Helping Mitch is an experimental short story and comic. Mitch, who just turned 40, used to run a successful manufacturing business. At the height of a typically stressful week, he was struck by a delivery truck and was never the same again after sustaining brain damage. The story explores the relationship between Mitch and his mother, Sharon, who has taken it upon herself to bring the old Mitch back at any expense.
Reflections on process
In an ideal world, I would have done the research and scripting and accumulate months of content before releasing Helping Mitch every Friday evening at 7:01PM. In an ideal world, a citywide wide internet disruption didn’t just happen and we didn’t spend the whole day unplugging and resetting our router which we mistook for our modem. In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have to struggle for the things that matter to us. But what would we learn if everything went our way and the outcome of our planning was always predictable and desirable?
For Helping Mitch, I do have a theme, a point, or a destination I am working towards but I’m building the road as I go. In other words, I’m blundering through the process despite the many great resources out there on writing and making comics that advise or even urge planning. Would I recommend my not-so-methodical methods? Probably not. But I am learning to find the order within the chaos, to get comfortable with not knowing, to be free of expectations. It’s been kind of terrifying yet strangely refreshing.
On the second page of Helping Mitch, we are introduced to Mitch’s mom, Sharon. Her actions, coupled with the information from the radio, give us a glimpse of her hopes for Mitch. Writing this page was a great challenge. Firstly, I had no idea how to proceed with the story. Fortunately, a fellow blogger and creative, Amy Borg (check out her blog here), suggested some writing exercises that really helped me to not only get over the block of the second page but also to visualize the next couple of pages. Thanks again Amy! 🙂
The second challenge was the research. Even though Helping Mitch is a work of fiction I still wanted to make the characters and their situation believable. Unlike the first page where I struggled with the drawing, I spent the majority of my time reading studies, trying not to get lost in the overwhelming amount of information, paring down the text to drive the point that, from Sharon’s view, hope for recovery may lie in a little blue pill. (Quick note: Cerebrix is a fictional product that is loosely based on this article on traumatic brain injury (TBI) treatments.)
Thanks for taking the time to read the second page of Helping Mitch. I hope you enjoyed it and would love to hear what you think of the project so far.
And the scribbling continues…