ACME INK'D by Talon Bunn

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  1. Talon Bunn

    Talon Bunn GoComics PRO Member said, almost 2 years ago


    BREEZY THOUGHTS FROM A DRAFTING TABLE

    So ends the first ACME INK’D miniseries, and one I’m rather happy with, when all is said and done. All is done, thus, the final say.

    First, let me state quite happily, I like Christmas a lot. It’s in the top 3 of my favorite times all year. That’s possibly why this project was so dear to me. I had a fantastic writing teacher in college tell me, “Write what you know. If you try to write what you don’t, it’ll look fake, read bad and no one will buy it.” I recently read another writer who quite candidly reported, “People on the internet don’t get satire.” So, yeah, there was that.

    This little miniseries was originally inspired by a quartet of jerks. I work in the hospitality industry. It’s my job to make everyone feel welcome and leave just the same. Everyone, regardless of race or religion (or lack thereof). So when the holidays come around, I, like most of the other workers who are mindful of peoples’ feelings while on the clock, wish all mankind who pass through the door a happy holiday. It’s just a nice way to say goodbye to everybody. But a few years ago, something nasty started happening. Every so often I’d get some lunkhead, full of arrogant, self-importance, who’d fire back something like, “You mean Merry Christmas!” as if he and his fellow Christians invented the event. They didn’t, of course. You’d think in the information age that would be common knowledge (the pagans, Saturnalia, that no-no in the Bible about decorating trees, etc.) but apparently it isn’t. Regardless, as someone who’d like to avoid food-stamps & unemployment (as being in the Hospitality Industry is a constant flirtation with that lifestyle, anyway), one learns to grin and shoulder the brunt of these blunt retorts, nodding and wishing them a most insincere pleasantry as they leave.

    But in the past few years the presence of these Yule Time dolts has been growing. They come on harder and and louder than their ugly sweaters and do all save bang upon the walls to get their bleak merriness across. And it was the week after Thanksgiving, in the beginning of December, when I walked into work wondering how long it would be until I’d see my first of the season. Not three hours later, while talking to a pair of couples, after what they had all agreed was a wonderful time, I bid them farewell and added, “Happy Holidays.”
    “You mean, Merry Christmas,” proclaimed a barrel-chested Baby Boomer. It’s almost always a Baby Boomer. On the rare chance may be someone older—who’s yet to learn that life’s too short to care—but it’s usually a Boomer, booming.
    “Yes, Merry Christmas!” echoed his wife—a forced smile masking neither the tightness of her tone or the spite in her sharp little eyes.
    “Yes, we say Merry Christmas!” chimed in another woman tersely, followed quickly by her husband who added bluntly, “Merry Christmas!”

    It was four against one—the underdog pinned by his paycheck into submission. This is the level of bravery we find in these Christmas Crusaders.

    So it was my helplessness in the situation—my inability to speak freely—that prompted me to go home that night and draw Part One. No idea what I was doing or where it would go, just had to get it out. I just had to make fun of the bullies. For that’s what they are, as it takes no amount of bravery to holler at someone unable to speak their mind in reply. As the days unfolded and I started playing with the two characters, people started telling me their experiences with this amazing brand of Christmas aggression. With each new account came the inevitable side-note that, more so than ever before, these self-proclaimed Cheek-Turners were ditching the meek and humble routine and going for the naked throat in much greater numbers. No longer a sparse anomaly, it’s turned into a public rash. One I fear I’ve long seen coming. Having grown up in the Bible Belt, having heard about this attack on December 25th as far back as my youth, then the War On Christmas, billowing from the cultural leaders of white, middle-class America, I had more than enough inspiration to draw from.

    A WORD ABOUT STEREOTYPES

    It took until 2/3rds into the story before the first comment came in regarding stereotypes. I was a little surprised it happened so late in the telling. Regardless, if there’s one thing I learned all too well this year with my art, is that even if you don’t intend on presenting a stereotype, viewers will insert their own anyway. It’s almost better to use them because at least then you can guide the reader to where they’re supposed to go, rather than relying on whatever extra material they’re going to supply that might wreck the whole point. Also, when telling a story about stereotypes, it’s unavoidable side-step them. All you can do it try to provide just enough variation on a theme so that they remain interesting. Considering all my limitations, I tried.

