Long live the new flesh, part 1

As mentioned in my personal comic last week, I’m a fan of body horror movies, especially those of director David Cronenberg. The following is the first part of a lengthy discussion on Cronenberg’s body of work with my friend Amber.

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DISCLAIMER: David Cronenberg’s movies are pretty violent and gross, and while there won’t be any of that kind of imagery in this discussion, there are a few somewhat graphic descriptions of certain scenes here and there. Reader discretion is advised.

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Postcards and more

So the first comic has been up for a few days now, and the response has been incredible. I was so nervous about posting it, but it seems like a whole lot of you are able to relate to and appreciate what I’m trying to express in it, silly as it may seem to me sometimes. That’s amazing. To those of you who’ve left comments here, on Facebook, or elsewhere, thank you.

I’m hard at work on the second comic, about my friend KT Haché. The comic will be a little bit about her experience as a transgender woman as well as her sweet androgynous fashion sense. She’s been great to work with, and I think you’ll all like the comic when I post it here in a couple weeks. Until then, you can find her on Facebook and Twitter, and her writing portfolio is here. She’s an awesome writer, and I hope to get her to contribute more to this project in the future.

I’ve made up a postcard for the project, to give out at comic conventions and other places, and I’m using some finished artwork from her comic for it. Take a look:

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They should come in around the middle of the month, and the first con I’ll have them at is a first year anime convention called ShikaCon, which I’m a guest at. It’s April 25th and 26th. If you’re local, come check it out! I’ll also be at Mountain Empire Comics for Free Comic Book Day the Saturday after that, May 2nd.

The first article, a discussion about the body horror films of David Cronenberg between myself and a friend of mine, should be up Monday or Tuesday. Or well, I should say the first part of that discussion, as we cover a lot of ground so it’ll be broken up into two or three separate posts. Editing that and working on art for it as we speak.

Oh, I thought I’d point out a couple references made in Trying to be Human. The bottom panel on the second page, “eventually it resurfaces,” is kind of a visual callback to my first graphic novel, Other Sleep. You can read the first three chapters of that here. The whole book has been submitted to ComiXology, and I’m just waiting to hear back on whether they’ve accepted it or not. You can also by physical copies from me here.

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The final page, first two panels of the bottom tier are from other past projects. First is Embrace Infection (NSFW,) my senior art show that I put together before graduating college. Reflected Gaze was actually born from wanting to do something like that again! Second is a short comic called Zimmik Looks For Love in a Barren Land (also NSFW,) which I did for a friend’s zine. Check those out.

Thanks again for reading. Keep spreading the word.

Laying things down

I have half of the first Reflected Gaze comic drawn now, which is addressing my own personal body issues and serves as an introduction into what I‘m hoping to accomplish with this project. Few things will make you more self-conscious than having your girlfriend take awkward photos of you, and then drawing from those photos.

If things stay on track, the comic will be finished and uploaded some time later next week. I feel like I should address a couple things before it goes up, though.

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As you can tell from the sample art, there will be some nudity involved. This is all about our bodies, after all. So it should go without saying that the content on this page will from time to time be NSFW, unless your job is cool with you looking at nude illustrations, in which case? You have a cool job.

I’m not saying every person I’ll be drawing comics of will be depicted nude, of course. That’s up to them, not me, and I know some will be more willing than others, which is absolutely fine. Nobody should feel pressured, especially since this is sensitive subject matter being dealt with. So, those entries that do feature full-on nudity will be tagged as such.

I have my own feelings about how our society regards naked bodies, but if you don’t want to see them, the tags will be there in order for you to avoid those particular entries.

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Second of all, given that this project is all about people addressing their own personal body issues and putting themselves on display, I will not tolerate any mean, abusive commentary. Similarly, I won’t tolerate any lewd or perverted comments. Any and all comments of this nature will be removed as I find them.

Reflected Gaze is open and welcome to all kinds of people, and I’m hoping to share the voices and experiences of people who are all different shapes, sizes, and colors. Discussion is encouraged, but keep it civil, alright? I’m hoping this is the only time I’ll have to say any of this. I’m hoping people will be respectful and mature, but, you know, that isn’t always the case.

These same rules apply to the Facebook page and to the Tumblr. NSFW content will be tagged, and abuse will not be tolerated. Thanks.

[Brett]

A series of small vibrations

So here’s what’s happened since setting things up yesterday and going public.

The Facebook page for this project got hammered with likes. HAMMERED. I actually wasn’t quite ready to announce it, but a few savvy folks picked up on it and spread it like wildfire and I scrambled to keep up. My phone went off with each new like or comment I got. About a dozen people spoke up about wanting to participate, way more than I’d anticipated.

I hastily threw together the banner you see at the top of this page now. It’s also on the Facebook page and the Tumblr.

I watched the page get more likes. I watched friends and people I didn’t know share it. I started talking to those who were interested in participating about what I wanted to do, and listened as they told me about their own body issues and experiences.

I started to freak out a little. My body buzzed with nervous energy the way my phone did with each new update that hit. I began to feel really overwhelmed by this immediate wave of interest.

I didn’t sleep much.

I started talking more with the people who wanted to participate. There’s a lot of ground to cover, a lot of voices to be heard.

I barely have a grasp of what I’m doing. This isn’t at all what I was expecting. This project has grown and morphed within 24 hours of going public. That’s amazing. Incredible. And it’s all thanks to you guys.

Here’s the original drawing for that banner, by the way:

bannersketchSo what’s next, now that an audience has sprung up so quickly? Well, uh, I’m not entirely sure.

I’m still looking for people to get in on this, regardless of age, race, shape, or size. Particularly other men. Especially men who would like to write their own essays or articles, or do their own comics or whatever.

I’m also looking for someone to help run the Tumblr. I’ve already got my girlfriend helping with the Facebook page.

I have to organize, figure out an order and method to all of this. Get everyone lined up, determine who’s doing what. I may need to put together an editorial team to help on that end.

I have five pages written and laid out to draw. Four of those pages are about my own personal insecurities, laying the groundwork for what’s to come. Photo reference will be taken this weekend, and I’ll start drawing after that. I should be able to knock it out in a week or two. Then I start on the next person. And then the next. And so on. So many stories to tell, so many experiences to share.

Again, thank you all so much for your excitement and interest. You’re helping make this oddball project of mine something big, something important. Keep telling others, share the links, spread the word.

I’ll try not to blow this. I don’t want to let you all down.

What you see in the mirror

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Hello. Things are really bare bones around here, and probably won’t pick up for a while, but I thought an introduction would be a good thing on the off chance anyone stumbles onto this page.

Reflected Gaze is about our bodies, the way we poke and prod at them in the mirror, examining our insecurities, society’s pressures to look a certain way, and how we overcome that and learn to be comfortable with who we are. With this project, I’ll be talking with people about their own bodies, their issues and perceptions, and illustrating them. Some of these discussions will take comic form, some will be essays or interviews.

I want readers to learn they’re not alone when they’re facing themselves in the mirror, no matter who they are or what they look like. That’s the goal here.

For now, I’m still enlisting people to get involved, finding models, coming up with an overall visual look for the project, all of that. There’s a Facebook page set up, as well as a Tumblr where supplementary material will be posted.

I need a banner. I should really get started on that.

Anyways, thanks for stopping by, and I hope you stick around!

[Brett]