What was Absurd Notions?
In my first semester of college, at the end of 1989, I started submitting a comic strip to the student newspaper. I called it Absurd Notions entirely because of a prior note I had made to myself that this would make a good title for something. It did not turn out to be a fitting name, but the names of comic strips seldom are. In 1999, I revived it as a webcomic, with the same characters working vaguely defined jobs, playing vaguely defined RPGs, and landing a number of clever punchlines and turns of phrase while living out their severely prosaic lives. The different ways in which it grew to become subtly stuck in the past are too numerous and manifold to fully examine here.
What happened to it? By 2007 things had slowed to a crawl. I convinced myself that what I was really tired of was updating this terrible html website in Notepad. I enlisted help in creating something more automated, and gave myself a break while it was being done. For the next year or so, when caught in conversation, I told people I was waiting for my new website and then the comic would return. By the time I had been delivered something that I didn't really know how to finish implementing, I realized that I had designed specifications for a site that was already obsolete in many ways. But more importantly, I soon understood that the real problem was that I didn't really like Absurd Notions anymore, nor did I enjoy hearing about it.
Almost all anyone would say about my comic was that it was "dead" (or, in the briefest moments, "back"). Whether it was a month or a week, between every strip I would get messages about how it was such a shame I'd obviously given up comics forever because it had been so long. I found that by making this sentiment less wrong, I could hear it less frequently. I absorbed the message that until I was prepared to supply continuous daily entertainment, there was no point in getting anyone interested enough to be disappointed, and no wisdom in expressing goals where people might see them and take them as promises. And I started to suspect that the setting of Absurd Notions as I had conceived it was inherently a dry well. I tried working on it occasionally, but it didn't amount to enough to start showing anyone, and I instead focused my attention on typeface design.
What is Absurd Notions going to be? I have some ideas, not because I like it again, but because any other comics I try to do will be compared to it, and I would like it to be less of an embarrassment when it does. Embracing the fact that this is a nostalgia act, I intend to remake the 1990s college phase, replacing all the "you had to be there" explanations specific to my school with narrative that can take you there and show you. Then I would rerun the online strips at a resolution more readable on modern screens, while fixing mistakes and sticking in some new strips to fill out the storylines that always ran short when I ran out of jokes. Then, if all this hasn't germinated a fresh way forward by the time I get to where I left off, I'll find a sensible way to wrap it up.
Or I might finish two introductory pages and realize I've got nothing more. That could happen too.
What about Why The Long Face? I have plans for more of the autobiographical journal comics. They, too, will be less shackled to real time. That was going to be part of the aborted site redesign: a navigation system that could go through them in the order I drew and posted them in, or in the chronological order of when they happened. That idea may be discarded. Regardless, there are certain things that will need to take place in my life before I'm ready to get into it.