    And such limitations! These comics may look small, but each one was drawn at 6 inches by 16 inches, cleaned up and colored, then finally reduced to the tiny dimensions we’re allowed to work in on the Sherpa site. People were kind not to complain (or didn’t care) that it would often take until noon the following day to post the latest, but that was due to the 6 hours it took on average to complete just one installment of the series (some effect-heavy parts took 8 or more). I had to try and accomplish this while working a day job and writing, voice-acting, sound designing and animating a holiday short for a local business who’d hired me a few days before Thanksgiving. But that’s how these labors of love go—not for the glory but for the joy in seeing them complete before exhaustion sweeps all ambition away.

    I won’t say much about the story. It started from Part One and grew organically from there. Each day was carving out a new part without much grand design. In some ways it probably suffers, in others, it has a certain spontaneous charm. Either way, it tells what it tells and I’m okay with how it turned out. I was a decent first swing at something different.

    Special thanks to Gayle B., Matthew W., Iris O., Strupp, Whit, Raul, Gunnels, Vanessa L, Ellenita De Muerte G., Wiseman, Jon Ormsbee, Don Mathias, Loren Fishman, Mike Scott, Mandu, MelvinLott & Rottiluv. Your encouragement kept me inspired far past my bedtime. A big thanks to Shabeer’s coffee, for doing the same…several times a day. And the biggest, most specialist thanks to Courtney B., for putting up with me and giving up cuddle time while I saw this through. My very best and love to you all!!!

    So the saying has been said. Now it’s over. On to other things. Keep your eyes peeled!

    Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to everybody!!!

    -Talon.

  2. Mandu

    Mandu said, almost 2 years ago

    I thought it was right on the mark. Very enjoyable with great characters and a heart warming ending.

  3. Talon Bunn

    Talon Bunn GoComics PRO Member said, almost 2 years ago

    P.S. Here’s the animated greeting I produced and animated this year, mentioned above. I had just 6 weeks to complete every element of it, so the animation is limited, but it gets the gags across and it was still pretty fun to draw.

    Eggnogg Original Holiday Greeting

    The character in take three was a little too controversial for the company, so it requested he be replaced with someone less…colorful…and this was my solution. It took a whole weekend while continuing the War On Christmas series, but I got it done on time.

    Eggnogg Holiday Greeting – PC Friendly Version

  4. Talon Bunn

    Talon Bunn GoComics PRO Member said, almost 2 years ago

    @Mandu

    Thank you again, Mandu!

  5. Talon Bunn

    Talon Bunn GoComics PRO Member said, almost 2 years ago


    If you know someone who might enjoy this series, it’s available for easy viewing without clicking around the Sherpa site. Feel free to post it to facebook, twitter, or just email it along to anyone who might find it entertaining.

    THE WAR ON CHRISTMAS SERIES – Complete Image Gallery

  6. MelvinLott

    MelvinLott said, almost 2 years ago

    Fun series, Talon. I’ve met quite a few of those stereotypical folks you drew and maybe that’s why I liked it so much – I work with a guy who’s a close copy of Mr. Dummflolk ( i speak a good deal of German so his name really cracked me up ), so now you know why I had to clean my monitor. Well, Happy Holiday from the Pizza Cow… And thank you for this strip – it’s always enjoyable.

  7. Garey Mckee

    Garey Mckee GoComics PRO Member said, almost 2 years ago

    MERRY CHRISTMAS!

  8. Talon Bunn

    Talon Bunn GoComics PRO Member said, almost 2 years ago

    @MelvinLott

    Many happy returns, ML – all my best to you and yours!!!

  9. Talon Bunn

    Talon Bunn GoComics PRO Member said, almost 2 years ago

    @Garey Mckee

    Hahaha! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the all-caps here! Spot on! MERRY CHRISTMAS, GAREYYYYYYYY!!!

  10. Rottiluv

    Rottiluv GoComics PRO Member said, almost 2 years ago

    This was the first year I felt like some cashiers were yelling “MERRY CHRISTMAS” at me in a way that felt like they wanted to argue the point. It’s getting weirder and weirder out there.

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