Bermuda Triangle

Published in Street Smell #2, Bad Art Studios, 1997.

It all started here, so many would tell you. My serious comics career I mean. Until this point, I was still in the thrall of Robert Crumb, telling short, mostly humorous and scatalogical strips. But in 1994 I had an epiphany while watching the editor of the defunct The Bizarre Times read one of my short comedy strips intended for that mag. It was a dense four tiers per each of two pages strip, with a lot of dialogue and pictures crammed with jokes. He seemed to read it with barely a glance at the pictures, despite the fact it took three times as long to draw as it did to write. Sure, we can glance at a picture far faster than we can read writing, but it put me out; why bloody bother with all that drawing if the words do the bulk of the story-telling? This event was compounded by reading Chet Brown’sThe Playboy and Fuck storylines in his serial comic, Yummy Fur as it was then (the latter collected as I Never Like You). I really admired the way Brown paced his autobiographical stories with a lot of silent panels, allowing the reader to observe characters through their facial expressions and body language, admitting a degree of ambiguity as happens in life. As much as I wanted to draw like Jaime Hernandez, I wanted to write visually like Chet Brown, so in that respect, he is a far greater influence on my comics than anyone else.

Bermuda Triangle was my first real attempt to tell a story with pictures, and therefore, I gave it a very cinematic feel, engendering what I hoped was a real sense of time and place. It's true that the idea borrowed a bit from the great Tim Hunter film about teenage alienation and American decay, The River, and how the boys don't react 'normally' to the discovery of a body, but as an object of curiosity and opportunity. It struck a chord with many readers, and I knew that this was the road I must travel thereafter in comics. I produced this over the summer of 1995-96, when I was studying painting at art school as a mature age student, my mind filled with a lot of new ideas brought on by the study of art history and aesthetics. I knew the one thing I really wanted was to be taken seriously as an artist. But this was still a time when comics were not taken seriously; the graphic novel boom was still to come. I had gone to study painting thinking that the fine arts is where one could get respect as an artist - little did I know. I’m very happy this story has affected so many people profoundly, but I chafe at the crudeness of the art; but it was the best I could do at the time, which is all anyone could ask for. 


Type: Short Story