One thing I often get asked by people who have been following me for a while is: “What ever happened to The Big D?” For those who aren't in the know, The Big D was a Sin City rip-off comic I ran a few years back following a noir detective who had a penis for a head. The idea was formulated in 2012 from a funny mistake while sketching. I ran with it, it got a laugh and then I didn't do anything with it. About a year later I decided to make a short webcomic called The Big D, putting this character in a noir setting. The lack of response other than 'LOL he is a dick' after the amount of hard work put into it stung. And what did I expect? That was as deep as the idea got. In truth, I'm not even sure if I liked the idea or if I was just excited by the idea of others liking it.
I then started trying to write a second issue. I think I created a whole story, thumbnailed pages, drew quite a few out, and had 2 of them painted before I realised that it was all built on nothing. It didn't matter how well I executed it because the story was so bad. So the next logically step seemed to be to contact a writer about doing a short standalone collaboration. I'd gotten too into ideas of a big main story and just wanted it to be fun again. I got in touch with a writer through Reddit called Louis. He's a great writer and wrote the whole thing faster than I could draw it. I got the whole thing thumbnailed out (which doesn't look like much, but man that is that hard) and painted up to page 8 before I realised that the project was still just too big. Or more, the crazy amount of work just wouldn't be worth someone skimming through and saying “lol he's a dick” all over again. I kept trying to plow through but eventually pulled the plug. I feel super bad, even now, for Louis who had grinded the script out and didn't get to see it come to fruition.
I'd like to say that The Big D was the only time I made this mistake, but I can safely tell you that the most viewed image on my Deviantart is a satire comic about Ash from Pokemon being a sad war vet. Unfortunately that one struck a chord with 13 year old Pokemon fans and, even now, I get comments telling me how emotionally compelling it is.
I learned some key lessons from these experiences. Its easier to make something that's a joke than it is to make something that you care about, but ultimately that's just a defence mechanism against exposing the real you. Because that would make you vulnerable to people's opinions, and that can hurt. I liked that people found my idea funny, until I realised no one really cared about it. Myself included. You can't expect people to care about something you yourself don't really care about. At the end of the day, using a cheap joke or gimmick in an attempt to engage people will leave you with nothing.
What it really taught me is that you have to love what you do. I listened to people's reactions before even taking a moment to consider what I enjoy. If I at least loved my idea, it wouldn't have mattered what anyone else thought. The last few years I've been feeling out what art is about for me, and its proving to be an endless and fulfilling discovery process. Nowadays, there's never a question about whether or not anyone else will enjoy my work, because I'm only satisfied when I enjoy looking at it.
I wanted to write this post to bury any past projects in hopes of moving onto something with more substance. Hopefully this will also help people understand why I cringe whenever people ask me “What ever happened to The Big D?”