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A STORY CONCERNING ORIGINALITY (part two

23 October 2004

Welcome back to the second part of my part-explanatory, part-defensive, part-rantish, all-singing, all-dancing thesis. If you have no idea what the heck I'm rambling about, go back one strip and read the rant underneath it. Then return here and prepare yourself to be illuminated up to the point where you sprout wings.

Now it begins
. Last time I tried to trick you into believing that I did not steal the style and theme for Captain August from Jhonen Vasquez. Assuming you all fell for my devious machinations like the sheepish dolts that I actually really hope my audience does not consist of, I'll proceed from there.

All the things in the strip had always been inside of me. It may be beneficial to also explain to you how the idea for August came to be. A few weeks ago I told you, in the very first rant, that I designed the story and premise of August during a Messenger-chat that lasted for a couple of hours. This occurred about two or three months after that lifechanging Invader Zim-marathon. At the time I had my dummy filled with page after page of sketches and doodles of crazy abstract aliens with huge blockheads; extravagant figures that screamed for a tale. But a tale I did not have. In fact, I didn't even think about making a webcomic. It all just eluded me. I could only draw those aliens. Those weird, maniacle aliens. Somewhat in the same way I know a guy who can only draw bunnies. Big fat wobbly pink bunnies. It somehow just goes beyond obsession.

,,Why don't you make a webcomic?'. Or maybe the way he said it was more ,,Make a webcomic.'. Or maybe it was a big finger coming out of the clouds and a shiny bright canister of light beaming directly into my mind: ,,Thou Shalt Maketh A Webcomic.'. Regardless of the form; I got the message. On second thought it seems a bit unlikely a deity would pass on a holy quest through a device created by its antithesis, who lives in Silicon Valley. Anyway, on that same evening on MSN, I just created the story. Live. While the proposing side looked and nodded in silent agreement. It was there that I thought up this weird little guy with a social ineptitude reaching dangerous proportions and a zest for glory, who crashed into this strange spacevessel... and it just evolved from there.

Leaving something to put on the DVD extra's, I'll skip the rest of the making-of. Besides, we have to get back to the originality-thing, so it's time for this derailed train to get back on track once more. The peek behind the scenes was helpful though to illustrate that the story in itself was completely new and made without any help from other media. But that doesn't matter a thing if the public still thinks you're a fraud. And actually, who's to blame them?

The term 'sensory world' strikes back with a vengeance now. As much as we'd all love to judge everyone on their inside instead of their looks, the truth is that we have nothing but the looks to judge someone by at first. You constantly readjust and reassess your judgment over time of course, as soon as you get new information regarding the subject. But that doesn't change that the first impression is always one of superficiality and image. And considering that: is it any surprise then that the first thing people might think when they see August is 'rip-off!'?

I hope, though, that they will learn to understand about the intricacies of the strip. And then come to the conclusion that it's not as plagiaristic or uninventive at all. I know that the odds are against it, but in a way, that's the story of my own life. But I won't get all autobiographical on you. Yet. And if you still think it's too much of a carbon copy, I can tell you that as the strip progresses, it'll become more and more my own thing. Besides, how much can I possibly have extracted from a cartoon that I had one dose of, three months before I began designing this? A photographic memory is not one of my built-in features, if you're inclined to ask.

It is my hope that this clears up some of the troubles about August that may have resided in your cerebrums. It certainly helped me put my thoughts about this in a coherent shape. In the end, it doesn't really matter, don't you think? I'm happy as Hell with August. And I can't see him in any other shape or style. This is where he belongs, this is how he's supposed to be. Let's all grouphug.

Roderick.