Here’s another page from Hitchhiker, the second new story meant for inclusion in my next book of graphic short stories dealing with the Great American Mythological Drama, FOLKTALES. I’m deeply interested in depicting atmospheric elements convincingly, such as rain and fog. And I’m not just talking about a generic depiction. I want to capture subtleties: A hard rain as a opposed to drizzle, etc. Hitchhiker is an example of that: At the beginning of the story, the hitchhiker is picked up during a heavy rain storm; by the time we get to page five, the rain has stopped and has been replaced by a heavy fog. I like the dramatic possibilities of working with the depiction of weather. Could anyone argue that nature isn’t a critical element to the American experience? Anyone who’s driven cross-country or lived in any location in America for any amount of time knows that, once the weather decides to get nasty, the ordinary human routine has to make way for it (Maybe that’s why we talk about the weather so much). Tornadoes, hurricanes, forest fires, blizzards, flash floods…on and on…these aren’t secondary issues. I would argue that these are important characters in the story of American life. So if I’m serious about capturing the evasive nature of the Great American Mythological Drama, Nature has to be a considered character – as important, I suppose, as any human character.
Nature, or the natural landscape, also gives clues to the location in which a story takes place. In Hitchhiker, the landscape is less visually depicted, but is made clear if you pay attention to the cities mentioned by the main characters. The landscape of the state in which the story takes place is significant to the mood I’m trying to capture in HITCHHIKER. It creates a mental picture without having to illustrate it – which, in this case, any densely illustrated depiction would break the isolated darkness and nasty weather taking place outside the car – in essense, the contradicting sense of claustrophobia (inside the car) and lost-in-space pitch blackness (outside the car) that support the psychological mood I’m shooting for.