NO PLACE LIKE HOME (2011) (PARAPHILIA XI, 2011)
Artwork: “No Place Like Home” (panel excerpt, as featured in PARAPHILIA XI, Díre McCain & D.M. Mitchell) 2011, Rick Grimes.
RH: Nice one! The story I don’t quite know what to make of though, even now after having read it four times. Like most of your comics, it’s certainly one that’s hard to shake.
RG: “It’s one of those ‘nothing-more-than-what’s-there-stories’ I do from time to time, made up on waking, the sorta stuff others might throw out and not do at all. I wouldn’t want anyone trying too hard to read much into it.
There’s no particular secret cynical undercurrent, that if you knew it you would understand it more. It was done after the Fukushima meltdown, just another thing that makes you want to hole up someplace these days.
They live in a vault in a domestic subway running from our kitchen. There are dead disaster victims above the flower headed critter. (He’s also moaning, yes, like me not knowing what story to do next). ‘The end’.
I felt like loosening up a bit on this one. Balloons are easier to freehand and less trouble overall than writing the cramped captions. I can use vernacular, too, and not worry about pretending I have hellish gravitas or feigning general literacy, as seems to occur in some of my other comics and writing.
Loosens up my drawing a tad, giving me more elbow room. Part of me knows I’m probably ‘losing’ some comprehensibility somewhere, but what else is new? I was just in the mood for one of those, at the point of actually having to do it.
Like I’ve said, I change my mind a lot, and make up many different things I don’t wind up finally doing each time. So, for every story I do, there are probably five more that are waiting around on note cards or what not.
I was worried this one was too weak tho. But, I’m always like that. I know it reads too much like a prelude, but I had some momentum with it, so it’s usually best not to switch horses when that happens.”
RH: The lack of captions gives a more ‘here and now’ feel to it. One thing about your art that I love, (no doubt mentioned several times before), is the fact you’re able to constantly create a cast of characters that are their own unique selves. Even after only three pages of this new lot, I’d already like to see more of ’em (any of ’em) in follow-up or unrelated ‘adventures’.
RG: “I might do a sequel where they catalog and bury the bodies. But, not much else with them. They have all got names now, tho’. I want to at least draw them some more.
Any of them could have their own epics, as we all do, but I’m getting too old to go after that every time, with any hope of really doing it.”
RH: Where do I know that ‘Dachie’ type dog baby the little alien visitor is cradling on pg 2, panel 11? He wasn’t a creation you posted on your art blog a ways back? Reminded me of this old ‘Sweep’ dog puppet character my brothers and I used to love watching on telly as kids back in the day. Still think of that damn dog whenever I hear doors squeaking (a sound reminiscent of how Sweep used to communicate with his pals Sooty and Sue, etc.).
RG: “Hadn’t heard o’ that one. Sounds like fun. The doggish baby is supposed to be along the lines of Eraserhead’s offshoot, tho mine probly shoulda been uglier. I wanted it to still look like something she might love. And had to simplify some for the sake of panel space.
No doubt it does look like something else I’ve done—due to my usual mental laziness at some point. It’s not intentionally a ‘callback’ to anything. May be another fucked up Snoopy—I drew him too many times as a kid.
That particular panel, tho, and the one after it are also an example of an attempt at what I call, for lack of any term, a ‘kept paradox’ that wound up too watered down to even be noticeable on actually doing the art. When I made up the story, I realized I was forgetting to have her bring her ‘baby’ along with them, so excited was she to have a place to stay. So, I meant for it to look like one panel she’s carrying it, but the next only the suitcase. Like, ‘what is wrong with this picture?’.
I’ve done this before, and planned to many times in things that aren’t completed. The original Puzz Fundles pages, from one to the next, are full of deliberate contradictions. I remember being surprised and a bit disappointed then, to find that some of them disappear into innocuous ordinariness by the time you finally render them as an art sequence. Something gets absorbed. That’s what happened here.
It merely looks like the baby may simply be out of view. But, where? On the ground? Or in the suitcase??
I guess I should just do those things in almost duplicate poses. If she had not moved at all, it would be easier to see a discrepancy. I thought it was funny–‘is she a bad mother or not?’. People get so worked up over such cartoon bullshit. Everybody wants to play gotcha and prove the artist is a heartless fuck.”
RH: A follow-up story sounds fitting as this one does kind of read like part of a larger story. The ‘snapshot’ type aspect I do like, too, especially when employed in shorter works like this.
RG: “Well, I do want to open it up a little bit more. The second one will probly show why there won’t be any more of them after that.
Another major thing I wanted to add: there’s a definite sexual aspect to a lot of these things, mostly sublimated, (secondarily and on purpose), that hasn’t gone unnoticed.
With ‘No Place Like Home’, I want to point out that it can be read ‘wrong’, quite easily in fact. The idea is squarely on the surface that maybe the guy is walking her to a permanent interment with his other ‘slaves’. It’s not how I want the story to be taken, but it’s there.
I tried to get around this a bit by having the other two playing cards–they’re not in shackles or anything. And the gangly gal, Effie Gloddys, is hoping that’s him at the door. Because she’s more afraid of being there without him. But, that can be ‘misinterpreted’ as well—the way it’s written, maybe she’s afraid of him coming in, some could say.
Also there’s the lines about the monorail: “And, it’s all made of wood.” “You c’n feel it.” Is she giving him a handjob? You can’t see their hands. But, do my characters even have genitalia in these things?? And there’s that negligent mother option again; where’s the baby if this is going on?!?
They’re really just taking a ride, tho’. As I’ve said, it was all made up on waking, doubtlessly not an uncommon thing. Certainly not for me. Sexual stuff creeps in these things.
Initially, I did think, ‘oh, hey, this time I could really make the female alien semi nude’ or so, but of course I chickened out, and went for bland apparel. The joke that she thinks she’s beautiful is a bit funnier that way.
The other ‘suggestive’ lines on that page– “It’s just a front.”, “He came with th’ place.”, “He won’t come in (with) us?”, and “[He] prefers th’ tunnels”. And that the vault door looks like a big nipple are all accidents. My work is probably full of such crap. I usually don’t bother detailing it all.
The crucial point is that the character is NOT a serial killer. The dead are explicitly called “disaster bodies”. All of the story is supposed to be as it merely appears.
May all be much ado about very little, but I thought it might amuse some folks as much as it does me.
One more little thing. In filling up the phone dial with something at the last minute, I thought I was doing a cartoony omega sign, when it really is the infinity sign. (Am usually sharper than that). So, again, not ‘significant’.”
RH: Anyway, another top comic, Rick – was a treat to read.
RG: “Ta and toodle.” [late April, 2011]
A nice ‘n’ clear read at http://www.paraphiliamagazine.com/2011.html