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JoeEngland's avatar

Tales of the Wooden Castle: 5

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  Whether you celebrate it or not, I hope you have a lot of prosperity, and friends to share it with.

You might be able to tell that I originally wanted to post this on Halloween to sort of bookend this series, but it wasn't anywhere close to being done in time.  And Thanksgiving might be a more appropriate occasion, anyway, since it concerns family.

These last few pages were inspired by a conversation I had with my sister back in March.  I asked her what she thought of the comic where Zandra's walking with Doyenne.  I'm always worried that I tend to over-sexualize women in this comic, and Sarah remarked that Zandra seemed especially buxom, and very much constructed under a male gaze.

My sister has two wonderful little girls, and I want for them to be able to enjoy my work someday.  Objectifying women is an issue that I don't want to exacerbate.  I like to think that my writing outshines my dirty old man proclivity for drawing curvy figures, so it's disappointing when that's the first thing that springs to mind when someone sees my work.  But what can I expect?

The conversation led to this little arc, which I think wraps up this series very well.  I wanted for Zandra to demonstrate a positive message, that idealized images of beauty and power are subjective, and ultimately ephemeral compared with the value of self-worth.  Something along those lines.  I hope it works.

At any rate, this is the last original comic that will be collected in the Omnibus (yes, I am still making that), and possibly the last of these "Tales of the Wooden Castle" vignettes.  But what blooms?  The Curse of Clarity! A potential sequel to Zebra Girl, along with another concept which I'm currently developing, and which I'll advertise soon.  I have no time frame for when these projects will get off the ground, or which will take precedence, but stay tuned.

Of course, it’s daunting to consider starting another grind like Zebra Girl, and I’ll have to find healthier ways to go at it now that I have the brittle bones and back of an elderly cartoonist.  I’m hoping to learn how to draw digitally (like every other cartoonist in the 21st century).  Maybe a tablet will be easier on these withered joints.  Better for the environment, anyway.  I’ve murdered enough trees for my career.

So wish me luck, and I’ll wish you luck right back.  I hope you have a healthy, happy season ahead for you and your loved ones.  Take care, and thanks so much for being you!
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FascinationUniformed's avatar

Joe, your comic taught me a lot. Depth, intrigue and pathos can be built even into the silliest of original concepts - something I am now experiencing in big-budget productions like Final Space. You were ahead of the curve!

In terms of tablets, I swear by Huions. They are much more affordable than Wacoms and do the job.

Will definitely keep an eye out for your future projects.

TuesdayNightCompany's avatar

LOL "male gaze" is what you see if that's what you're looking for. It's fine. If every woman in the comic was the same kind of curvy (looking at you, mainstream comics) then maybe we could talk. I did notice that Zandra and the bunny-lady Betty have almost the same body but *shrug*

Siansaar's avatar

New comic project? o.o Consider me interested!

Can't say I notice anything especially sexual in that walking comic.

Tselsebar's avatar

Happy Thanksgiving to you as well! This little glimpse definitely has me interested in seeing more of what you may have planned with "Curse of Clarity"! Though yes, please don't hurt yourself in the process. I know all about the joys of getting older (for me it's my eyes and my complete inability to find a distance from my sketchpad that's both visually clear and close enough to see the details).

Creating something in order for your nieces to enjoy is incredibly sweet and also something I can relate to.

As for the rest, I have opinions I'm sure absolutely nobody cares about. ^_^

drmer's avatar

Word of advice: never ask someone for their opinion on artwork if one of the first words out of their mouth is 'male gaze'. That's movie terminology. Also, never ask a woman if another woman is 'too sexy' because the answer will be either 'yes' or something similar. You're better off asking another artist whose work you like OR a gay man.

HocusPocusFocus's avatar

"A potential sequel to Zebra Girl" Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuude yesssssssssssssssssssss!!! Wish you the best on this project. I have fond memories of your comic and I'm so happy to hear there there'll be a possible sequel!

CanRay's avatar

End? I hope not!

Also, love her plushie.

coldfire323's avatar

Ooooooo!! I'm excited by the prospect of a potential sequel. :)

Clarity strikes me as the intelligent kind of girl who will somehow get "Uncle Jack" to spill the beans on such magic and then trick her mother into bestowing it...

MollyFootman's avatar

This is a beautiful comic strip, Joe. I think talking with your sister really helped produce a thing of charm and magic! Good luck and I'll continue trying to keep up with your work.

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