Man, what the heck are you doing here? You were probably directed to this site via some old link or an out-of-date minicomic.
Chasing Comets has moved to tumblr!
So change your bookmarks and RSS feeds and such, since that’s where I’ll be posting cool, new, and boring stuff from now on. And eventually I’ll get a legitimate website.
I am a child.
And I will not be one for much longer.
The steps I take now will define the path I’ll tread beyond the facade of sunflowers that lines the border of my life and the soft green hills which soften my falls. If I continue pacing around, the circle my footsteps form will mark where the earth gives way beneath my feet. I cannot catalog the struggles I will face as I leave this place, the trials which lie beyond my teetering and puzzling sanctum of solace. But I can prepare. I can refine myself. I can steady myself and strengthen myself and take in a deep breath and love myself.
My time is limited here. My friends are nagging me to wrap up my meticulous scribbling over my character sheet so the campaign can begin. There may not be a girl wearing a shirt with grief-stricken turtles, but my reflection has grown impatient and is walking out from the window.
And though my time is limited out there as well, I can decide now who I will be. I can pick some of my fights; I can choose my role and earn the support of my comrades. I hope, at the very least, that I have the foresight to prevent myself from becoming my own enemy. Beyond that gate, the antagonistic EAA would not just be a detriment in my own struggles, but an opponent of my own allies, and worse yet, a direct attack on my principles, on the things I treasure.
I cannot stop myself from becoming a member of the old generation. This is an inevitability. But I can use the precious minutes I have to help create the new era, as well as prevent myself from becoming someone who will destroy it or attempt to stamp out what follows.
Will I be the super enemy?
Liner Notes: Today’s title comes from “Eien ni Amuro (Forever Amuro)”, the ending theme from the original Mobile Suit Gundam. The song is about the loss of childhood innocence, which is obviously relevant to the series’s narrative. Additional appropriateness comes from how much of this post comes from reflecting upon Yoshiyuki Tomino’s words at NYAF 2009. My favorite version of the song is sung by Keiko Toda.
The evening is transitioning into the early morning. I sit with a pad of Bristol on my lap, my rump subtly shifting as it searches for comfort in my unergonomic chair. My mind is as restless as my hand, which retraces the same lines over again and meanders across the page, trying to shove that emotional spark into half-formed drawings. I look back up at the computer screen and relinquish my control over what I type to my motor memory. The urls that are punched in offer me no solace, no drive.
I return to the old rituals. I pull Hicksville off the top of my dresser. Although it’s been weeks since I last referred to it, I seemed to know better then to not bother reintegrating it with the line of books nuzzled between cartoon dinosaur bookends. My eyes trace over Dylan Horrocks’s introduction, briefly recounting the place of comics in his personal history. A small part of me once again observes the absence of my favorite medium from my own history, lacking that constant, my Tintin. But I know well enough to ignore it; the only parallel I search for in these pages is that of passion. Each line translates to a piece of Horrocks left on the page, little specks of the magic that is inspiration.
The introduction’s final lines resonate with me, a comforting echo which joins the sounds of cars splashing through melted snow outside. “And I remember. And I understand.” A page-turn transports me to New Zealand and a sentiment that does little to put my mind at ease. “Comics will break your heart.” This Jack Kirby quote marks the beginning of the book proper, and unless I was planning to read the comic straight through again, here is where I would close it on a night such as this. But my head’s clockwork begs for more. I flip through the book, taking in Horrocks’s compositions. And I reach the final page, black with white text. A Herriman quotation that reflects the content of the story more-so than addressing my plight. I quickly go over the book’s glossary, closing on an illustration of a rarebit.
And I write.
And as I write, I continue with my rituals. I open the third Gundam film, Meguriai Sora, the final compilation film which concludes the original series. I regard the movie’s final half-hour highly, a powerful conclusion that’s difficult for me to put to words. I couldn’t say what makes it so exceptional, at least not this night, but I cannot ignore how much it resonates with me, how much I crave to fashion together something that leaves others with the same emotional impression these thirty minutes of cinema impart to me.
Before I reach that 1:50 mark, I accidentally skip to a few minutes into the film. It’s the scene where Cameron Bloom, Mirai’s fiance, comes aboard the White Base’s bridge, and the two are reunited. Captain Bright acts with tense professionalism in this scene; while he has grown in confidence and discipline since his reluctant leadership at the beginning of the series, there’s an additional lack of tenderness in this scenario. This is the first time Bright and Mirai’s quiet relationship, practically the father and mother of the White Base crew, is threatened, and Bright responds by disguising his insecurity with an almost robotic display of military authority.
While Bright exhibits clumsiness in both his handling of command and his emotions, it’s still easy to forget that he’s only nineteen throughout the original series. Although he often ends up in the background as the ship’s captain and senior crewmember, he avoids being archetypal and deals with the situation of being thrust into a duty he’s unqualified for in ways which set him apart from the show’s younger characters. Sure, everyone falls for the mysterious, charismatic, and morally complicated blonde boy in a mask that is Char Aznable, but over the years, Bright Noa has grown to resonate with me in unexpected ways beyond the notorious “Bright slap”.
