Comic 564 - 5 years of Madness

6th Mar 2017, 9:24 PM in Case 16: Act 1, Scene 1
5 years of Madness
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Author Notes:

DarkmasterN 6th Mar 2017, 9:24 PM edit delete
I was sitting up at 4 in the morning today, thinking.

This isn't a strange scenario for me. It's been a very long time since I've gone to sleep before the sun had risen. However this time I was thinking not of just the work that needed to be done, but of the work I had done, and of the work I will do.

No one knows what they'll be doing exactly 5 years from now, they can assume, and they can plan, but no one knows what their future holds. 5 Years ago I never thought I would be where I am now. I've slowly been improving my art, and I've even managed to successfully make some cash on my artistic endeavors, something I'd always dreamed of doing. I was interviewed as an up and coming horror artist for a horror zine, and finally got up the proper feelings of self worth to push forward and do commissions. While things haven't changed too much for me really, in a way, things have changed a lot, for better and for worse in some places, however overall this is change.

Now change is something that I am absolutely, cripplingly terrified of. I have a terrible habit of ignoring coming events until they're upon me and then making a decision at the last second, a decision which sometimes I regret fully and think for ages over how it could have gone better. In Highschool I didn't even think of college until I was applying for a little community college several weeks before it began. In relationships I swiftly made decisions that I occasionally think back on and wonder if I ever should have done them, wondering some days if I would have stuck with it maybe I would still be in them, but also wondering if I ever wanted to be in them in the first place. In college I put off some things and ended up attending for 2 years longer than I needed to because I didn't know where to go afterward. For four fucking years I feared the day my Sister would graduate because then I knew that she would go off to college, as she, unlike me, knows what she wants and though sometimes hesitant, will rush forward with a beautiful grace and intensity into her dreams, not letting anything get in her way, and though some days I wish to hold her back just for my sake I know it would be wrong. I've not had a legitimate job for years now, as the horrible, crippling mundanity of the "Real" world that I dealt with through 4 years of a factory job made me wish I were dead on more than one occasion. There are some days when I go online and find that friends are getting married or having children, moving away, or getting new jobs, and even people I barely know telling me such news can occasionally mentally destroy me for the better part of the day if not longer depending on the situation and it's severity to the impact on my life. In short, I am a man who is very set in my processes.

I'm the kind of guy who could possibly lock up when you suddenly surprise me with going out to eat or going to the store because I didn't have enough time to prepare. However I do occasionally enjoy the thrill of spontaneity in the same way I enjoy the fear and surprises of a horror movie. In other words. I am always on edge, and I am always quietly, scared. These things, as you'd expect, do not pair well at all with my profession. Literally my job for the last few months had been random messages people would send me, sometimes of huge numbers of works they wanted me to do for monetary compensation, which would drastically alter my very clockwork like work schedule I usually give myself. Needless to say, I have been stressed out for a while, however it wasn't a terrible thing really, New yes, terrifying yes, and oh so demanding. For years now it has been, Sunday: Hang out with my sister until 12:00 midnight, Check Facebook, Write session synopsis for yesterday's dungeons and dragons session, Finish any storyboarding left over from last week if needed, write new story details if needed, Begin drawing new pages or begin doing digital work on those pages. Monday: Wake up, Go to donate plasma, Come home, Continue previous night's work, go to sleep. Tuesday: Same as Monday minus Bio Life. Wednesday: Same as Monday. If enough work is done, hang out with my cousins. Thursday: Same as Tuesday, work is usually completed by now (Roughly 4-6 pages of comic). Begin any additional work for holidays, or personal art. Friday: Hang out with friends, Hang out with sister, Complete work for Dungeons and Dragons tomorrow. Saturday: Run dungeons and dragons with friends. If session ends early, begin work for Sunday. Sunday: See previous. Now there have been many changes in my schedules over the years and some I had to self impose, and others were pushed on me and had to change myself.

