I've been posting a lot of sketches and ideas for a thing called "Ow My Sanity," and what I've thrown up isn't a tenth of the sketches that I do have. I feel, however, it's time to spill a bit more about what's going on with it.
It's a webcomic.
There, I said it. The W-word. That scares me.
Anyway, here's how it's going to work. The current plan calls for 63 chapters, each of them ~24 strips long, plus a couple of epilogue chapters, probably no more than two. Each five chapter section will be arranged into a "book," making it a lucky thirteen volumes total. I have my first five chapters scripted, and am working on the sixth. I have some story layouts for the remainder of them. In this way, I have an ending planned and I don't feel beholden to a schedule I can't keep. I've already hit a few snags in the first chapter (I can't draw buildings worth a crap), but I'm shuffling my way through as best I can.
More on the project, now.
I am a fan of Lovecraft's work. Sure, the guy was a misogynistic, racist bastard, and was probably a product of his time more than anything (or he was paranoid and easily scared, one of the two, or maybe a mix of both), and his prose isn't just awful, it's god awful, but he gave us the formula that launched a thousand Hollywood schlockfests. You know that formula where some people happen across someplace strange, get stuck, and then they start dying and the last one left is a shivering, gibbering wreck? Lovecraft pioneered that. It's been changed heavily, of course, we've added, what do you call those, female characters to the formula (who is usually the gibbering survivor), but the basic precept is still the same (in fact, it's usually still some ethnic culture's fault the evil is out there; name the last time it wasn't some pagan ritual, or Mayan pyramid, or Native American burial ground that spawned a terrible something or another).
Over the years, Lovecraft's formula has become trite, and his mythos (which is supposed to be science fiction) has been savagely gang-shuffled (Look at Derleth; he made the aliens into good and evil gods and made Cthulhu a water deity, who is clearly trapped by water, not empowered by it); later writers have added actual spells, added beings who ARE gods, not just aliens mistaken as gods by our primitive minds, and effectively made what was supposed to be a cruel and uncaring universe into one that likes to stomp on ants for fun. In addition, Lovecraft's mythos itself has become the object of derisive humor. Not that this is bad, I mean, the gags are ripe for the picking, and I love the crap out of them. Everyone seems to enjoy Lovecraft jokes. Every webcomic makes them, they're even on blogs like Pharyngula every so often, and they stomp rampant over the internet, often subtle, but most often blatant. Just look at Elder Sign ( [link]
I just couldn't figure out why, not until a few months ago.
I have a poster. It's called "Pale Blue Dot," and it's got a passage by Sagan on it, and in reading it again, something profound struck me. Lovecraft's horror hinges on the idea that the universe just doesn't care about us. It was not made special. We are not even a footnote in the universe's history. At least, that's how Lovecraft saw it. This was a terrible notion in the 1930s, the most profound source of absolute horror that could be dredged up from the human consciousness and pushed out into a rainy Rhode Island street. Now we hand posters of it on our walls and post rambling, inane blog entries about it like it's the behavior of a new celebrity couple. Cosmic horror isn't scary any more. What was once the great fear of the age is now a joke.
Not only that, we're about to start CREATING stars and universes ourselves. We're doing 1930s magic, but we're doing it better than the terrible things in his stories could do it. That's what's funny. That's why we giggle. We all know it, somewhere, subconsciously.
This comic will be my thesis statement. I decided on a webcomic because what better way to share it with the world than through the ether as nothing more than stuttering electronic signals creating an illusory pattern of words and images in the human mind?
Oh yeah, plot. The plot is simple.
David Andrew Bartlett sifts through life unloved and unnoticed, but needed. His family believes his desired career as an artist is nothing more than a phase. He's loved many people, but is himself alone. One day, however, hankering for some lo mein, he returns to his dormitory to ask his dorm mates if they want anything form the Chinese place only to walk into a summoning ritual for a Servitor of Azraboath, Granter of Desires and Molester of flesh. They are calling it for reasons varied, but all selfish and short term. The beast reads David's mind and finds only the desire to be loved. Not understanding this, it cloaks itself in human form and decides to follow him until it can figure that out. They make an escape, but the organization known as Delta Green arrives and puts together what they think is the truth: a high priest sacrificed a room full of cultists to put a servitor of the Molester of Flesh under his control, and they're out there now. They could be up to anything. What follows is David attempting to adjust to having an elder horror around, and an elder horror trying to determine what human society means.
That is not all that is going on, which should be obvious by the sketches (I'm not throwing up sketches of Nyarlathotep, Shub-Niggurath, and a Shoggoth Lord just for fun, you know), but that is where everything starts. The plot also becomes far more complex as my notes go on, since making something vapidly shallow would make me feel inadequate as a writer.
Oh yeah, in case you can't tell, I'll be stabbing the magical girlfriend genre with a rusty chainsaw, too.
Anyway, that's what's going on with those sketches. I'll see if I can't find some decent designs for Freddy the Mi-Go and throw those up as soon as I can.