Thursday, December 03, 2015

Small Platelets

This comic generated quite a few comments, ranging from "Horribly funny!" to "You're a sick puppy!" to "I had to Google it, then I laughed for quite a while."

The fact that it got some attention was gratifying, because I'd pursued this idea for a few months before the gag took its final form.

The first sketches featured vampire bats. I reasoned that if a human provided them with a meal, perhaps mosquitoes would serve as appetizers. Here, we see a pair of bats and a sleeping man, in two attempts at a satisfying gag.
These fell flat, but the idea kept stewing. I tried another approach.
This turned out to be worse than the earlier sketches. My intent was to show the advice-dispensing vampire feeding on a smaller victim. Why I drew a Disney-style dwarf is anybody's guess, but it didn't work at all.

Both the dwarf and the maiden look like they're dead, which is disturbing as well as distracting. The only part I liked was the tension created by putting mundane dialog on an unexpected drawing, but this sketch was more confusing than funny.

A few days later, something reminded me of the familiar cartoon image of parents looking at an array of bassinets in a hospital nursery. I thought that would be a perfect setting for this undeveloped vampire gag, and the sketch almost drew itself.
The finished cartoon follows the rough very closely, requiring only a few tweaks and a little cleanup. Finally, the gag made me smile—it uses a common setup in an unexpected way, and it requires almost no dialog.

A cartoon may take only a second or two to read, but it's a safe bet that the artist worked obsessively to edit the drawing and the text, deleted many failed attempts, fretted and agonized over it, and then worried whether the final product would connect with readers.

As always, your comments are most welcome.

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