John "The Gneech" Robey (the_gneech) wrote,
John "The Gneech" Robey

Taggedity Tag Tag

Well, I got the tags done on the new NN site. It's been very illuminating, going back and systematically analyzing each strip from start to (current) end to pick out characters, references, and recurring motifs, some of which I was aware of and some of which I wasn't.

For example, "seasons" is a motif that made a point of bringing up a lot early on, sort of lost in the middle, and then started working back in later. On the other hand, the Poink! sound effect started out strong and fell off later, to the point where the tag actually fell out of "the tag cloud" because it didn't have enough references. Signs came and went and came again, being prominent in my art and Sue's, but absent from Higgins' or Tiffany's.

It was also very interesting to watch the art go all over the map. I've said before and I still maintain that Sue's art is the closest I've ever seen to what NeverNever "looks like" in my head, and in some ways I think my art was closer to that early on than it was in the later stretches of my run as the artist, even though the later art was more proficient generally. Compared to Sue's rich lines and curves, my earlier work was muddy but at least had a certain baroque texture ... later it was often quite sparse.

I was also impressed, going back and looking at it again, at how beautiful Higgins' color work was, especially in the meeting of the Black Knight and the Dark Lord of the Abyss. I gather that some people were less-than-kind to Hig, and I've always felt bad about that. Neither the format nor the circumstances around his coming aboard NN really let him play to his strengths. Ditto Tiffany, whose short run on the strip put her in the awkward position of trying to jump into Sue's shoes instead of work in her own style, and that's not a fair thing to do to an artist.

Finally, I was surprised at how well the narrative actually held together, considering it was written in fits and spurts over the course of a decade. While I, the writer, have changed quite a bit in that time, the setting, tone, and characters for the most part have remained very consistent, and even the parts I'm less-than-thrilled with, actually work pretty well when seen as part of the whole. I think that may be because NeverNever is, in some ways, more of its own world than Suburban Jungle. NN has a strong central premise and its themes and motifs arise naturally out of that, giving it a very cohesive structure (as comic strips go), whereas SJ was a more typical artist's playground, where I could just throw in anything and everything that was on my mind at the time ... often leaving myself a rather large mess to clean up. SJ had more rope, narratively speaking, for me to hang myself with.

Anyway! Woof. That was a big project. :) Next steps, get the Cast Page, About the Strip, Artist Bios and such up, then do something with the look and feel of the site. That out-of-the-box Comicpress template has got to go! But that's for another night.

-The Gneech
Tags: comics, nevernever
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