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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


Recording the creative process: breadcrumbs

Around 1990 sometime there came out a special edition of Stephen King's The Stand with all the bits put back in that, a dozen years before, the publishers had made him take out only because they hadn't yet realized that people'll buy a Stephen King book even when it's a doorstop. (Especially, maybe.) King wrote a new foreword explaining why he thought putting those bits back in was necessary.

As an example of the principle involved, he summarized the Hansel and Gretel story in a paragraph of about a dozen lines. He pointed out that all the facts of the story were there. Then he pointed out how dry and lifeless it was, as an exercise in storytelling, to summarize the facts of the events in a paragraph.

"For instance, there's nothing in this paragraph about the breadcrumbs," he wrote [I'm paraphrasing because I don't remember it verbatim, even though I'm using quotation marks]. "Hansel dropped breadcrumbs behind them so they could find their way back through the forest, but birds ate the breadcrumbs so they got lost anyhow. You don't need the breadcrumbs in a recitation of the facts because, in the long run, they don't affect the outcome of the story. But that's the part that everyone remembers."

How a story is told matters. Style matters. Details matter. Breadcrumbs matter.

Gag-a-day comic strips are breadcrumbs. Even when some continuity is present. It's a breadcrumb when Torg makes a pun during a swordfight with a devil king. It's a breadcrumb when Largo beats the airport security ninja at mortal combat Mortal Kombat. It's a breadcrumb when Brent Sienna gets attacked by a giant panda. Gabe and Tycho do hardly anything that isn't a breadcrumb.

I started Arthur, King of Time and Space, as I said the first month, because "the proper way to retell the Arthurian legend in a visual medium [is] serially over years in monthly or weekly installments, to cultivate a fan base the way Sherlock Holmes and STAR TREK and James Bond have cultivated their fan bases." Arthur, King of Time and Space is for King Arthur's breadcrumbs: Pellinore stole his horse. Guenevere got kidnapped all the time. Lancelot painted. Merlin told everyone their life stories ahead of time, and no one listened.


Pardon me, I seem to be channeling Websnark.

Webcomics I read mornings: Peanuts, General Protection Fault, College Roommates from Hell!!!, Kevin & Kell, Real Life
Webcomics I read middays: Calvin & Hobbes, Least I Could Do, User Friendly, Questionable Content, Dandy and Company
Webcomics I read evenings: B.C., Pearls Before Swine, Wapsi Square, Sinfest, Little Dee, Irregular Comic
Webcomics I read bedtimes: Something Positive, Bruno, Count Your Sheep, Sluggy Freelance, PvP
Webcomics I read M-W-F mornings: El Goonish Shive, Striptease, Skirting Danger, Todd and Penguin, Penny Arcade
Webcomics I read M-W-F evenings: Reasoned Cognition, Checkerboard Nightmare, Framed!!!, Queen of Wands, Megatokyo
Webcomics I read Tu-Th: Digger, AppleGeeks, Her: Girl vs Pig, As If!, The Whovian Observer
Webcomics I read Mondays: Vigilante, Ho!, Butternut Squash, Boxjam's Doodle
See also The Belfry Comics Index, The Webcomic List, Nth Degree, 100% Originality Theatre, 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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