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Arthur, King of Time and Space Arthur, King of Time and Space

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Arthur, King of Time and Space


Mobile Suit Recording the creative process

There's a distinct difference between drawing fanfiction cartoons and drawing an original webcomic.

With fanfiction, you and the audience are well-versed in the characters' history (to date). Fanfiction can be, and is, set at any point in that history. A line of exposition or a wardrobe choice is sufficient for communication to the audience when the cartoon's set and the characters' present state of career development and romantic entanglement if any. You know when a Star Trek cartoon's set seeing the hero's uniform, when a M*A*S*H cartoon's set seeing the hero's roommate or boss, when a Doctor Who cartoon's set seeing the hero's face.

But in original work (at least in this day and age, at least most of the time) serial fiction is expected to advance in linear chronological order. Here's an excerpt from Eugene Vinaver's introduction to his King Arthur and His Knights (an abridgement of his The Works of Sir Thomas Malory):

"In most cases, when a 'branch' or an incident was added, the purpose of the addition was to elucidate or to anticipate stories which were already in existence. ... This 'backward' growth of the narrative implies a method still clearly distinguishable in the works of Rabelais, who began with the adventures of Pantagruel and then went on to the life story of Pantagruel's father, Gargantua; a modern novelist would probably have written his Gargantua first [emphasis mine]."

The thing is: though Arthur, King of Time and Space is by definition/technically/legally "original" work, really it's fanfiction. I know my characters' story backwards and forwards, and any given reader knows at least the outline. That's why I picked them. It's not like most webcomics where, depending on the nature of the strip, the cartoonist may have no idea what's going to be happening with the characters for the next week, or the next year, or tomorrow. I keep writing gags that I won't be able to use for years. Unless linear chronology were abandoned. As it is in my fanfiction. It's how I'm accustomed to working.

If I were offered the opportunity to go back in time and live my life over from a point in time of my choice, I wouldn't. I've earned the person I am now and I don't care to go through that again instead of going on from now. But if God or aliens came to Earth and forced the choice on me, I'd pick the latest date I could get and the only thing I'd change is I'd start Arthur, King of Time and Space earlier. And I might, perhaps even would probably, change the format: either to the sort of chronological stasis which cartoon characters usually live in or to nonlinear chronology like I use elsewhere. But, in the event, I committed to realtime last May when I started and I intend to stick with it. It's just weird.

Webcomics I read mornings: Peanuts, General Protection Fault, College Roommates from Hell!!!, Wapsi Square, Kevin & Kell, Real Life
Webcomics I read middays: Calvin & Hobbes, Least I Could Do, User Friendly, Sinfest, Questionable Content, Dandy and Company
Webcomics I read evenings: Something Positive, Irregular Comic, Count Your Sheep, Sluggy Freelance, PvP
Webcomics I read Monday-Wednesday-Fridays: Megatokyo, Reasoned Cognition, Checkerboard Nightmare, El Goonish Shive, Striptease, Skirting Danger, Queen of Wands, Loserz, Penny Arcade
Webcomics I read Tuesday-Thursdays: Digger, AppleGeeks, Her: Girl vs Pig, As If!, The Whovian Observer
Webcomics I read Mondays: Framed!!!, Vigiliante, Ho!, Butternut Squash, Boxjam's Doodle
See also The Belfry Comics Index, The Webcomic List, Nth Degree, Comixpedia and Websnark.

Arthuriana sources I use or recommend:
Arthurian Legend
Arthuriana - the Journal of Arthurian Studies; the website of the quarterly journal of the North American Branch of the International Arthurian Society.
The Camelot Project at the University of Rochester.
Camelot In Four Colors: A Survey of the Arthurian Legend in Comics
Mystical-WWW - The Arthurian A2Z knowledge Bank which has encyclopedically-arranged entries on the characters of the Arthurian legends.
Le Morte Darthur: Sir Thomas Malory's Book of King Arthur and of his Noble Knights of the Round Table, Volume 1 and Volume 2.

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