It's been uhhhh a long time since my last update, huh? Let's say stuff happened that sucked my energy, and then actual physical stuff happened that just konked me out for the rest of last year -- and by that, I mean, adiooooos, adios, adios, my friendly neighborhood gallbladder...
Yeah, I had a big surgery last November. 2021 was a weird year for me health-wise, as I'd never been healthier but April, I had to go to the ER and got told it was acid reflux -- changed my diet to better improve even more, and then bam, November hits, ER visit again, got told "oh you have small gallstones, so decide time." LMAO I'm almost pretty sure what I had in April was the start of that then, but anyway...
It's been an interesting couple of months since the surgery, including having to shut down my entire schedule to just recuperate. I know not everyone has the opportunity or privilege to be able to do that nowadays, so it feels very First World Problems, but I am someone who gets super bored if I'm not doing something. Especially not doing my work. So while I could watch a lot of TV, sleep a lot --if anyway, the only thing I did for almost 3 weeks was sleep--and just play games, I was going out of my misery not being able to do art or work on comics.
It was a very different mood than the one I'd had since June 2021, which is generally a dispassionate mood for comics, not wanting to do comics anymore, and generally even considering retiring for good.
I have a lot of stuff that happened that exacerbated all of that sentence, including burnout. So you'd think it was the burnout, after all. But even now, I'm still questioning if I should retire. The state of the world and my future in 10 years has stressed me out since I was 21, when I had the plan to just do comics on the side and get a proper job...and still hasn't happened, because I'm so overqualified, I can't work for places; the company uses an automated application system which auto rejects you if it can't find certain keywords (hey kids, knowing 4 languages, having worldly experience and 3 degrees isn't enough, who knew [sarcasm mode] ); or you get feedback which is good, but also really makes you feel like you have to be at 100% perfection out the gate -- and half of that is related to things I've known how to do for years! Makes you wonder what hope is there left for the senior citizens!!
I've looked into going into the trades instead, which I wouldn't mind. The other glaring issue there: I don't know if you've taken a look outside in the past two years but we're in the apocalypse. With no arrogance in my heart, I can say that I still do have the privilege to be able to avoid going outside as much as I can. And I've tried, lord knows I have, to get the person who's in charge of the trade search/company/what have you to listen to me when I ask, practically beg, her to see if there's something that can be done remotely as a way to speed up the process. Like, do the theory, then do the practice much later. But after the third copy/pasted email containing the same reply of "check here to see if there are any trade apprenticeship opportunities near you!" with a clear indication that she hasn't bothered to READ what I write, I basically wrote back (very politely because I'd like to think I'm still civilized) the equivalent of "if you're not gonna bother reading what I actually write, then don't bother replying again and I'll pick this up again when the apocalypse is over."
THAT she read! XD
It's really just funny seeing people recommended "main job for money, side job as comics", and I'm here going how gorram viable is that advice in the year 2022, because it sure hasn't been viable for me since 2006. And I actually PLANNED for that goal! I didn't make comics my main gig for fun and giggles, I just had nothing else! And that's failing miserably!
I feel like I could survive in another country, but a) I don't really want to move again; b) lol half the money is going back home to maintain our house, even if we had money, my native country loves sucking the money out of its citizens; and c) can I really get a job easier and faster than here? Can I? I'll go doomer and assume not.
I know what I have for Plan C, D, until Z and I really don't want to go to the one where I just retire and get off the internet, and expect to be homeless at a certain point. Ya know?
So let's get to what I promised last newsletter. I was going to post two things: the character designs for The Footballerinas, and some thumbnails of the mini-comic I mentioned. But the mini-comic image uploads aren't cooperating, haha. Plus it might get too rambly and long, so let's concentrate on one thing only.
I can't remember if I said it previously, but if I have, then sorry you're gonna hear it again, haha: a lot of the general feel of the comic are highly, and unabashedly, influenced by things like The Mighty Ducks and The Babysitters' Club, where there's a plot but the characters are what make it worth. (I'm a 90s kid, what can I say?) Granted, you'd read that and go "oh, so you just like character-driven drama, big deal." And that's true, but I point to those two specifically because those are two pieces of media where that became something special.
There's a podcast dedicated to The Mighty Ducks (bless 'em), and while I haven't been able to listen to all the episodes, a curious one made me seek out the movie The Bad News Bears. To be fair, I had wanted to watch this movie before but it wasn't a pressing deal. "I'll get to it when I get to it." I did have it on my list to research for The Footballerinas but after finding out its connection to The Mighty Ducks, it shot up my list. (Sidenote: the Quack Attack podcast became part of my regular rotation in Finland while at an artist residency, so they're a cultural memory too.)
