E = b = E
And the road goes ever on round through over under beyond;
and we go with it,
into darkness without end or light without mercy,
across oceans of words and storms of ideas
to vague release and merciful blankness
like the final page of a book turning
to the back cover and end.
Jonathan Nolan 2015
The discipline of sticking within a 10 page boundary for a chapter of the Swamp Man story is invigorating. As fun and easy as it would be to do the postmodern thing of having four pages of conversation, an ass shot then two pages of someone walking away, I think for micro publishers like my Flying Tiger Comics we have to stick to el rapido storytelling. Half or third page splash with an occasional full page when it is needed- and cram the details and the exposition in.
Since Swamp Man is a little bit like Twin Peaks or Passions in that the stubs of future storylines litter the pages, the pace needs to be medium- jogging along then each later chapter can drill down or expand a certain aspect. It helps to have it planned out as far as possible- but it’s also important to remember #StanLee ‘s statement- just write what the characters tell you to write. As long as the characters are speaking to you- they’re alive, and they’ll find their audience.
Swamp Man TM is part of the Conundrum Universe TM & (c) 2015 Jonathan Nolan all rights reserved worldwide.
So what am I saying here? Is the god Pan/Faunus, or the Genius Loci the source of the panic that seems to be self evident in some of the cases in the Missing 411 books, Todd Sees, and the Dyatlov Pass incident? In a way, yes. It is believed by academics that many of the ancient gods arose out of the need to explain natural phenomena, which the people of the time lacked the scientific knowledge to understand (Thor, god of Thunder, explained why the sky shook; there was a god that lived “up there” and was doing it). I think it is more complicated than that but it’s a good start. So accepting this one can then make a rather bold assertion, and that is that the idea of panic in forests is something that has been with humanity for a long time, at least since the Greeks. What or who is Pan, or the power behind the myth? That is the real question here.
I’ve reached several times in recent years for a kind of comic scripting which would allow me to explore with a new audience ideas that a decade ago I would have simply exorcised through writing a novel. I decided against writing a novel because the fire that once motivated me very strongly to write books is, at least for now, gone.
Instead, I wanted to make a comicbook exploring the same issues that came into my head:
1. a self aware comicbook character in the redheaded teen mode – from Archie to Jimmy Olsen – who didn’t break the fourth wall but who did despair of the endless looping existence of which he was the epicentre; I tried this previously with JT Neslo but that was too derivative- a single idea spread too thin;
2. the Swampman thought experiment combined with Mossman and Pere Malfait lore from Florida;
3. a non-Satanic working with symbols and secret messages- a way to put encryption into a comicbook for a non-sinister purpose. I feel personally that there is a definite luciferian aspect to some comics, not necessarily the ones people might immediately jump on either;
4. since comicbook writing and drawing is my hobby, but a serious hobby, I wanted to implement the powerthinking techniques I’ve learned recently in a form where it can express itself in something concrete;
5. I wanted to do a comic whose artwork would be vibrant and delightful when printed, not just a digital comicbook whose charms are entirely different. The Swamp Man book will be digital as well- but this is intended to actually literally be a graphic novel- written as would one of my earlier novels have been, but translated into comicbook long form.
To the extent I succeed this will be one of the projects closest to my heart.
Swamp Man and all related characters and images are TM & (c) Jonathan Nolan 2015 and following all rights reserved worldwide.