still keep it solid.
Was it a successful experiment? To a greater extent, i think so. I learned a lot doing it. It really isn't a very successful short story because it doesn't stand very well on its own. It relies heavily on foreknowledge of Megatokyo and in the end a little too much on Haibane Renmei (the anime upon which it really is a fan-work of.) I wanted "circuity" to stand on it's own as much as possible, to not really require that you understand the world that Abe created, or the inspiration that he took from Murakami. To a limited extent i have done that, but not as much as i would have liked. In the end, a reader will understand things based as much on the knowledge and experiences he or she brings to the peice as much as what we creators can put into it. That may be good or bad when it comes to this omake.
But all of that is really secondary to what i was really trying to do with "Circuity." This is actually an odd reflection and refraction of the original idea, colored heavily buy the characters that play the parts. It's almost like a fan-work of the original concept. :) I ended up going with the idea, and using it because it presented me with some fertile soil to run the characters (and the reader) through some powerful emotive sequences. Understanding the specifics of what happened was, to me, secondary to the emotive content i was trying to create. it's like you know there is a story there, and you just understand enough to get pulled in. Sure, there's all sorts of other things going on - metaphor, allegory, similarities, mirrors, contrasts, strong relational ties to the Megatokyo story... but you don't have to get all of that, honestly. That wasn't it's main purpose.
As i've said many times before, writing and drawing are really little more than exercises in trying to communicate and evoke emotive feelings and reactions from readers. People tend to have a wide variety of security levels on their emotive pull-strings. Some people are very open to having them tugged, and are easily moved. Others guard them very closely, and when attempts are made to pull at them, they laugh and make fun of the attempts. Some are complete gits about it, and refuse to allow anything access to them, including themselves. :P
That, to me, is the difference between a good moving story that rattles something in you, and "melodrama". I tried hard to not let "circuity" fall into the "melodrama" category - not so easy in such a short piece, really. A story like this won't do something for everyone, but i wanted to see how many i could do it for. For most people, getting access to those pull strings takes a lot of care and respect. That's why guys hate 'chick flicks' or refuse to read 'shoujo manga' (when most of the time they don't even understand the term) Emotions are things close to the soul, so we try to protect them as much as possible. If i managed to get access to yours, i thank you for the opportunity.
Regardless as to how well it worked or not, it was a good experiment for me. I enjoyed pulling together a reflection of this world, and a lot of it felt right. I almost chickened out at the end, wondering if finishing it the way i had planned on finishing it was a bit too much, but decided to stick to my guns. The last two pages i think either grip you if you were already hooked, or loose you if you were just getting warmed to the sequence of the first 7 pages... the jumps were almost too big, and i am sorry about that. I just felt that i needed to stick to the schedule, and let Circuity finish along its preordained course.
We all know that i tend to lean towards stories, concepts and moods like this, and sometimes people complain that Megatokyo itself is too tainted by them. Well, this helped me get some things that have been bottled up in my system out, and in a good way. It pointed out one of the reasons why i like to write stories that have a balance of lightness and seriousness to them... a purely serious and dark story requires that you be in that mood for an extended period of time. Sure, i'm a gloomy gus sometimes, but there were definitely days and pages of this omake where i had to bring myself down to the emotive level necessary to do the page. I get too wrapped up in things sometimes, but i guess my work would REALLY suck if i didn't.
Lightness is a necessary thing in life, and i dont think Circuity would have worked as well as it did if Piro, Largo and Kimiko were not who they are in Megatokyo. It's the contrasts that point out the similarities and the differences in things better than anything.
Megatokyo Chapter 7 starts monday. Should be a fun ride :)
Oh, i almost forgot - i haven't linked this about Connecticon yet, but it looks like between the time the events happened and me getting a new rant up they've almost raised enough to cover the gap. Awesome stuff guys, and a big congrats to the webcomic reading community for rising to help them out.