< Piro >
Tuesday - October 23, 2001
Oh, just so you know, the Megatokyo Beer Stiens will only be available till the end of this month, so you have one week left to get one if you want one ^_^. I'm also going to be retiring several designs (Sp33k l33t, j00 d34d f00, Kimiko Idol shirts) by the 2nd week in November. Just FYI if you like those designs and want to get one. :)
One of the few things i miss about commuting to work by train when i lived in Atlanta was that I had a lot more time to read. The last book i sat down to read was Gibson's 'All Tomorrow's Parties' ('Idoru' still influences my thought processes from time to time, but this book could have been better'). It's sad, because I like to read, but like so many busy folk, its just not possible to find the time to curl up in a chair on a lazy sunday anymore.
A lot of what i do at work is visually processed stuff, cad work, etc. I listen to a lot of music while i work (the pile of CDs and MP3 disks around my workstation is embarrassing) but there are times when i just don't feel like music. Talk radio is fine, but the news can get pretty stale pretty quick, so often i turn to various books on tape or CDs to help me get thru some of the pretty major grunt work it takes to get thru a lot of the cad work i do. One that i've listened to quite a bit in the past, and still turn to from time to time, is the unabridged recording of The Lord of the Rings, which i just recently purchased on CD.
I'm actually a big fan of Tolkien's master work, but not in the sense that many others are. Oddly enough i could care less, for the most part, about the elder history of Middle Earth. Grand, epic tales of the history of elves, men, dwarfs and the like just simply bores me to tears. For me, it's always been the story. That's what i've enjoyed over the years. Sam is my idol.
There is a prologue to 'The Fellowship of the Rings' where Tolkien comments on his experience in writing the story. I suppose that these days his words hit home a lot more than they did years ago. He seems almost grumpy and defensive about all the scrutiny and attention it received. Gosh, it feels awful familiar... ^^;; Yet, even though he seems to indicate that the attention to his work is almost annoying, he does indicate that he was 'encouraged' but the requests for more information concerning hobbits, and his comments regarding critics are particularly amusing. ^_^ In the end, he did the story for himself, but if you listen to what this really was, its something I can really identify with: He wanted to tell a story, one that people would enjoy.
At one point in the forward, he notes what he considers the biggest problem with the story: it's too short. I think he's right, in many ways - there was so much going on that some extra length could have helped explain a few more things, flesh out some parts of the story that we never hear about, etc.
These comments started me thinking about my own feelings about what's right and wrong about what i'm doing. The biggest problem with Megatokyo is pretty simple - it's too slow.
It's not slow because i'm lazy - i'm not. I put at least 32 hrs a week into producing this comic, and thats all outside of my day job. It took Tolkien 5 or more years to write the Lord of the Rings. Most stories are presented either in installments or in final form. We're feeding you the story in one page installments three times a week. You can't just take a typical manga or comic and do this - like it or not, each page stands on its own. The biggest thing that is lost in doing a comic/manga this way is rather surprising: There is no real sense of time. It's so bad that even I have trouble keeping any sense of time in what's happened and what is going to happen. It's an unusual challenge.
The solution isn't doing more comics a week (well, it would be, but quite literally cant do more than i am doing) so it falls upon the story itself and the way it's presented. I think that in trying to understand these issues of time, i might be able to fix some of the frustrations some readers have with the story. I know what the story is, and where its going. But it's the experience of getting there that is what keeps people reading. Hell, I wanna see exactly how it gets there myself. ^_^
If you sit down and read Chapter 1, start to now, in one sitting, it doesn't read half bad. When you consider the fact there were 2 to 4 day waits between some of these pages, its easy to understand why people are frustrated. Getting a handle on the paradox of collected works which can be read one page after another, and performance works which need at least 2 days between strips to produce, is a real issue and a real problem for me. If nothing else, it's an interesting quandary. :)
MT is an experiment, and a training ground for me in my quest to figure out just how the hell to make a really good comic and manga. So far, not so bad. For those who are frustrated with the lack of gaming jokes, the lack of violence, the lack of this, that, or anything else that prompts emails asking me what happened to one character or another - patience please. I am doing the best i can.
In the past 3 weeks or so, we've had a really good run. Regardless of some personal misgivings about doing this better, or that drawing sucks, all in all its not bad. This week is going to be a little light mainly because i have to be out of town for thursday and friday this week, which puts a minor crimp in doing friday's comic ^_^
You can support Megatokyo by getting yourself some cool YakPak swag using the link below. Piro has been carrying a black Medium Flapdoozy since the comic started (because that's what i really use ^_^). Also, the YakPak people are cool folk: