Making The Grade

This is my comic submission for an upcoming publication called Blood and Thunder. It should be out in early March. Knowing the publisher, Leigh Rigozzi, I'm sure it's gonna be a million miles above spectacular. He's an incredible cartoonist and zine maker who's been making and creating for as long as I've known him. He was at the Tasmanian School of Art when I started there 10 years ago. I wish I had gotten to know him better back then, but I was waaaayyyy more interested in spending my time trying to woo a beautiful blonde Tasmanian lass named Briony.

Leigh now lives in Sydney and is part of the team that runs the Rizzeria, a printing workshop that includes a magical RISO printer. Imagine a regular copier that instead of making regular copies, it screenprints. Yes, it's that cool. The very mention of its name to many cartoonists will produce spontaneous drooling and speaking in tongues.

If you're ever in Sydney, find those guys at the Rizzeria and marvel. Just marvel.


FerGil said...

MAN, I used to miss the daily updates, but have to be honest. Today, your comic is AMAZING. It is absolutely mind-blowing. I loved the teacher character, the way it puts pressure on the students and the even harder pressure on himself... I think the lettering is SO in tune to the story, and... well, I think I could go on for quite a while, surprising for such a short story... but hey, you remember feeling unsure about your talent? dude, FORGET ABOUT THAT, you have it, oh, you have it.

Matt said...

Wow! What a moving comic. It's astonishing how much you can say in just four short pages; you've perfectly captured the insecurities and nagging little doubts that we all have. After having read your Civil War comic many times, I'm truly impressed by the range of your talent. Another wonderful achievement, Chris.

Tyler said...

wow. rad work man, i dig your style!

CW said...

Tick! A+


(Word verification "word" was "elitio")

Anthony Woodward said...

Very impressive Chris! I can't wait to see the book either

Box Brown said...

wow! totally impressive work! Great gimmick. Keep up the amazing work.

John said...

Excellent work... again ;)

Sam Spina said...

whoa man! i love the use of color in this. So good

Jason said...

nice narrative use of color, dude!

El Gato Negro company said...

oh wow!! your stories are so good!!
i liked the daily comics, but waiting is sooo much more worth it!!
i love your work man!!

Chris said...

As one commenter put it, 'great gimmick', but I think that this could be a lot more.

I think that this 'gimmick' is an amazing opportunity to show that this man is more than a caricature - that he knows his students well and himself better.

In his markings on the students' papers I want to see the connection between him and his students - that Student X has made this mistake again. Perhaps even suggest that he defines his students by their mistakes.

His markings on himself seem a bit horoscopic - "You're not fooling anyone" could apply to anybody. While that's fine for some of the comments, he should also be cutting deeper into himself.

- What poor decision did he make that put him in this job he hates?
- Did he get the chance to say "I love you" to his mother before she died?
- Did he ever treat somebody cruelly and not be man enough to apologize?

I'm just throwing out examples to try to describe my point: we all have specific regrets and self-criticisms and I think that what is so interesting is that this is an opportunity to define a man by his view of himself during a low-point in his life/day/afternoon. If there are more humanizing specifics, I think that it really gives the reader a chance to paint the picture of this man in their own head.

All that said, I really, really enjoyed this. Keep up the good work!

Christopher Downes said...

Thank you everyone for the amazing comments! I've been a bit nervous about making stories that aren't based on my own personal experiences. (Although, I've got quite a few more of those to tell.)

One of my biggest worries with this comic was that the character was too generic. But then, I kind of wanted him to be the type of ineffectual man that you pass on the street who avoids eye contact and henceforth passes out of your memory like water through a sieve.

I agree with Chris's statement that I could have made his self-criticisms much more personal and revealing, but that would have called for more story (something which I'm embarrassed to admit, I didn't have time to develop - my deadline had already come and gone.)

Chris, whoever you are, I really appreciate the thoughtful comment and will endeavor to further round out my characters in future stories.

To everyone else - you are the spring in my step that causes me to burst out in uncontrolled skipping. In public, without any care for what the rest of the world might think!

John said...

Thoughtful, non-attacking criticism. That's nice to get sometimes. Even if you don't agree with it.

Christopher Downes said...

Hey John,

I actually DO agree with it. I'm just singing a sob story of why I didn't take the character further. Yeah, it was nice to get, though. And definitely something to keep in mind in my future stories.

John said...

I didn't mean to imply that you didn't agree with the comment. I meant 'you' in the general sense. Failure of syntax, I suppose.