The Story of a Christmas Web Comic
I think this might be my favourite comic that we have ever run on the site. The strip nearly wasn’t made, as I initially rejected the idea. Neither Shane Ormond (Writer) nor Charlie Aabo (Artist) will ever let me forget this fact. I’ll get back to that, but first of all I wanted to introduce you to the creators:
I met Shane Ormond through the local comic creator meet-up. I did some lettering for him on a short-lived three-panel gag strip in a local magazine. After that, I edited a couple of short scripts of his that were published in local comic anthologies. Later down the line, I ended up editing “The Guards”, a 48-page comic book he wrote, which was published earlier this year. You can buy a physical copy online here. To date, The Guards is probably the comic I am most proud of making.
You can follow Shane on twitter: @horkerspade
Having edited most of Shane’s recent comic work, I like to take full credit for all of his writing successes, including any and all in the future. Charlie Aabo on the other hand, is someone I have learnt a lot from, so no doubt he will be taking credit for my success, whenever that happens. He studied, and later taught at the Joe Kubert school, and probably has more years of experience in making comics than I have reading them. His work has energy, comedy, and character that you rarely see individually, let alone all poured together into one page from the pen of a single creator. Having him on the site is an honour.
You can find his creator-owned work on Comixology here, and I suggest you have a look, and a purchase. When you’re through reading those, you can encourage him to make more by hounding him on Facebook and Twitter:
And if you’re really into it, you can visit his website and embarrass him into updating it:
So anyway, about two months before Christmas last year, I emailed a few friends whose work I admire, asking them to help out on the site over Christmas. Shane got back to me just before deadline with a really unusual script. It had absolutely nothing to do with board games, and was entirely the most bizarre pitch I received.
I turned it down, but it wouldn’t leave my head. After turning it over in my head for a week, I realised I had turned it down for all the wrong reasons. “It didn’t suit the site”, “it wasn’t what the readers would want”, “the audience might not like it or get it”. All terrible, terrible reasons to have broken Shane’s poor, delicate, writer’s heart. I was second-guessing the audience, and afraid to take a risk. The script really made me laugh, and it was completely ridiculous. That was all that should have mattered. By trying to second-guess the audience, I was doing them (you) a disservice.
After changing my mind about running the comic, I discussed it with Aileen, and we decided it would really need the right artist to work. It would not even be worth attempting without someone who could match perfectly its wonderfully absurd tone. There was only one name that fit that bill, and I decided if I couldn’t get Charlie I wouldn’t run the comic – that’s not an exaggeration to flatter, it’s just the truth of the matter.
By the time we had zeroed in on Charlie as our pick for artist, it was too late to use the comic for Christmas. But I liked it enough asked Charlie to have it in for this year, and as luck would have it, 12 months was just about enough time for him to find the time.
Maybe you will love it, maybe you will hate it, maybe you will scratch your head and wonder at the lack of dice and meeples. Either way, I feel I made the right call, but would nonetheless love to hear your thoughts on it.