This is the first comic where I’ve included shading. Makes the panels pop a bit more, right?
Whenever I spend extended periods of time in nature, I feel refreshed and renewed. A calm intuition opens up inside me, the concept of time dissolves, and I find joy in the sights, smells and sounds of the forest.
So why don’t I go outside more often?
Alas, too much time is spent each day behind a screen. Drawing, writing, posting, reading, watching. There’s so much to do on that 14″ window into the virtual world, that I often leave the real world on the back burner. Simply, in order to effectively make my living, I’ve got to do a great many tasks behind a screen. How does one build a fanbase or a brand nowadays without social media or SEO?
You can hardly go into the forest searching for new fans. Hi, Mr. Squirrel. Can I tell you about my comic strip, Ergo?
Ah, Monkey Island. If you’ve never played Monkey Island, you are missing out on a hilarious adventure. Not only in the Secret of Monkey Island a wonderfully immersive challenge for both kids and adults, it’s also one of the funniest games ever made. The humor of Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert (The geniuses behind Monkey Island One and Two) has certainly influenced my own writing style. Those quirky tidbits of detail, the slightly lateral perspective, that’s where you’ll find the heart of comedy.
There’s a few other nostalgic things hidden in these panels. Panel 1: In the cardboard box you’ll see two other brilliant adventure games: Myst, and Grim Fandango (Another LucasArts original). Panel 2: The cardboard box in the foreground has a the old Batman the Animated Series Batmobile, and the Batwing. Finally in the background, a statue of Scrooge McDuck from Ducktales.
Rick’s beard currently matches my own.
This is the first comic of Ergo, Season Two! Woo!
With that hurrah out of the way, my thoughts on the context of this comic strip:
I’m a strong believer in life-long learning, but I’m ambivalent on grades. With all our modern understanding of human psychology, is this stress-inducing system really the best thing we can come up with for our kids? Not only do grades lead to chronic pressure, they present a thoroughly flawed perspective of life. When’s the last time you were graded at work, other than your yearly performance review? When you succeed at work, you don’t get an arbitrary number or letter telling you how you’ve done. Most likely, you receive no feedback at all, and if you do, it’s hopefully in the financial terms of a commission or bonus.
I’m increasingly interested in the concept of gamification. What makes video games addictive and fun, and how can this be applied to education in a genuine way that isn’t forced or cheesy?
I like the absentminded look on McFluff’s face in the first panel.
McFluff is based on my own dog, Van. I got him at the Atlanta Humane Society in 2011. They told me he was a Labrador Beagle puppy and that he would grow. He didn’t. He remained 22 pounds. My best guess is that’s he’s a Labardor-Whippet mix. Today, he’s probably about 8 years old. He’s a got a bit of a old-age white on his chin nowadays, but he’s still as fast as greased lightning, and has retained all the playful energy of a pup.
He’s also thoroughly domesticated. He tucks tail and runs whenever he hears a loud noise outside. The only thing he’s ever successfully hunted in his life is literally a housefly. But it’s not a judgement. I imagine that we humans, too, are being continuously domesticated. If my understanding is correct, domestication succeeds by keeping an animal in a more or less juvenile state throughout its entire life. This certainly appears to be the case with my own generation, the Millennials.