As we start to wrap up the chapter I figured I’d share my loose idea process about the comic. Changeling from the start has been about my weird association with pop culture and what we accept about it. Sort of the examinations of these basic continuations that we may or may not question or even notice.
I talked to my sister yesterday who didn’t get that the Jeff Seiberts in Chapter 1 and 2 both died. The purpose of that was lost on her though hopefully seeing Jeff die again, on screen, it might avoid the classic trope of “the villain isn’t dead unless you see it.” Offscreen gunshots and crumbling buildings are not the panacea to the end of the mortal coil on this occasion. Here Jeff is dead dead as the other Jeff Seiberts are also dead dead. This was a challenge I’d honestly not foreseen but my reasoning behind was because I’m not really one for violence. Heroes and villains decorated in blood pummeling each other into shapeless messes doesn’t really appeal to me. For me the stories I tell are about ideas and views of how we see things.
The very first chapter was the skewing of the van in the woods trope from Scooby Doo. This evolution of the scene where a minor change drops the scene into the realm of the paranormal that ends up mired in the mundane. Human emotions run high, friendships are broken and C.R.E.A.M. mentality leads to the death of the first Jeff. It was shaky and slow and given the nature of the multiple realities that I am attempting to build here, I might well revisit it. As I see it the naturally chaotic universe means that Jeff survived as much as he died when he opened that chest which is to say, all forms of infinite possibility equally happened and did not (but that idea is best saved for the next chapter).
The second chapter was a somewhat mixed attempt (partially due to stress and my tendency to write out chapters in whole chunks). My goal was to create this small town world and an origin for Jeff, the detective we met in the first chapter. He developed a starting cast and originally my plan was to build this massive world inside this small town. CJS’s, the 4th World themed restaurant run by an alternate Chris Sims was as far as that really got to. The city and much of what existed in it was destroyed by the very real event of losing everything on my computer.
What was going to be this multi part exploration of this city and the characters within became shortened. Jeff died and that city disappeared as my map had. This isn’t to say that we will never return, after all the murderer of Jeff Seibert is left ambiguous maybe in some weird symbolism connected to my subconscious.
As far as the ideas it was the very idea of continuity that I fought against. In my one film studies class the teacher showed us the opening of Danger Man (something I need to see). One of the things that it worked with was a decent portion of stock photography. The car changed but we accepted that it was continuously the same vehicle. I wanted to mess with that idea of continuity and acceptance of things as they are.I think I messed it up too much though – adding in a weird version of Death and a narrator that I quickly abandoned in a fuax-Kirby style (I’d not read Kirby’s works then) made the second chapter far from what it should have been. For that, I apologize.
And so we finally reach chapter 3. Doctor Who. Some obscure comics industry references to Nate Cosby (the soul and originator of the COSBOOM) and Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente. Their work on The Incredible Hulk and Hercules were fun for me and I sought to honor them in a weird science fiction mashup. The Doctor Who fell slightly into self parody but I was going for some more overt humor in this chapter and most of the time, I don’t find care for the jokes I write so it is hard to tell if you, the reader did either.
I decided to paint the Doctor’s stand-in in a very different light though. The Dodger down to his name is a creature of distraction. You see him acting wacky around Jeff to hide the fact that he knows there is danger and he seems to know that Jeff is going to die. And then when chaos begins, he is immediately in control. He subverts the ideals of the Doctor we know. His sonic screwdriver is a much different machine using a different and somewhat more mundane brand of pseudo-science (inspired by Matt Fraction’s autotuner). Then when the Dodger pulls out his gun, he turns into this gung-ho character. He knows where to shoot and he knows who to sacrifice. He restores the status quo and removes the dangers to the world, leaving it as it has been. And then when he returns to his ship, it is unsubtly a coffin. He is an angel of death simultaneously immortal only by bringing death to those around him and leaving with no explanation.
Though with all of this said, the chapter is not over. I’ll see you Tuesday.