Sunday, September 13, 2009

When Pigs Fly

Many of you might not realize that I used to do a weekly comic called, predictably, "When Pigs Fly." In fact, that was the original intent of the original version of this blog. It quickly grew beyond my self-imposed fence, though, and eventually morphed into what it is now: a collection of ramblings, paleontology, and art posts. Back when I was still in college--this would be the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Two--the university newspaper, The Northern Light, put out a call to student cartoonists. Monetary compensation was advertised as well artistic exposure. I leapt at the chance, producing the comic you see above, as well as the following variant:

I thought my efforts would be rewarded. You see, several years earlier, when I was still technically in high school, I produced a one-panel "Far Side"-esque comic called...wait for it..."When Pigs Fly" that made fun of dinosaurs. I recall, with some trepidation, one particular comic involving a dromaeosaur in a soccer jersey, a blown soccer ball hanging limply from his deadly pedal claw. The caption read, "Why raptors weren't good at soccer." Oh, the hilarity! I think I need a hug. That comic ran almost an entire semester, my many submissions leaked out slowly, week by week, until finals arrived.

Apparently, the entire staff at the Northern Light had been replaced by slack-jawed yokels. One of the comics (I forget which one) ran a few weeks later, though titled "Miller Time," a pitiful play on my last name which was, handily, scrawled above the third panel in print. Thank Cthulhu for that! The readers would then be in on the joke. Two reader-produced comics ran: mine, and one involving crudely drawn stick figures talking nonesense that wasn't funny, and perhaps wasn't supposed to be funny. I don't know if you've ever encountered a poorly-drawn stick figure--these are not terribly difficult objects to draw: toddlers scrawl them onto walls with crayons on a regular basis. The quality of these stick figures, the ones in the comic below my own, were not up to toddler standards.

But I digress! I had submitted several more comics the next day, assured they would run in the coming weeks. This did not occur. Furthermore, the cash promise was never satisfied. After inquiring, I was told that they small staff had "lost my information," and they handed me another weighty stack of forms to fill out. This I did, and when I hadn't heard anything several days later, I returned to their offices and demanded to know, as they say, "what's up?"

At this point, I'll interject that the stick-figure fiasco was still running, though my comic, which required effort to produce, never made it past that initial printing. Erik Nielson, who sojourned to that campus for years after I graduated, tells me of that comic's amazing success: despite not being funny, well-drawn, or at times intelligible, the stick-figure theatre survived for several semesters. We both came to theorize that it was produced by one of the paper's own staff members, who after a certain amount of time graduated.

Back to the story, though. Miraculously, the staff had once again lost my information and didn't even remember who I was. At that point, I decided that it wasn't worth the trouble, and that my information was probably being "lost" purposefully. Print media, or at least the people who worked on said copy, became undesirable, so I started this blog* and did my own goddamn thing. The comic that would come to occupy When Pigs Fly (the weblog) looks virtually nothing like what you see above. It came to resemble Penny Arcade more in terms of main character body outline (I like to convince myself that this is purely coincidence, but cognitive dissonance only gets you so far). As for humor, though, my unique brand of sarcasm coupled with a healthy love of fetuses quickly dissolved any meaningful comparison.

Erik and Marcus still prod me to produce more comic strips, which is something I very well may take them up on.

*several years after graduating, sadly.

1 comment:

BusaFan said...

prod prod. more comics. moooore cooooomics. (comics zombie)