Trying to understand why everyone checked-out recently. For now, I´ll post one of my meatiest blog-posts from the campaign here, a blast from the past:
Charismatic Mexi-CAN cartoonist extraordinarie Geladaa brings you YET ANOTHER update.
-A page from the first chapter.
-An imposing wall of text!
-A link about a pertinent subject: THIS ONE The birth of the reader/death of the author
Hope you enjoy THE CONTENT.
The imposing wall of text:
In this imposing, wall of text then, let us let you in on some of what lurks beneath the hood of "IN HELL"´s SLEEK (if I do say so myself) surface.
I realized some time ago that I couldn´t draw particularly fast, and thus making a 6 thousand page long epic like "Akira" was likely out of the question for me. If I couldn´t draw tons of pictures, I thought that I would instead make very dense images. Quality instead of quantity; I would pour a lot of thought into every line and make pictures that could hold attention for a very long time. Pictures you can think about and come back to for years.
This ambition, to create pictures worth obsessing over lead inexorably, inevitably, to the world of art. It made me study and fall in love the world of art, where pictures are not only worth a thousand words, but millions of dollars. The key part being not the money, but the sense of value and importance money reflects.
Art of course can be desired merely because someone else desires it, yes, but at heart the people that drive up its value mean to buy it because they find it very beautiful. Art is able to reflect, illuminate and sum up very complex and nuanced emotions and ideas, things add up, things blossom in art. Thru art experience is concentrated and amplified. This has nothing to do with the concept of "entertainment" or just "burning time".
Please bear that in mind, if you chose to read thru this imposing boring-looking wall of text: Just because the ideas I share here sound more cerebral than emotional, that does not mean they are cold ideas. Emotions come out of them, emotions are also their source.
In any case, here I will provide an abbreviated explanation of one of the pages I am most proud of in the first chapter, for your consideration. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of the thoughts that went thru my mind when creating the page, or the thoughts that go thru my mind as I look at it now, but I´ll lay out what I consider to be the key basics.
Allow me to reassure you: the aim of this video is to provide an introduction into the sort of logic I follow when crafting IN HELL. Don´t believe, not for one second, that there can be a final word spoken on any subject, especially not in the realm of art.
Art and life are all about making things YOURS, finding your own way of understanding things. Herd animals ask others for a soul, they ask others what it is they should think and feel. Be an individual, listen to my spiel only to judge whether it´s worth adding some elements of it to your own.
Here it goes.
IN HELL, chapter I, page 8
Our six heroes are seen here in their full erect glory after having materialized into Hell. They each hold a distinct pose and each direct their gaze in a specific direction. You will inevitably notice the arrows above their heads. I found great pleasure in coding into these arrows the entirety of their souls.
They correspond (for the most part) to the direction of their gaze, which also indicates their attitude towards the rest of the group. Johnny is an exception to this pattern.
Johnny´s points straight up, even if he looks down upon the characters that rise to meet him. This mismatch makes him unique. He stands tallest of the group on top of a chalice-like rock formation, his pompadour pointing upwards. A rebel without a cause rebels against his own weight to affirm himself vertically.
Verticality has always been a huge obsession for humans since the main force we struggle against after being born is our own weight. This is why humanity has always been obsessed with height, and why flying is the most universal metaphor for joy and freedom and power. Verticality is about dominance; first over one´s own weight, then one´s surroundings. His movement is upwards, but he looks down upon the rest of the group, as a king would.
The arrow pointing up serves also as a sort of "on" sign, it STANDS for life itself as a phenomenon. Of course it´s also related to the idea of an erection.
The idea of "a rebel without a cause" fits the mythical figure of Satan to a T: he famously rebels against the very idea of having a cause (meaning he rebels against the idea that he is secondary to God). Johnny is such a person, an arrow pointing up, something that recognizes the existence of a context only as a means to his own glory. He doesn´t exist in relationship to anything but his own weight. He understands things that led to him, like his parents and the sun in the sky as servants of his will, part of his anatomy.
Johnny wears leather, clothes that communicate rebellious individuality and non-conformance. An outlaw´s garb. He sports a phallic, spiral hairstyle. Men from all eras have worn phallic hats or combed their hair to underline their maleness.
The rest of the characters respond to Johnny, they are secondary, but that does not mean they are to be considered inferior. They instead sprout from him. To give an example, intellect is often developed by people attempting to compensate for shortcomings in physical strength, but the power of science surpasses by far the power of muscle. All the armies of antiquity combined could not endure a nuclear blast.