During that tangent, I give half of my attention to the sequence I had set out to watch. Getting wrapped up in writing takes me out of the struggle, but I still give myself time to ogle certain iconic bits of animation, get enchanted by storytelling techniques, and wish for a thousandth time that I could be character designer and animation director Yoshikazu Yasuhiko. The final minutes play out without watery eyes on my part, but my gaze is distracted by black text materializing on my screen and pulled down by fatigue.
With another page from the Eric Alexander Arroyo Operator’s Manual finished, I question if I found an end to my restlessness and casual self-doubt. Did I just need to write myself straight? I’ll see when I press “Publish”.
About the Music: This track comes off the Toonami album Deep Space Bass and was used in the Toonami music video “Dreams”. It came to mind mostly due to a clip from the anime Outlaw Star used in the music video, where Gene Starwind faces his fear of space.
Carl Sagan introduced us to the pale blue dot, the speck on film which revealed Earth’s miniscule size and mankind’s general inconsequence to the universe at large. But it is still a photograph, an observation from afar by a traveling eye. And us humans? We have a tendency to betray logic regularly.
Today I did something that’s become mundane in our society: I boarded an airplane to journey across the country, from one home to another. But while aerial travel is becoming a common practice in my usually terrestrial lifestyle, an afternoon flight on a clear day is a rarity compared to the long nights and misty mornings which usually cloak my travels. As we ascended, I went over my usual list of nerdy launch procedures in my head (“All systems green! IKIMAAAAAAAAAAASU!”) and took in the familiar sight of the Vegas strip. My eyes continued across the landscape, jumping from landmark to landmark in search of my old high school. I quickly chastised myself for being short-sighted. I looked up from the homogenous roofs and the dead beige fields to capture the valley in full intensity and motion.
The mountains cradled a body of which I had only lived among the cells. I found the homes of my parents and brother and the buildings which were once my intellectual sanctuaries. Below me was a network of rock, life, and machine. As civilization vanished, colossal landscapes of stone jutted from the earth, monumental rivers flowed to the horizon, and an endless blanket of snow created a sea of white. All of these tiny fragments came together like organic clockwork, creating marvels of natural beauty any human creation could never compete with.
The world breathed. It extended forever and nurtured all. How could a human being convince itself that its personal advances were worth more than this, this complex network that is both eternal and fragile, dwarfing mankind in scale and depth while still a tiny blip in the timeless history of the universe?
I have felt connected to the Earth before, but rarely have I had access to such context.
About the Music: Another lovely Queen track , this one off of Sheer Heart Attack. The reprise version actually played while I was transcribing my scribbly airplane notes.
Chasing Comets was conceptualized as a weekly blog. It hasn’t even been updated monthly. And hell, I’m unsure of many of the previous posts even have content. (Like last night. Seriously, did I have a point? GOSH.)
So I’m doing it. I’m going to subscribe to this post-a-week nonsense and I will kick ass and take names and keep my sanity by writing occasionally. And posting original artwork and comics. Because I have a scanner, goddammit. (And people I don’t know actually follow me on Tumblr for some reason.)
So 2011 will be the year Chasing Comets actually becomes something greater than a mental vomit bag. Now let’s hope I can also print Nuclear Fiction v1.1 before March.
The past few months tossed me multiple opportunities to make a fool of myself, which I gobbled up with misguided enthusiasm. They also waved some chances to reaffirm my belief in myself and my love for my pursuits over my head, which I plucked from the air and treasured. With another stretch of road behind me in this travel tale of experience and friendship (I wonder what the MacGuffin is in this story), I find myself tired of dwelling on my trials, mistakes, and revelations. What wasn’t covered in my surprise comic “I|WILL|FEAR” (part of Nuclear Fiction v1.1) was made light of on other sheets of Bristol, so dwelling on it in prose would be reaching a level of self-indulgence I would be uncomfortable with.
So where does that leave me today? Read more…
I survived the semester, so legitimate post to come in the next few days. This is how I’ve spent my first day free:
- Woke up at 6 AM to Daft Punk feeling fresh and splendid.
- Took a walk to see the moon. It was no longer eclipsed, but it was still dazzling.
- Watched the sunrise through my window while making a comic about feeling fresh and splendid.
- Ate a sandwich
- Rewatched the first episode of G Gundam. (A lot stronger than I remember it being, actually.)
- Slept some more to Metric.
- Got up again at noon.
- Facebook campaigned for my friends to spend the winter break watching Mobile Suit Gundam. Y’know, if they’re bored.
Things to do:
- Read A Contract with God (Eisner <3)
- Read some Madman (Allred <3)
- Watch The Life Aquatic (acoustic Portuguese Bowie covers <3)
Hopefully the rest of the break will keep up to this high standard of awesome (with additional PunchGun revising and drawing).