Does an image, or series of images, or plot seer itself into your mind with such intensity you need to exorcise it? I thought about this ENDLESS WAR five-panel comic based on the reward I would win for a contest I entered. Even if I lose, I still enjoyed the journey of drawing comics for my previous entry, so I’m going to do the same again. This time, I made note of timestamps, for reference.
This first panel took 24 minutes to draw.
While I drew it, I listened to an exclusive questions-and-answers podcast, where one of the answers meandered on a topic of creativity. There are many novels I could be reading, games I could be playing, and other activities I could be doing, regardless of being impaired by my spine’s condition, and yet this is how I chose to spend 24 minutes. I still watch anime, and may watch an episode of something if I don’t feel exhausted after writing this essay, but actively participating in something creatively is always going to be my first choice if I have my full energy and full faculties.
If not, I’m fine with meandering through someone else’s creativity.
In this first panel, three of us go to get my reward.
As the unspoken narrative of this comic goes, since I had previously won a princep – an in-game valuable prize, I would need to go to the Killer base to receive my prize. In-game, I am now playing as a Staydead, which is independent from the two major factions, but I had previously played as a Killer, so it makes sense that I’d go to the Killer base over the Rowdy base. I based my drawing on a picture from the PCP Dating Sim of St. Ben’s Cathedral, a place where one of the kingpins of the game resides.
Since the image seared into my imagination, it was easy to draw.
This second panel took 10 minutes to draw.
In life, we tend to think of people in power – in-game Kingpins, out-of-game bosses or celebrities – as these figures to be reverent toward. Sure, I might try to edit my writing more when addressing certain people, but I think that has more to do with general relations than anything else. My character somewhat reflects that, too, being a sort of character that’s “just vibin'” in the vicious world of ENDLESS WAR. So he, of course, would directly address the Kingpin and say what he wants.
It’s a silly idea, but I think it’ll work well.
This third panel took 16 minutes to draw.
The contest is about building or establishing lore. I had asked the other Kingpin, who tends to get into the chatrooms and converse with players more, if there was any lore surrounding the princeps. Nope. What I like about this game is that since everything is canon, I can pitch my ideas, and if people like it, that can become the codified version, until something else. My idea, although somewhat crude, is that a princep is formed by taking one of the idle Juvies – a fourth player type, one that is often played for gameplay reasons, but is looked down on culturally for its neutrality – and putting them through a machine that turns them into the princep.
It’s a vulgar idea, but I found it funny enough as the basis for my comic.
This fourth panel took 16 minutes to draw.
I had originally wanted to zoom in closer to the Mr. Saturn plushie, but that’s the thing I’m starting to develop with my artistic skills as I practice them more. I can zoom the camera around the set, in my mind, or change the angles. I’m a reluctant artist because I haven’t yet found that balance between storytelling and artistic merit, but the more drawings I do, the less of that barrier I feel, and the more likely I could integrate comics like these into my own personal stories. For now, though, this is a nice environment for me to jam on ideas, since people in the community like my art, so I’ll keep at it until I find myself disliking the community, atmosphere, or other factors arise.
For now, though, it’s nice having a flexible group of acquaintances in a lore-rich world.
This fifth panel took 20 minutes to draw.
I had the idea that the character on the right would be repulsed by the process, while my character in the middle and the character on the left would be happy with the new object, with the Kingpin waving us three off, as two characters stand guard. It’s kind of a silly idea overall, but I’m happy enough with it. I don’t know how much time I’ll spend coloring and detailing everything, but that I have solid-enough lines to work with, the rest of the process shouldn’t be too bad. I’m glad that I’m doing this drawing-then-writing process so reign back the creative process. It’s helpful to draw, think about the process, and do other things in life, too, so I can tend to other things in life.
Here’s what I wrote for flavor text for my princep item:
A small, eccentric stuffed animal. You’re not sure how this cute thing arrived in the vicious world of NLACakaNM, but seeing it makes you feel more at ease. There’s a button on it that plays this strange music. [There’s a link to the Saturn Valley theme.]
I wasn’t sure what item to custom-build and decided on that innocuous item.
Others have gone all out with various things, and while that’s cool, I figure what I would want to do for these sorts of cultural contributions is figure out ways to integrate new thoughts into the existing world. It’s a useful practice, so while I don’t exactly recommend ENDLESS WAR for that, if you can find a world where you can meddle around with the details, it can be rewarding from a storytelling development perspective.
|Quotes:  One of the other players that encouraged me to do some drawings early on. We hadn’t caught up in a bit so when I showed him the first drafts, that was one of the things he said.|
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: This idea itself was based on getting the prize, and how my character would go about getting it.|
|Related: Other Media Meandry essays.|
|Pictures: Once I’m done, I’ll have a ZIP of all the in-progress shots. It’s 2.25 MB right now, which would just be wasted space, I suppose, when the final draft will include artist’s notes and such.|
|Written On: 2020 August 13 [1:04am to 1:44am]|
|Last Edited: 2020 August 13 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|