Made-Up Foundations and Faces

I was having some trouble in planning “Dreams and Things” until earlier this week. I did a lot of world-building, short of drawing a town map (but it, like Winter, is coming). I knew that if I did that, the story would benefit, but I didn’t know to what extent. I decided to pull a page from my short story days and write DaT as a four-paragraph short story. I felt that I could expand and change things, but I HAD to see the story as a whole. And, hot damn, it worked. One of the things I focused on in the world-building was the cafe Vicki and Tracey worked at, Macrobian Brew (if I could digress, I’m so proud of that name because the Macrobians are the oldest people attached to the fountain of youth myth, and coffee could be seen as an ersatz fountain of youth). I thought about the layout of the building, the shifts, the employees, the uniform, the tools in the back, and on and on. I’m a big fan of Stanley Kubrick and David Fincher, and they’re know for being hyper-detailed in their planning so something rubbed off, I suppose. All of that minutia helped me greatly with the second half of the story. I knew that Vicky and Tracey’s friendship would fall apart because they drift away, but the specifics were a bit vague until this week. Now it’s a slightly tragic but wholly believable thing.

I’ve started drawing characters who work in Macrobian Brew because it’s such an important place, and I have a HUGE cast. I started with the owner, Isabel Noe (named after one of my favorite directors, Gaspar Noe). She ended up looking like a mid-40s Eva Green, with two white streaks of hair. Then I moved to the waitresses’ uniforms. I knew that I wanted them to look like nurses outfits (because coffee, to Isabel, heals), but I didn’t want people to think it was a fetish house. There’s nothing wrong with fetishes, but the cafe isn’t the place for it. It’s amazing how adding bellbottoms saps the sex out of a uniform. It’s a very chic look, and you could probably wear it in public. I imagine that Isabel’s a fashionista, or a frustrated clothes designer. The next character was Nancy Watanabe. The world of “Dreams and Things” is a very integrated one, and I felt that Japanese people should work in the cafe since there’s a Japanese restaurant in town. Nancy’s a big girl with a Bettie Page hairdo because fat people exist and I didn’t wanna do any fat-shaming. She’s gonna be very important to Vicki, so I wanted her to stand out in interesting ways. Plus, I wanted to fight the petite Asian stereotype… but not too much because the next character I created was a petite Asian. Amy Toriyama (named after the creator of “Dragonball” and all, Akira Toriyama). I gave her braids in a spiky ponytail, so she’s fine. I figured that I should write mini-bios for them as I create them, so I’ll be doing that soon.

I should probably post the eventual finished pages online and make them a webcomic to build steam and a ruckus. Yeah.

For a few years, I’ve been looking for a film to watch on New Year’s Eve that’ll take me into the new year. For a while, I thought about it being Episode IV and timing it so that the Death Star explodes at midnight. If I was a Star Wars fan, that would’ve worked, but it and I have had a falling out and I can live without lightsabers and Wookies. The logical thing, as a Wholigan, would be to watch an episode of “Doctor Who.” Alas, nothing had the same oomph as the Death Star exploding. “Fight Club” got close with the buildings collapsing in the end, but it still was a little lacking. Then it hit me: “The World’s End.” What better way to end the year than a film that spits on nostalgia and ends with the world ending? So I popped it in and synced it so that the magic happens at midnight (10:25 and six seconds, for those who were curious). Now I have a new New Year’s Eve tradition. It worked beautifully, and I forgot that people shoot fireworks (and guns) so I got the ultra surround sound experience.

Sunday, I head to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago to catch the last day of the David Bowie Is exhibition, and to see Neil Gaiman as he reads the audience some Bowie. This year’s starting strong.

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