Sunday, April 24, 2022

Finally, Tracey. Sort of.

Early Tracey from Strugglers
When I first moved from my obsession/homage hero series Arche-Lady, I took a stab at slice-of-life--very loosely inspired by some reality. I wrote, drew, and made copies of Strugglers and Cavalcade of Boys as one-shots (I think they were both ~ 64 pages?) to sell at conventions. It became clear pretty quickly that Strugglers needed a bit more work, while Cavalcade was snapped up with a demand for "more."
From there, Cavalcade morphed into a series, and much later, I completed and published Strugglers as the OGN you can buy today. In Strugglers, three recent college graduates, Tighe, Midge, and Tracy, grapple with finding their respective paths. My original intention was to follow it with spin-off stories featuring each of the three roommates in their own graphic novels.
If you take the Cavalcade one-shot, plus issue zero, plus the flashback sequence of issue six, you pretty much have Tighe's OGN, though it was never packaged that way. Together, it forms a post-Strugglers look as the character comes into his own personhood, into his late 20s.
In fits and starts I wrote and drew Midge's solo story in Baby Makes Three. Here, Midge is in her mid-30s having a baby with her husband, as they try to balance adult responsibility and life's passions. This project took so much longer than I hoped... but finally up on ComiXology as an OGN for you!
Tracey's Love is the Reason cameo
At the conclusion of Strugglers, Tracey wins a song contest, which kicks off her career as a singer/songwriter. That kind of made her a natural to work into other works in cameos. She appears briefly in Love is the Reason and Baby Makes Three. And there's a name drop in "Things Don't Always Suck."

In the back of my head, I knew what Tracey's story was going to be, but it was pushed back--I wasn't ready to write about her, or write the story I knew I'd write.
Until now!
As Tighe aged up with me when I wrote Cavalcade, and Midge aged up with me when I wrote Baby, Tracey too ages up with me now as I write Tracey in the 16th Minute as my grad school thesis project.
I'm advised not to talk about my project too much, so I'll avoid particulars for now! But I'm happy to tell you about the format: to start, I am writing the story as a screenplay for my thesis project. Why screenplay? Have I raised my sights to film? No. But I do have some solid reasons for this decision:
  1. Knowing of my comics career, my professors thought I'd lean into it for my thesis project and write and draw an OGN as my thesis project. Indeed, that was my intention when I first applied. I like to defy expectations, sometime.
  2. Perhaps most importantly, writing comics, I write to my strengths and weaknesses as an artist. So, my art would be guiding me... and I wanted to break free from that, and truly focus on writing the story.
  3. My thesis advisor has lots of Hollywood screenplays to his credit (I mean, actually turned into movies) and writing this under his tutelage won't hurt!
  4. Tracey's Baby Makes Three appearance.
    Dartmouth catalogues thesis projects in their library. So I'll be on record with a screenplay having gone through an academic review. This will formally speak to my ability to write for the screen. Many years ago, when Cavalcade was under consideration to become a TV show, I wasn't considered at all for writing duties, without any screenwriting to my credit. Not that Tracey will ever get filmed, but it's something.
  5. I can always re-write the story as an OGN and draw it. And, in some format, fulfill my original idea of the quartet of short graphic novels.

That's not much of a preview... but all you're getting for now. I've just finished my first draft, and it'll take a few more before I'm ready to talk details.

Someday, maybe you can download it via Dartmouth. Or you might read it as OGN. 

Let's see how it plays out!

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