Since around 2005, if I remember correctly, I’ve been working on a comic book called The Raft. You might think that it’s many pages long, since I’ve spent 5 whole years on it, or that I’m painting it in oils or some other time consuming medium, but that’s not actually the case. The real reason it has taken me this long, is that I never managed to nail down the script.
The Raft came out of another project I was working on in 2002-3, called “Lost” (before the TV series by the same name), that never saw the light of day. It was a pick-a-path comic about a couple of guys that were lost, both literally and emotionally, in a big cave. The whole idea behind the comic was that you could control the direction of the story by scrolling in different directions on an infinite canvas, like solving a maze, except with a twist. The story looped back in on itself, so the reader would never get to the end of the story, and would be as lost as the protagonists in the comic. The problem with the story was that it wasn’t one, it was an interesting structural concept, and not a story.
Gradually that comic morphed into The Raft. I had wanted to do a “chamber play” in comic form, with only a couple of characters and a limited setting. Some of the story ideas and characters I had been working on for Lost got carried over to The Raft, but not the infinite canvas nor the whole maze/pick-a-path idea.
I believe the fact that The Raft grew from these rather convoluted roots, is the reason I had such a hard time with the script. Without a clear base idea, it was hard for me to find the heart of the story. I’ve written and re-written the script more times than I care to count, sketched rough layouts of several versions of the whole book, drawn, inked and discarded a small pile of pages, and shelved the whole project as a hopeless exercise in futility on several occasions, but for some reason I kept coming back to it.
Finally after five years I’ve managed to nail down a script I’m happy with, though I must admit that I’ve probably become a bit blind to the story by now. I’ve nearly finished penciling the whole story, and inking about a quarter of the pages. My plan is to publish it in book form, along with Tim, The Pillow Method and a short comic I’m working on along side The Raft (more on that later). I’m hoping to finish The Raft by the end of the year, though considering how long it has taken me so far, I’m not making any promises. 😉
If you want to take a sneak peak at The Raft, take a look at the blue pencil background used on this site. It’s all random drawings from The Raft.