Friday, October 4, 2013

It's all Fiction, but it Comes From Somewhere Real

Not so long, long ago in and not nearly as far as a galaxy far, far away:

Two summers ago my former place of employment rellocated to new office space and I no longer had to commute through King St. to get to work. It was a breakwater moment for the King St. Capers - -

It felt weird not seeing Mr. Minestrone every day, not seeing Beard-o, not seeing his Tim-Hortons-toting companion with the concert t-shirt and side-stepping all the cigarette butts laying all over the sidewalk. But, the new officespace was really great and most attractive were the big scenic windows at my workstation.

The sun pored through the glass warming everyone and everything. It was brilliant, in both the colloquial and literal sense of the word. And as much as the old characters I used to spot / detest every day on my way to work were in my past (though still only a few blocks away) I was unprepared for the new cast of characters that I'd be able to see, not only on my daily commute, but through the window while I was working. 

Crackhead is one of the guys.  

More after the break - - 

You can see I drew the crackhead-behind-the-tree element separate and then layered it in to the final product. I drew a second Crackhead to include in other iterations of the strip. Ultimately, I think the quality / fidelity of the final image suffered for it. It came out blurry and garbled. A lesson learned. Images need to be created much larger if they're going to be included in composite products.

Panels 3 & 4 feature in "Have to be on Crack" and "This Street Sucks," panel 2 is "Casual Fridays" (which was fun to make!) and Panel 1 is "Case of the Mondays".

- - continued

Crackhead is a bit of a conglomeration of many of the people down at street level in the busy dirt parking lot located across the street from a downtown Tim Hortons. There was a LOT of weird foot traffic. One guy looked like a cracked-up Bob Dylan, lots of folks with tatoos and baby buggies, and plenty more smokers just ... standing around doing whatever it is they enjoy doing while they smoke all the time.

However, with no need to return to King St., I sort of forgot what it was all about, lost the feel for actually walking down the road and just being pissed off at every step while people stepped out of the parking garage and flicked and tossed torched cigarettes to the pavement.

This past Crackhead story arc was a fun integration of how the two worlds might have interrupted one another had they ever converged. Don't get me wrong, there were a load of crackheads on King St., but they were more "down by the river" types than they were "out in front of the barber" types.

The guys in the parking lot between Tim Hortons and downtown - - those crackheads are the "out and about" types. They were on the go. In any case, it was fun bringing those elements together into the Capers, and especially as it all culminates in a big cameo appearance from another out-of-towner that Ontarians will definitely recognize.

And the Business Man @ Home bits are sort of a more modern extension of my work experience, too. While the drug-addled chaos from King St. remeained outside the office, inside the conversation and articles I was writing revolved continuously upon discussing improvements in the workplace, human resources, health and safety, and other business matters.

I suppose the creation of Business Man can be considered a result of the Culture Shock from spending your days in an environment where you're continuously researching and discussing those workplace issues, and then having all that crash into the unadulterated ego of a toddler, fulltime.

Ultimately, this is all a work of fiction, but it's derived from a very real place from no-so-long ago, and just around the corner.
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Hey there, I am glad you have taken the time to leave a comment. Thanks - I am looking forward to reading it.