This is a “load bearing” joke

Not much to report this week. I’m working on the first issue of new series of The Tick, among other things.  But they’ll more to report and show off on that later.

For now let’s look at a new Arsenic Lullaby comic, and I’ll give you some behind the scenes insight on it- the making of it, the constructing of the joke itself in comic book form.

Okay, so…the kid thinks he’s getting money for his front teeth but then realizes his foot has been amputated and the money is for that.  Eh…solid, but not the funniest thing I ever came up with.  Some jokes though, serve a larger purpose.  This is to be in a collection of 60 some odd pages of Arsenic Lullaby and it will serve to break up the rhythm.   Much like telling jokes in stand up comedy, or playing  live music, you have to keep the crowd from getting used to what you are doing or there won’t be the same punch.

The most important part of this joke and possibly the soul reason it made the cut is that last panel.  After 30 or 40 pages of a reader laughing at horrible things, they can become..numb to it. That last long panel with nothing but the kid looking at you…that serves to remind the reader that there are victims here, that these things are awful…for someone.  That’ll ” cleanse the pallet ” as they say, so that they can be jolted into laughter in other parts of the book.

That’s that’s the why.  Now for the how.

The difficult part about this one is that it is a joke that relies on one visual- the missing foot.  If you read the first panel and happen to notice the panel with the foot…well, the joke is spoiled. ( keep in mind, that this is made for a book…so you can’t rely on readers only seeing the first two panels and then scrolling down.  The reader sees everything at once…trick is to (hopefully) keep them from noticing such a detail until you want them too.  You do what you can to hide a visual when it’s the punch line in and of itself.

I stuck it in the mid-right side (where often your hand would be…this one will be on a even numbered page for that reason).  I made the panel pretty uninteresting visually and the lines lead the eye to the panels to the left of it or down.  The three panels of the kid’s face help with timing but they also reduce the tendency of the readers eyes going to where the main characters eyes are looking (in this case to the leg/stump).  If it was just one panel of him looking, the reader’s eye would naturally be lead to what he is looking at.  The repetition of that image neuters that and also makes it more boring visually. In an attempt to keep fleeting glances at this page focused on the top two panels I have  the fairy’s posture go in an eye leading circle around the top of the page.  In some cases…people will still happen to see his amputated leg.  (Shrug) You do what you can…and besides, the long panel at the bottom is what matters.

That’s all for now…go to the online store and get some stuff!

Coupon Code- spring17- is good for 20% off your total order!
So go there, look around…and if you happen to see a glitch or one of those little boxes with an “x” in it where an image should be, or some stock picture of a model where an image should be…please let us know, so we can fix it.

Yes, that includes original artwork…

and don’t forget to come see me later this month in St.Paul at the MSP Comicon!

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