Sunday, June 12, 2011

Unpublished three page story and notes on its inspiration

Marker on typewriter paper - 6" x 9" - year unknown

These are drawn about the size of a comic book. I'm not sure what I did them for, as a layouts for pages or just to try drawing at print size. ZONE doesn't have his weird shoulder wings so I know they were drawn after ZONE appeared in DARK HORSE PRESENTS, so this was drawn in maybe 1990 or 1991.

I'm satisfied with pages one and three but page two just doesn't work for me. I was trying to show three different things simultaneously. I think the sequence could be extended over a couple more pages.

Now, the inspiration for this story I remember clearly.

This was inspired in part by Patti Smith's poem: the amazing tale of skunkdog, the first portion of which follows:

the amazing tale of skunkdog

don't be surprised if death
comes from within...

seven days and six nights the hero watched relentlessly.
horizontally under the sky. without food, drink or friend.
what was he after. what was he looking for.
a sign? an answer? a way out? something new.

now on the seventh evening of the seventh day hero
was holding on by a thread. lack of sleep, provisions
and loving arms was taking its toll. he ceased to
look up.

fair hero. he who was so intent on keeping his eyes
peeled immediately missed out.

for he had made the sky jumpy. his piercing stares
put it on edge. when he finally looked down the stars
went haywire. cassiopia rocked like a cradle.


As mentioned in my previous post The Amazing Skunkdog, In the early eighties I had entertained thoughts of illustrating Patti Smith's poem. This ZONE story was a tribute/swipe/homage to her work. To this day her words are still powerful and I can visualize the stars going haywire, I just don't think I've adequately visualized it on paper yet.

Did you notice the Pepsi can?

That is partially in answer to the perennial Coke or Pepsi question. It 's also a tribute to June Gibbons' novel The Pepsi-Cola Addict, a novel I have never read. In fact, it is a rather rare self-published novel that's quite had to get a hold of but the name really struck a cord with me.

I learned of June and Jennifer Gibbons by reading Marjorie Wallace's fascinating book, THE SILENT TWINS. Well worth reading or at the very least Googling. The Welsh twins had independently devised their own secret language and rarely spoke to anyone but a younger sister.

As teens the twins decided to become famous writers and both turned out several self-published novels. Their story is both sad and fascinating, at the time I read THE SILENT TWINS they had both been committed to Broadmoor Hospital.

the amazing tale of skunkdog is © Patti Smith
The portion printed here is is done so without permission but with the hope that she would understand.

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