Moving on to the blond hunk; Arthur´s arrow points downwards, and he is seen walking "downwards" in a confrontational attitude towards Johnny. The idea of "off" means nothing without the idea of "on" being installed first, you can´t have “zero” or “minus one” without the first digit existing first. Arthur, who represents, among other things, what Friedrich Nietzsche labeled “slave morality”, says "no", to things, specifically, to Johnny and what he stands for: the individualistic soul. Arthur is very much a herd animal, an animal that responds to others, an animal of duty (a world related to the concept of debt as in “I ought to do X”). He acts as a representative of a group, as a representative of values, and aims to suppress “selfish individuality” in himself and others which is why he immediately takes issue with Johnny´s overbearing attitude. This sort of rivalry is seen very often in fiction. Notable examples: “Raphael vs Leonardo” in “TMNT”, “Sol vs Ky” in “Guilty Gear”…You could even claim this dynamic is present in the contrast between Luke Skywalker and Han Solo.
Next, two women stand at the side of each of the men, as sort of feminine versions of them. The arrows convey that they are looking at the "Roman vs Christian” conflict at the heart of the group, each closest to the man they most resemble. The concept of “woman” is a secondary one; achieved by building upon an initially male “base” (this according to psychology) Insight into this reality can be gained by studying the actual word: “wo-man” being impossible to form without first the word “man”. Please bear in mind, again, that secondary does not mean “inferior”. You wouldn´t say a polished diamond is inferior to a rough one would you?
The women thus respond to the men in contrasting ways, evoking with their poses and colors the concept of sacred and profane love seen in art. Barbie, the blonde flaunts her body in an open, proud invitation, while Christine crosses both arms and legs in a protective gesture reminiscent of the “venus pudica” pose in art.
Christine is wearing a red suit, what is traditionally male attire, like Johnny, this is a sort of “rebellious anti-uniform”, as she does not want to conform too much with the role others assign her to play.
Last but not least, we have the two loners, both looking away from the central conflict, from the group, Willow is an artist, Dexter, a mathematician. They both abstract themselves from the world. The girl daydreams (arrow pointing up and away), the guy is deep in thought (arrow down and away). Mathematics and art both are unconcerned with anything but their own coherence and potency, these are noble characters. Even if they look away from the group, they are in fact very much part of it. They seek to compete and play a role within the group, they just chase those objectives in an abstract dimension.
The characters can be divided into the following groups:
-Johnny and Christine are “rebels” (without and with a cause as previously stated) -Arthur and Barbie are “team players/Christians” -Willow and Dexter are “outsiders” or “people that live in their minds”
One can also understand the characters as they are laid out in the picture, two central male figures in conflict, then two girls observing the conflict/vicariously participating in it, and finally two characters, one male, one female, looking away from the central conflict.
You can also say that Johnny is separate from all the others as being the only one whose main direction is not relative to the others in the group, but first and foremost one of vertical ascent.
The pose each character strikes is very important as well.
Johnny stands confronting the camera with his feet firmly planted, as if on a podium. He is not moving. Arthur is the only one in the group walking, and he does this with clenched fist, a challenger. Christine and Barbie have contrasting poses: One displaying herself proudly and the other one shielding herself in a defensive attitude. Willow´s and Dexter´s poses convey different styles of abstraction, one loose (daydreaming, in the case of Willow) the other much more tense (focused reflection in the case of Dexter)
Thus there is a very precise description of the characters, of the inner logic of each archetype, and the way they interact and complement each other accomplished via their design and pose, but also by the direction of their gaze and their position within this diagram of identity. I am thrilled to have simple arrows be the place where this all lands, where this is all summed up, like a video-game code of sorts.
If you somehow reached the end of this text I commend you, truly, you are one of very few, one of one probably. I hope you read about “the death of the author” and understand that the interpretation of the picture I just shared is just ONE among and endless number of possible others. I just wanted to try and convince my backers, and potential backers, that their investment (I mean the fund they contribute, but also the attention) is taken very seriously and I intend to reward it with a serious work. Something very sincere and very dense, the product of a lot of thought and care and work.
I look forward to sharing much more in the future, and again request your help in leading this campaign to a successful end. Let people know about it! Spread the word! Have a nice one!
See you IN HELL. Geladaa