Allow me an introduction
“Raul” was a comic series that was published in “Big Bang”, an indie project led by Tasos Maragos (tasmar). Big Bang started as a self-published fanzine and later became a short-lived (though award-winning) comic anthology published by Enati Diastasi. I’m proud to have been a member of the core team behind Big Bang, along with Tasos and Sofia. Here is a pic of us, after receiving our second-in-a-row award in ComicDom Con, back in 2007.
So.. Raul is a clown, as evil as they come. He could be described as a mush-up between PennyWise from Steven King’s “It” and Freddy Krueger. Not so original as a character, but he holds a lovely dark place in my heart. Bellow you can read all the episodes with a little commentary from yours truly. If you were so inclined, you could think of it as…(drum roll)
Collector’s Limited Edition with Commentary
Episode 1 – Genesis (I’m making these titles up as I go)
This is an introduction to our protagonist. The dark freudian roots of his bitter black soul are revealed, in a not-so-subtle way. You could also view this as an allegory for human nature in general. For… aren’t we all (effing) clowns in a circus? I ask thee, are we not? Ahem. A note to the designers among you: Yes, that’s actually “Comic-Sans”. I’m a designer too. I hate that font. It’s evil. That’s why I used it here. Now bug-off you elitist scumbags.
Episode 2 – Clowncarmaggedon
Nothing special here. Raul being evil. As you can see the drawings are rather simple. They are vectors, made in illustrator, and there is a lot of copying and pasting going on. Raul was one of the first comics I made in illustrator, and I still find great value in the time-saving advantages of this approach. The down-side is that you lose the hand-made feel of real ink on real paper, and sometimes you have to go out of your way to manually create small imperfections. Nonetheless, for an indie/guerilla/
lazy comic strip artist without grandiose aspirations, it serves its purpose. (I also regard it as a more “honest” kind of look than digitally rendered images simulating traditional media. That’s material for a whole other post.)
Episode 3 – The Final Act
I can’t help but feel that this episode abandons simple black humour in favour of a somewhat darker and deeper melancholy, what with Raul being caged and treated like a circus animal in front of innocent kids. For the first time, the reader couldn’t be blamed for rooting for him.
Episode 4 – Getting High
Not even a drop of blood in this one. I still like the pun. The “social commentary” may be simplistic, but it packs a real-world-sting that’s getting stronger at this time and age.
Episode 5 – Recreational Terrorism
Dialog based joke, like the last one. Minus the social commentary. But with added political incorrectness.
Episode 6 – Bloody Amateurs!
4-page extravaganza! Tasos asked me for 2 spreads instead of one, so I took the opportunity to use a little more cinematic layout. I also introduced a gray tone in the pages for a more layered result.The story is still simple though. Who’s the evilest of them all?
Episode 7 – Macellaio
This is the last episode and it’s a bit special, not only in terms of size: I drew it by hand, using real ink, instead of vectors in Illustrator. I also spent more time making this and you can easily tell the difference. At the time I was in Italy, studying art, so there is an italian flavour to the story, so to speak. And, look, no Comic Sans!