Thursday, September 15, 2011

Simon's Wishes

When your friends are involved with your wishes, you get what you get!

This is a cap I made for the wonderfully prolific smitty.  smitty made me a wonderful multi part cap that you absolutely must read.  And to get the most out of it, you really should treat yourself to all of his Saint Sisyphus caps.

Now I've complained enough recently about my "Writer's Block".  Even at my BEST, I couldn't keep up with smitty though.  But I didn't want to return him a single cap, for his wonderful series.  At the least I wanted to make one of my 'longer' series.  For me that's between 5 and 8 panels.  So I sat back and thought about what I would like to do... I tired to draw inspiration from my previous caps for smitty, only to realize that I haven't really capped smitty properly.  I say properly because all the caps I've made for smitty has been 'The Technologist Vs Smitty' caps.  I loved writing the character of Smitty, and enjoyed adding to the already mammoth Smitty and Smitty's Sissies universes... but that character arch is done.  smitty and I may one day add to that story (individually or collaboratively) but I didn't want to continue down that same path.

So for all intenstive purposes, I was starting fresh.  Smitty, like many of the caption artists I respect, doesn't have strong preferences.  His only overriding wish is to not include racism.  And hey, I can jump behind that.  But that leaves little for direct inspiration.

So I started thinking in vague thoughts... I wanted XXX.  I wanted smitty to try and out think someone, but ending up on the bottom end of the deal.  I wanted multi panel, but I also wanted it to be story driven, and not just an explanation of the sex scenes used.

That didn't exactly help narrow it down.  So I went searching for images that would hopefully inspire something.   The first image I found that struck me was the nurse image.  I liked it, but I couldn't find more from the same series.  So I kept looking and found the riding hood image... funny, but again it was only a single image.

So I re-read through smitty's preferences and locked in on the fact that he liked glasses and 'and the usual fetish outfits'.  The nurse fit that... and then it hit me!  He wishes to be a stereotypical porn slut, but feels he has to hide that wish from his porn loving friends!  Each friend would get to make smitty over into his own fetish, and therefore I could use different images!

I liked it, so now the nurse and riding hood was back in.  I searched for cheerleader and school girl and got those images with no problem, but along the way I found the image of the woman all alone.  I thought it would be a good ramp up image to use.

Now with the images picked out, I had to work on the premise a little.  I started writing and got the bare bones of the first three panels when I almost threw it all away.  I thought it had promise, but it seemed so... well... so laid out.  It felt like I had to give up the whole premise in the first panel, and then just kept repeating it over and over.

So I leaned back and thought some more.  And for whatever reason the movie 'Memento' came to mind.  If you haven't seen it, it is a movie in reverse.  The first scene you see is the last scene of the movie.  Then you skip back a few minutes and see the previous scene.  You keep repeating that until you see the 'first' scene of the movie.  And like any good movie it is suspenseful.   I love that movie, and remember one of the special features of the DVD was to watch it in the correct order... first scene first, last scene last.  I had tried that, but it was really not that good.  You had all the information in the first few scenes, and all the suspense was gone....

Just like the story I was writing.  All the suspense was in the fist panel.  If I reversed it, you would get this OH MY GOD squirmy feeling for what smitty was going through, only to find out the real wish at the end (er... beginning... er...youknowwhatImean!).

So this turned out to be a writing exercise as much as it was a cap.  I wrote out each panel as if I was writing it in the correct way (beginning to end).  Then each part was edited so that it made references to the previous scenes, but not enough to give up the secret.  And then the first (last) panel got a longer description as I could now let all the beans out of the bag.

When I was finished I read it forward, and it read fine.  I then got up from the computer and took a break. I needed a clear head to try it the way I wanted.  When I felt good enough I came back and read it in the way I presented it here.

I liked it.  I liked it a lot!  I felt that each panel had enough explanation about the previous panel, and that you still learned a bit about the wish as you continued to read.  I don't think its perfect... far from it.  But I still think it works.

The only problem I could see is that someone reads the 'first' panel, and is confused.  They figure I just listed them in the wrong order, and read it in the 'correct' order.  I didn't want to put a big explanation in the cap, just as Memento didn't have an explanation in the first scene... but I still needed to make it clear.

So this is the first series I've ever used page numbers in.  Its annoying, and takes just a bit from the design, but I feel its necessary.  Speaking of design, I wanted to make each part its own color.  Mainly because the images didn't match so there was no common underlying color I could pick from.  If I matched it to the cheer-leading uniform, then 5 of the 6 panels would look 'off'.  Thankfully all of the images were vertical, so I could crop them all to a standard size, put them all into one Photoshop file, and line them all up perfectly.  This let me use the same text path as well, which saved me quite a bit of time.

And in case you didn't catch it, several other cap artists make up Simon's friends.  Calvin is yours truly, Mark is 'Mistress Simone', Jeff is 'Candy or One Eyed Pirate', and Jeremy is Jennifer,

My head hurts a little just thinking about it, but that's how I felt after watching Memento for the first time too.  I take it as a good sign.

I hope that you take a moment to let me know how it worked.  Was it just confusing?  Did it work?  Did it fall flat?  Let me know, as this is really new ground for me, and I honestly can't say if it works like this for a 'first read'.


  1. First, let me say. I guess I got Smitty in the "end." *insert rim shot here*

    And second, It so worked! Wonderfully done, Every panel revealed just enough of the story to keep me guessing at what started it all.

    I'm very impressed with this and love that I got to play a guest role! Thanks for that! ^_^ It's really a very well done caption and you should be proud!

  2. Let me add to what I commented on the Haven. I am really impressed how you handled the reverse narrative device. Especially because Jennifer suggested it to me at one point and I couldn't think of a way to make it work. You really added to the squirm factor, which is impressive considering the acts were getting less humiliating as they went. But you find out more about the origin of the wishes and hints of his real desires. Top notch work.

  3. I was surprised by how much I liked this. I will admit that I was confused at first, but in the end I understood and liked it a lot.