A 24 hour comic. Writing and drawing a 24-page comic book in 24 hours. It even sounds like a bad idea, but here we are, doing it. Who even came up with this? Oh, Scott McCloud? Well, fuck Scott McCloud and his bright fucking ideas. I would've been fine just sleeping right now, but no. I had to be creative while sleep-deprived.
"But Neil Gaiman did one!" my buddy had said, very obviously trying to convince me.
"Wikipedia says HE didn't finish either. And he's written a million books! I've written, let me check... NONE. And you expect me to beat a world-famous author?"
"Look, it's not that hard, you just do a page an hour. And it's not like Neil Gaiman is a world-famous comic artist."
"Just. A page an hour. Like it's the easiest thing in the world! Are you even listening to yourself?"
He'd been talking this up as a personal challenge -- an exciting adventure, even -- for months before I finally said I'd do it. I've dabbled in creating comics before, but never more than doodles or jokes in 4 panels or less. Never a concerted effort. I was intrigued, who doesn't want to challenge themselves from time to time. But I have no practice with this shit, and he knows it.
He just didn't want to do it alone.
We started at 10pm -- his suggestion -- and by now we're 4 hours in.
I've got a page.
Singular. Literally a single page. And it has characters on it I don't really have a story for, jokes that aren't really going to lead to anything. I've got a cramp in my back from the shitty chair he's provided, a cramp in my hand from drawing what I think might be 20 lines and I am regretting very many things. I've been staring at this page for an hour now, trying to come up with any kind of continuation but I keep getting stuck. There's just nowhere to go from here and my thoughts keep returning to murder and wanting to go to bed really, really bad.
He's got 6 pages. I don't know where he's getting it from, but he just keeps going. As far as I know he doesn't have any experience creating comics either. He won't let me read his pages, so I don't even know if it's any good or not, but I have to believe it isn't. Just because I'm sick of his face.
I really want to punch him. Like, in the temple or something. Knock him out.
Maybe steal his pages.
"You doing okay?" he asks sheepishly, like he doesn't realize the torment he's caused.
"No. This sucks. I've got nothing and it's 2am," I say, biting off the words.
"Maybe take a nap? Sometimes sleeping can help. I'll wake you up after an hour."
He smiles. Actually... That doesn't sound bad at all.
"Yeah, maybe I'll do that. An hour, right? No longer, I'm already behind."
"No problem. I'll turn down the music."
He did so and I got up, stretched with a grunt and walked over to the couch. Pulling my hoodie up, I lay down.
"Happy dreams," he said happily.
"Fuck you," I thought to myself. "Thanks," I said instead.
I fell asleep in an instant. I guess I was more tired than I thought. I dreamt of many things, weird and unconnected, but some thoughts drifting through my sleeping mind were in some way relevant to my opening page. When he shook me to wake me up, I woke up feeling refreshed and full of ideas. I sat up and stretched.
I rubbed my eyes, "What time is it?"
He didn't answer immediately, "Uhm, it's 5am."
I looked at him in shock. I tried to say something but couldn't, thoughts were racing through my mind too fast.
He shifted uncomfortably. I could see he was at page 9 by now, and my hatred grew two sizes.
"I went to wake you up after an hour like I said I would, but you rolled over, opened your eyes and looked at me like you were going to murder my entire family, then said 'No.' and turned away again."
I put my head in my hands.
"I was asleep, man... You could've really woken me up before giving up!"
"No, dude, seriously, your look was evil! And you said no, I thought you were awake!"
"So you waited another two hours before trying again?"
"No, I tried again 3 times and every time you did the same thing. The last time you told me if I tried again you'd rip out my kidneys!"
I sighed. 7 hours in and a single page. 17 hours to do 23 pages. I got up, went into the kitchen to make a coffee and stood with my head leaning on the wall as the machine gurgled.
This was going to be a long 17 hours.
Author's note: Almost every year I do a 24 hour comic with a friend of mine. This situation is mostly fictional, except for the not being woken up on time thing. It just happened to me, and I was indeed told I gave a death stare and snarled something to the effect of 'no' before turning over again. I would like to point out that in the real situation, I woke up an hour later than intended, and I even finished the comic with an hour to spare! (We both finished our comics on time :)