For understanding the commentary for this and the following three strips, reading this commentary first is necessary.
In March, 2000, I had some time off for spring break (the last week of March and the first week in April in Japan.) and I decided to take a little vacation. I went to Malaysia. Before I went, I knew about a half dozen very talented artists in Kuala Lumpur and Kuching, and made plans to meet them. Overall, it was a wonderful vacation, and it was just a great time overall. Beyond the artists I knew before, I met even more talented people. Since I left Kuala Lumpur, I have been aching to go back again.
Of course, whenever I go and meet new artists, I have an agenda. That agenda is to get them to draw a panel of a comic. Obviously, if you’ve made it this far, you know about the jam comics, and how important they are to me as a log of people I’ve met. In this case, I sketched out 4 comics I wanted to do, and had people draw the panels they wanted to do the most — two Suicide Girl strips, a Mike strip, and a Madame X strip. It was a real thrill and a kick to have these talented Malaysian artists draw a panel for me. And if I have my way, I’ll be back with some more layouts ready for you Malaysians to draw.
For the first half of my trip, I stayed in Kuala Lumpur with Eisu. When I got off the plane, the first thing I noticed was how GREEN it was. Not the pale tree green I’m so used to, but real deep greens. and there was forest everywhere. The KL International Airport is just a beautiful airport, and the road that leads to it, filled with lush green forests, is just as beautiful.
From there I met the artists from the Multimedia College, and the local anime artist group. Everyone was great, and Eisu and Zid! kept me laughing. Wonderful group of people, and a total thrill to meet them. I’ll repeat that several times in these commentaries, just to makes sure you get the point — these guys are great.
Just a note that these comics aren’t presented in order of completion, so sometimes the notes are a little out of order.
This comic features work by two people I respect and admire, and have respeceted and admired for years prior to actually meeting them — Eisu and Aimo. Eisu had already done just a great panel for the Madame X strip, and wanted to do one more. So the guy takes out a brush pen, totally skips pencilling, and whips out the second panel. And of course, Eisu apologizes for using just a brush pen, while I sit in amazement wondering how I could utilize a brush pen like that. Fucking cool, I thought. Though everytime I use a brush pen and fuck up a panel is HIS fault, for making it look so easy.
Aimo, bless her heart, managed to get a panel done herself. That panel is one of a few odes to “Ren and Stimpy” that slip in to the comic every once in a while, My own panels were the first and last.. the first panel wasn’t that interesting to anyone to do, and the last panel.. well, you know why no one would touch it. I spent a lot of time with the first panel after what Eisu did with his brush pens, working on light and darks.
The Aimo and Eisu panels were done in Multimedia College near Kuala Lumpur. My panels were done my hotel room in Kuching a day or so later.
Believe it or not, this strip has a bit of controversy behind it. It has to do with which thread it belongs to. The perl scripts I wrote basically sort the comics supposing them to belong to one thread only. This one is kind of odd, because it belongs to two threads, and because of the limitations of the script, I had to figure out which thread it belonged to the best.
Every once in a while, I’ll get an E-mail telling me that this strip is in the wrong thread. Well, hopefully people will read this before E-mailing me. There are convincing arguments for adding this comic to either thread. The reason this is not in the Fairy Tale/Parody thread is because it’s not really a parody of anything. Well, in the end, I am telling you it was an executive decision. (EDIT: In the end I fixed the script so it could fit in multiple threads)