However as I thought about all of these things in the last few years, I realized that this year... I had done it. In a way I had broken the mold. I had shattered even a small part of that barrier and the thick, black, viscous yolk of my heart has slowly but surely been oozing out into the air, a creature that does not understand this world, nor does it really want to in the slightest. One that has been watching in silent observation for years, and yet now it can interact more. And this is... for the most part, a good thing. I had been trying to force myself to do new things, to push myself in new directions, and through taking these smaller steps I think I've gotten even slightly more comfortable with some the things in life that have made me as reclusive as you all out there probably didn't even know I was. I mean, I know plenty of you have realized that sometimes I don't answer your messages and notes for a long time, or sometimes I never do. On occasion I'll disappear mid conversation and never return. Or often times, I'll return after a few weeks and resume like nothing ever happened. (There are a few people who know this very well, and a few who I'm sure are about to experience this soon XD).

I know I don't talk very much about myself on here. You guys only know about the quirky, loud, odd, somewhat cryptic, perverted, fetishistic, artist, gamer, nerd, who doesn't answer your messages for three fucking years sometimes. But really some of you have watched me for 5 years now, and some have watched for upwards of 11! ELEVEN FUCKING YEARS! And I rarely ever say anything to any of you guys about how things are actually going. I've never been the type to freely express everything like this, but considering this is the 5th year in my webcomic, something that has consumed my life in a good way, I thought that maybe I should tell you all how I feel about it.

I am incredibly proud of myself that I've come this far, that I've done this much. And I only plan to go further. This whole thing initially started as a short project because of some jokes friends were making, and I didn't have anything planned out past the first 2 chapters originally, however after that I quickly realized that I saw some parts of myself in Keiko. She's stubborn, quirky, loud, and awkward, never knows what to do in a situation and often acts rashly. She has an abundance of emotions inside of herself that she can never fully control. And so I fell for my own work. I fell HARD for it, and started to throw myself into it fully, using it as a way to express myself in a way I hadn't been able to do in a long time, and in some regards express myself in ways I'd never been able to do before. Everyone has something going on with them, even if we never know, even if they act really confident, everyone has a story, and I want to portray that in this comic. People you think you know will turn out to be completely different and even the most chipper and exuberant of people could be harboring something strange, sad, or even sinister in their hearts and vice versa.

This year's picture isn't a collage or anything like previous years. It's much more simple. This is a phrenology poster of our heroine Keiko. Phrenology is an outdated form of science that believed that through following this chart and applying it to the shape of people's heads, you could tell what they were like. By applying some parts of these to the human brain. For example, say your head was a bit squished in in the front and maybe longer. They would say that your individuality and human nature may be damaged and unnatural and therefore you were bound to be a "Follower" and you may be "Less than human" because of it, and because of your somewhat elongated head you may have exaggerated self esteem or it may be impacted somehow. It was often used for "Scientifically proven" (See, false information) Racism by saying that minorities heads were shaped strangely and therefore it proved that they were inferior. However it also had places in occult arts, pseudo science, and supernatural studies as well, using things like this to try and gauge psychic powers and the like. And that is why I used it as inspiration. Just like in our society, where sometimes horrible or outdated beliefs can impact the youth for years to come, age old things can be applied to people that can discourage and destroy them. Tied with the psychological situations portrayed often in the comic and the different parts of the brain that may be "Exaggerated" for a lot of our characters, I thought it to be fitting. It's sad, but I thought it to be quite beautiful in the end.... Things might be bad for Keiko right now, but I truly love her, and hope for her to stay strong in the coming years.

Everyone in this comic has issues. But a lot of times people don't want to say they have issues, a lot of time no one wants to say they have some sort of mental problem or physical ailment, or even just when they're sad. No one wants to admit when they fall outside of the social norm in some occasions, when things they like or do might be shunned by the rest of the world, and in those situations you want to be more than that, and so you may just want to refer to yourself as something that doesn't sound all that weird, abnormal, or strange. Something that sounds statistically correct. In those regards, you may prefer being called slightly above average.

This comic, this project, is an extension of me, an extension of everything I am and a way for me to push through this mundane, banal, reality that we live in. And I wouldn't be able to do it without all of you supporting me.

Thank you for 5 years. Thank you for everything. And hopefully in 5 more years, something more will happen, maybe some more amazing things will emerge.

I'm DarkmasterN, and I am sLightly abOVe avErage.

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