Existential Dick (p. 1)

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This one came to me just as I was falling asleep one night: the basic premise, set up, and ending.  Unfortunately, the middle is still a little muddy.  That’s because this is a story about a detective more than it is about a mystery.  That makes it a little difficult because I need just enough of a story to have a vehicle for the character development, but I don’t want to get sidetracked by trying to make a good mystery—partly because I’m not sure that I’m up to it.  I suspect this will end somewhere in the middle.

I wanted to make a “gritty” story about a no-nonsense guy, so I am trying to reproduce that “hardboiled” narration that is the cliché of mystery stories.  We’ll see how well I pull it off.  I see Jake as a practical existentialist rather than a philosophical one.  Of course, the whole story is a little tongue-in-cheek.  I want to write him serious—this isn’t slapstick like The Naked Gun--but I’m hoping that the whole thing is somewhat humorous.

That “grittiness” is why the art is a little less precise than usual.  I was actually trying to slap this together to give it a rougher feel.  I should have known that the slapped together look takes a lot of work.  I’m not really satisfied with the art, but it is in the neighborhood of where I want it to be.

I thought that I’d try to do the whole thing in magic markers; but it turned out that I’ve become spoiled on India ink.  Unfortunately, markers just suck.  So after outlining the panels in a marker, I went back over them with a brush—c’est la vie.  After the slapping on of the inks, it still looked a little too clean, so I took another pass over it with a pen, creating some basic shading and grey tones with stippling and thin lines. 

I’m currently thinking that this will be a 3 to 5 page story; but I’m going to try to learn from my last story and try to plan this one out a little better.  I hate it because it takes longer, but obviously, it’ll produce a more coherent story.  I’m still going to try to come up with it “off the cuff,” but then I’ll polish it up.

Also, Jo just caught that I wrote the wrong name on the title.  The main character is Jake Shade, not Spade.  This is funny because I intentionally named him Shade, because it was easy to confuse with Spade (as in the famous Sam Spade); it was to be a running joke in the strip (as you’ll see in the next few pages).  Looks like the joke’s on me.  I’ll try to go back and clean it up.