Here's a truly awesome piece of chicken art by Chris De Joya, who came to the Toycon to get a copy of Elmer. He wrote me a few days later to give me this, and I'm just speechless. Thanks Chris!
Lace Llanora sent over a question (via Az) with regards to Elmer: Why do the chickens talk?
That's actually a very nice question, something I would like to write about here. There are two answers to this question, one from the point of view of me as the writer/artist of the comic book, and another within the context of the story.
The decision to do a comic book with talking chickens really came from me doing endless "What If?"s about anything and everything. What if cats were really aliens sent here to observe humans? What if the TV programs and movies are the real world and the world we're living in is really just one big movie? What if nobody died but continued to age and age and age? What if chickens could talk? It's just one of those things.
But I've always been fascinated by chickens and I have lots of fun watching them peck and crow and act jittery and paraoid when disturbed. They seem to have a perpetually angry look in their eyes that it makes me wonder what goes on in their tiny little minds. What if they could suddenly feel and think and talk just like humans? The idea in itself is a bit funny, but I wanted to approach it seriously, and see where it would take me.
In the context of the comic book itself, the reason why chickens can talk won't really be addressed. I don't want to explain how it happened, be it divine intervention or a sudden leap in evolution, chicken warriors from fowl planet or acts of the devil. To do so would add a fantastic element to the story that would disrupt the kind of story I want to tell, which is a straight drama.
The story begins with the chickens already evolved and intelligent and are already part of normal society. That's pretty much what I tried to establish in issue #1. Issue #2 would flashback to the beginning, with the sudden evolution of the chickens and how they and the world coped with it.
To Wylz Gutierrez, my message to you bounced back, telling me that the email you entered doesn't exist. Please send me a message again so I can reply to you with my working email. Yes, you can send me your chicken art and I can post it here. Don't worry, I'll take care of cleaning it and fixing it in the computer. Thanks man!
Ogie sends a message: "When are you going to do comics that my nieces can read?"
Ha! ha! You got me there, Ogie! Honestly, my story choices aren't orchestrated in any way. I just write what I feel like writing and draw what I feel like drawing. And when I look at the stories I have done I really have to wonder, baffled, why my stories always seem to be unsafe for young children to read.
To be honest, the project I had originally planned on doing after ELMER was not only unsafe for kids, but was "For Adults Only". "Where Bold Stars Go To Die" is something I've written many years ago. I think I've had it since 1999, completely written. It was something I had passed on to two different artists, but in the end, I decided I just had to draw it myself. It's a short story, 24 pages at the most, and should be not much of a problem, except that the story will be populated by a lot of half naked girls. I don't know why I subjected myself to do it as drawing women is something I still struggle with. Perhaps this is something that would help me iron that out.
Upon reflection... I changed my mind about doing Bold Stars after Elmer. In fact, I think I'll be pushing it waaay back. I think I want to take a break from serious stories that only older readers can appreciate. I think it's about time I did something that kids can read, something that my folks can proudly present to our priest and nun friends, and something that I could have a lot of fun doing.
So I came up with the idea for an all-ages adventure story called "The Adventures of Miko and Jec-Jec", starring a brother and sister teen team and their dog Eugene. Each story would take them all across the Philippines on a variety of exciting and dangerous adventures. The whole Miko and Jec-Jec universe was developed and is still being developed by both me and my wife Ilyn, a project I'm involved with that she's most enthusiastic about.
I was supposed to do this now after Elmer, but there is a possibility that I may have the opportunity to have it published and have it read nationwide, which is great, but it also means I have to move the schedule up to this year, within the next couple of months, even. Since it will be serialized over a long period of time, my schedule for ELMER won't be affected too much, so those waiting for #2 don't have to worry too much if it so happens I take on this additional project alongside it.