Princess Yvonne and Prince Alexander
A soldier says goodbye as he is shipped out in preparation for the war. New York, 1917.
1920s. State St. Looking North from Madison. Chicago Theater and State-Lake in the distance.
“Even if medieval Arabic erotic writings are obsessed with identifying and defining all forms of sexual practices and thus regularly use a rich and precise vocabulary, including the terms sahq (lesbianism), sahiqat (lesbians), mutazarrifat (elegant courtly ladies-lovers), haba’ib (beloveds), liwat (active male homosexuality), luti (active male homosexual), ubnah (passive male homosexuality), ma’bun (passive male homosexual), qatim (passive male homosexual in Andalusian dialect), tafkhidh (intercrural intercourse), bidal or mubadala (taking turns in active and passive homosexuality), as well as nisa’mudhakkarat (masculinized women) and rijal mu’annathin (feminized men) or mukhannath (male effeminate), no medieval Arabic word existed for the sort of bisexuality that was considered as the unmarked, most common form of sexual practice, for heterosexuality, or even for sexuality.”
-Medieval Arab Lesbians & Lesbian-Like Women, Sahar Amer
JENN. RELEVANT TO YOUR KNIGHTS-ERRANT RESEARCH??
So, WisCon is over. It was even better than anticipated if you can believe that. The levels of radicalism, squee, swag, sleep deprivation, and basic social interaction were so high that I now wish to find a dark, silent box and hide there till I start to feel like an alive person again. OH THE SWAG, though. It’ll blister your face!
(I’m writing this from a Greyhound, actually, which I was not even aware you could do. No rest for the modestly funded feminist indie nerd, I suppose.)
SO. There are about three hours left to preorder Smut Peddler on Kickstarter. We’re making one final push to get out the word, so if you’ve been on the fence about it, NOW’S YOUR CHANCE.
As a point of interest, I thought I would share a final reflection on the process of collaborating with the lovely and talented theyoungdoyley.
The following quote is from page 124 of Will Eisner’s Graphic Storytelling:
“Not surprisingly, there often are communication problems between participants in the process of graphic storytelling.
In writing for graphic storytelling, the ultimate judgment of the narrative is made after the work is translated into art. The writer, therefore must be aware of the obstacles on the way to publication.
When text alone is the vehicle in conveying a story to the reader, there is little chance of misperception. But from text to visual, there is a high probability of a difference in outcome, stemming from lack of skill to lack of time. In this medium, storytelling is not always a straight line from the mind to the reader.”
I found out the hard way that storytelling priorities can be very different between prose writers and visual artists. It was a table-flippingly bumpy ride for both of us at first, but once we found our groove I think we really strengthened each other’s work. If you’re interested in my role in the comicking process, I have broken it down into several easy steps:
- Plot with Jenn, figure out general scope and arc of story. Research setting forever. “Oh how interesting! This will be delightful!” Be filled with callow optimism.
- Write a script describing what happens in each panel on the page, including dialogue and important details. Completely invent script format. Whatever, it works.
- Jenn does not want to draw needlessly complex and/or physically impossible pages. Insist that they are functionally and thematically necessary. Have bitter feud.
ME: So I think this page needs about eighteen panels, a big crowd scene, mirrors, fancy architecture, and some cars or whatever. You can fit five hundred words’ worth of speech bubbles in that, right?
JENN: *casually murders me*
- Achieve truce, get snacks. Negotiate an acceptable compromise. Take a nap or something.
- Draw some squares. Panel layout goes like this? (If not in the same part of country as Jenn, hold up your drawing of squares, take awkward picture of it in Photobooth, and send it to her.)
- Either get confirmation, or argue about it until both parties can agree on a layout.
- Jenn draws roughs. Complains mightily, as is her due. Cheerlead from sidelines, since there is nothing you can really do to help at this point. She must face the darkness alone.
- Read roughs. They are awesome, if soaked in the blood of ages. Fling at friends for suggestions. Annotate.
- Jenn draws final pages, dies repeatedly and loudly. Oh my God they are face-meltingly awesome though. Your sacrifices have not been in vain.
- Mend tattered remains of friendship. When love and trust have been restored, show finished, pornographic product to your parents and forget to mention this to Jenn. While enjoying your newly harmonious relationship during a Skype session, be powerless to stop them when they poke their heads into your room to give her well-intentioned but totally traumatic compliments.
MY MOM: By the way, honey, I loved the art in that comic of yours. I also liked the way Bob performed his gender, it was very Butlerian.
MY DAD: Also, good use of Russian!
JENN: *casually dies of a heart attack*
So, to conclude! All snark aside, putting “Travesty” together was stressful in the same way as reading a book that blows your mind wide open. Jenn was so smart and thoughtful, and she taught me so much. I learned how to think more visually, reflect carefully on every little storytelling choice, and find the humility to let go of my first ideas and make way for something more graceful and effective. I’m a much stronger writer for it.
So, here’s looking at you, kid. Also, thanks for letting me eat all of your food. <3
Early 1930s gowns and hairstyles, as viewed from back.
central high girls, 1927 (national photo co.)