The connection it has, in a very basic summary, is that the creator of the Ducks movie was inspired by the Bears movie highly. He had it as a template in his mind for his creation, and when you watch both, you get it. It's the characters, it's the setting, it's the feel of realism without a mean-spirited angle. (Well...sorta kinda for the Bears movie, if you count one certain scene.) Heck, I'd go so far as to say Ducks carries the same notion of classism and how that affects the underdog, as the Bears movie does. Seriously, have ya'll watched D3, the third Ducks movie again? I know everyone hates it and when I was a kid, I just shrugged at it but didn't hate it -- but if you allow me the popular Twitter parlance, watching it again after a couple of years away from it, it...has this amazing scene and subplot about the Ducks basically trying to combat classism, prove their worth and merit (as they usually do) against a bunch of rich students, but this time with less sports and more "this is too real, make it stop" LOL.
In fact, watching it during a pandemic? Maybe don't do that XD
I always liked the ending scene of D3, though, and I was happy to see that hold up. If you'll let me analyze further, the fact that the Native American "mascot" (the high class) gets covered by the Ducks banner (the low class)...it's very topical nowadays, ain't it? (I suggest you read that article, as it gives a good nuanced look. Did you know the original designer of the logo in that article was indigenous?!)
Why did I write all the above? Well, because influences are interesting to pick apart and analyze for me. For me, the Ducks were always a part of my movie pantheon. As an adult, rewatching it, still holds up and it still managed to give me all the feelings and warmth I had as a child when I first watched it. If anything, to be VERY corny on main, it felt like seeing old friends again. Something known and comfortable, to temporarily make you forget and bring you back. When I came up with The Footballerinas, inspired by sporting events in my alma mater's on-campus sports restaurant that I watched while waiting and eating food, the first thing I told myself was: "I want this to be for current generations what the Ducks was for me."
Granted, that was whatever generation was in 2007-2009 ish, which is vastly different than the one in the now 2021-2023 epoch. But I still want that to be true. I want it to be that movie that, whether you like sports or not, still makes you feel at home, enjoy the spectacle while engaging with story and characters that remain with you. In fact, I originally thought The Footballerinas would make a neat movie. But I ain't a filmmaker, I'm a comicker, so the heady task to do the equivalent of a sports movie in a comic is upon me!
Going back to the Bears influencing the Ducks, if you've watched the Bears movie, you'll see what I mean. It's very hard to ignore the template that the creator admitted to lifting; I dare say the Ducks is to millennials what the Bears were...to Boomers? Gen X? I don't know, my mother and everyone she knew watched that movie when it came out, she's a boomer, but everyone online seems to call it a Gen X movie. This is why generational labels are dumb. (Heck, I'm probably wrong and the Ducks is a Gen X/millennial movie LOL)
The misfits, the coach who's forced to improve and eventually does improve and come to care for the kids in his own way, the pretty cool accidental branding. Granted, there are settings and factors changed due to the times (Ducks was the 90s, Bears the 70s) and nothing is really imitation. It's a template, we repeat a template for various reasons. Both movies got their sequels but the Bears had a worse case of those, with the original cast only really complete in the first one, and the story just...deflating. I'm sure it was Disney who helped but the Ducks had more cohesion in that sense. The story may have deflated a bit too, depending on how you feel about the Bombayless Ducks in the third one, but if you watch all 3, you'll notice at least there's a sense of carrying the story over in arcs.
I have the misfits and the settings in The Footballerinas (I'll touch on those next update) -- and the coach angle took a long time for me to figure out. I didn't want Bombay v.2, because 1) that's impossible and 2) I wanted something different. I first thought of perhaps having two coaches, with one of them ousted after the first chapter and the other one remaining, though not exactly trusting of the talents of the team. I went so far as to maybe play with expectations and have the female coach be the one ousted out of coaching an all girls' team, because people think women automatically support other women and man, am I really tired of that mindset. Maybe it's because it's been the opposite for me ^^; Then I waffled, and changed it to have the woman be the main one and the male ousted, because typical "men have issues coaching an all girls school because stereotypes."
But that's just so boring.
The current idea I have for the coach is much better, in my opinion, and the one I'm using going forward -- someone who isn't a coach at all, or even considered human by some people due to his background, but is thrust into coaching world by a student who's also helping the group of misfits. The only difference is that this "coach" isn't forced to like the kids, more chill, but more nervous at game time. And in my head, should look like Gregory Sierra.
...Huh. I didn't even intend it to sound similar to the analyses I did above.
Funny how influences come around. XD