Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Ballad of 'Ol Shootin' Jed: Page 7

So I thought that I was going to be going to the Time Tunnel Toy Show in San Jose this weekend, but a certain level of apathy I've been feeling towards my schedule has made it impossible. I'll do my best not to fuck it up when the summer show comes around.

So I have something on my mind, something pretty stupid, and this just goes to show how much time and effort I spend bitching and whining about things that really don't matter. But, this is my comics blog, and it has everything to do with art and storytelling, so if I'm gonna blather on about this subject anywhere, it's gonna hafta be here!

So, as many of you know, a huge part of what's been influencing me and my more recent art endeavors have been the newly formed phenomenon of internet urban legends, also called by the name "Creepy Pastas". If you're not familiar, they're an interesting phenomenon, not unlike campfire stories that you tell and re-tell on various camping trips, passed down by word-of-mouth, convincing enough to make you believe it's real, but vague enough so you can't actually verify authenticity.
Creepy Pastas are very similar, but instead of hearing them over the glow of a camp fire, you read them over the glow your your monitor. Many of these stories bury their roots in something immediately familiar and recognizable in pop media, The Simpsons and Legend of Zelda are two immediate examples. This is effective because it gives the viewer something real to cling to while the story is being read/heard, and also serves to twist and distort what might have been a cherished childhood memory into something dark and disturbing. I appreciate this kind of story telling.

Sometimes, the stories are truly original pieces based around original characters. One of the most pervasive and recognizable original creepy pasta characters is the Slender Man or "Operator" as he's sometimes called.

Other creepy pastas, while not nearly as often as the first two, will plant their seed of truth in something wholly obscure and random. So obscure and so random that you can sometimes be tricked into believing that you're reading a totally original story... but little by little, the details of the seed of truth will begin to blossom, and you'll begin to question whether what you read was really a story at all, and not an... account...
This is where the point of this whole... rant, comes about!

Ladies and Gentlemen... Candle Cove!

You might have heard this story before, it's a pretty ingenious one.
Not only is it presented as an online discussion thread from multiple sources, but its seeds sown in the soil of an ACTUAL obscure children's show from the 70's. So you might have even seen this show as a child, only adding to the experience as you read this story and imagine yourself in the place of these kids.

This story was made even more effective by the accompanying videos that were made after the fact. Here's a recreation of the "final episode" as described in the story:

Here's another, more minimalistic video, that captures the whole "the show isn't real and the kids are watching static" thing.

So what's the verdict, pretty cool, right? Would you say that's an "effective" creepy pasta? Or to put it simply, do you think it's a good scary story? I certainly do!
So what's the best way to ruin a perfectly good scary story? There is only one tried and true method. Nightmare on Elm Street Did it, Halloween did it, Friday the 13th did it... and now... it's been done to Candle Cove... someone decided to make... a SEQUEL! :(

Despite this also being a good story, attaching it to the already existing Candle Cove Continuity (C.C.C.) in my mind serves only to undermine the creep-out factor of the original's continuity. What made the first story scary? It's a vaguely supernatural tale attached to a rare show surrounded by some disturbing rumours which leads into the twist ending of it being part of a bunch of unrelated kids' overactive and slightly twisted imaginations... OR, POSSIBLY, a mass hypnosis experiment which is vaguely tied to some unexplained supernatural occurrance. This new story treats Candle Cover as if it were an actual show, with a cast and crew and a creator who, indisputably had a few, if not several screws loose... if not some unexplained affiliation with the occult.

If I wasn't such a huge nerd, I might not consider this entry as "cannon" in official creepy pasta "lore" :P

But you see, these are the trivial little bullshit matters that haunt my thought processes. A series of totally fan made/user generated content and I'm here arguing continuity! It's this kind of dedication to creepy stories that has made it so hard for me to make any headway on "Abyss Stares Back." If I hold other people's creepiness to such scrutiny, I can't let my own creation be anything less than spectacular... and that's where I hit my wall :(


thankfully, I still have cute, silly projects like Dave and Shootin' Jed to keep me busy.

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