The Epic of Karie

24 Hour Comics Day 2009

Does this comic have a story! I mean, the story behind the story. What was untitled until October 4th of 2009, when on the spur of the moment I called it with some wry sense of irony The Epic of Karie, was a story I have been developing since at least 1997. My First Story. It was a sprawling story of medieval fantasy, very much in tune with the Final Fantasy games I was obssessed with. Karie was the prototypical young hero with awesome power, but unwilling to live up to it. Her journey across a land which despises her for reasons out of her control leads to revelations and the realization that people sometimes hurt and lie in order to heal.

But my drawing skill was never good enough for this story and eventually "Karie’s story" was shelved on the back of my mind. The characters branched out though, and several became the leads of my first comic, Collegetown. In the ten years since they have grown with me, living fictional wonderful lives of quiet happiness interspersed with high adventure. One of them, Lori, will find herself in an upcoming anthology without missing a beat.

When 24 Hour Comics 2009 rolled around I was torn between several ideas, but I wanted to use my Wacom for digital painting and I wanted a story that fits the medium. I decided the best story to do this year was my First Story, which has been waiting to be told longer than any other. At one point a long time ago, inspired by classic paintings, I wanted Karie’s story to be told not through divided comic pages but through sequential paintings, with captions so the audience can follow along. This format would work very well with 24 Hour Comics, with me ideally making one painting per hour (spoilers: I didn’t). The morning of the event, I bought ArtRage, a cheap digital painting program, and got caught up on online tutorials.

The length of my story was too long for this format though so many, many cuts were made. As it turned out, the story is four paintings of introduction and nine of climax and resolution. Characters who (I think) had complex motivations and development arcs get introduced (or just show up) only to meet their fate a painting later. Still, I’m very happy with the result, and especially delighted that The Epic of Karie is something physically real, and given a name. Give the button below a click and enjoy.

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