Here it is, the big fancy T-O-E drawing. Always fun and kind of weird to return to a character like this; I feel like this is the closest I’ve ever got to the picture in my head of an immortal, indifferent magic robot covered in trinkets from different cultures and centuries.
Getting some prints of this for Spring conventions (Staple, ECCC, TCAF, MoCCA, Linework [wow is it really that many]), at the very least. I liked having one big new print for shows last year, so maybe that’s a tentative plan for the future…
While we’re on Stone Palm, here’s some later iterations: a print I made in 2009 of Gerund and Infin, and a page from Order of Tales that represented an effort to kind of redesign it to fit that comic’s aesthetic.
continually crazy to re-remember how much Overside stuff I’ve made……..
I put up an enormous art book on Gumroad. About 100 pages; practically every piece of Overside-related promotional art and illustration I’ve made over the past eight years. EIGHT YEARS! There is also a pretty lengthy section of commentary on every piece in the book, from the perspective of bitter, wizened 2014 Evan.
It was strange and weirdly emotional pulling this stuff out of the last three computers I’ve used. Overside and what I’ve been trying to get out of it haven’t been extremely internally consistent, but I don’t think many people get to have such a clear throughline for so many years through practically everything they do creatively. Not done yet, either.
It would be lovely if you’d help me spread the word on this thing, and let me know what you think of it if you decide to get it! Thank you!
So I decided to draw four characters from four of my favourite webcomics of all time. (Which I totally recommend ya’ll to give a shot at reading.)
From left to right:
RGB from The Property of Hate, which can be read here and here. (If I’m not wrong, the artist says she’s planning on making another webpage for it? Idk.)
The Property of Hate is a webcomic by Sarah Jolley (aka Modmad aka Fred aka Albionhands) that began publication in early 2012 and usually updates on Sundays.
A young girl is suddenly awoken by a strange man who refers to himself simply as RGB. He is formal in speech and odd in the head, or in the television set where his head should be. He asks her if she would like to become a hero, and though she answers with gusto, she doesn’t have any knowledge of what will be expected of her as she leaves her home for a world in the skies.
The journey across the clouds takes her to a world badly in need of a hero, where lies and fears are very real and very dangerous. The hero’s courage helps her survive her first encounter with fear itself, but her very young age — and RGB’s refusal to explain anything — make it a difficult and dangerous journey for her.
Eno Lacroix from Monsterkind, which can be read here. Monsterkind is by Taylor C. (also known as Enenkay) and usually updates on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Monsterkind is a story about humans and monsters living in a country ruled by segregation and inequality. Monsters are treated as second class citizens, and are not allowed in certain areas of the country- especially those inhabited by wealthier humans.
Wallace Foster is a human who has just been transferred into District C of Fairway. He has never lived among monsters until now, but he’s quickly realizing that they aren’t as bad as everyone has made them out to be.
Change and progression have never come easy in this backwards world, but perhaps Wallace can help close the gap between human and monsterkind and bring the two together in harmony. He’ll at least try.
The One Electronic, aka T.O.E, from Rice Boy and Order of Tales, which both can be read here. Both stories are by Evan Dahm and are completed stories.
Order of Tales is an adventure story that follows Teller Koark, the last member of a society of storytellers, as he becomies involved in a complex plot dealing with secrets lost in the history of Overside. It is set in the third century of the Red Age. It was started in July 2008, and was finished in July 2010. It will be printed in three books.
Rice Boy is a brightly colored and surreal fantasy adventure story, set in the ninth century of the Red Age of Overside. It was started in April 2006 and finished in May 2008. It is divided into five books, and available in one printed edition.
This serves as our introduction to the Surin. Immediately, we see the striking differences between them and Sahta. The blue-and-purple color scheme and their pagoda-based architecture contrast greatly with the basic shapes and spartan brown-and-red of the rest of the city. Even the color of the lights is different.
Prior to this page, the Surin had only been mentioned once, and are the last of the main Sahtan races to be introduced. Their only prior mention goes thusly:
“All kinds have something to offer Sahta. The Surin, the War-men. Even the Grish.”
“The Grish? The War-men offer their strength, and Surin their sacrament- But the Grish?”
Note: This is also serves as an introduction to the Grish, and by the beginning of the next chapter, we witness firsthand their troubled relationship with Sahta.
Anyway, from this conversation we gather that the Surin are perhaps a religious or spiritual race, and seeing the Surin compound with this in mind, in such a juxtaposition to the rest of Sahta, it seems more more like a monk’s enclave. It’s also in great contrast to the War-men and the Fluters, who seem to be at the rock-bottom of Sahtan social structure and have their respective cultures largely assimilated. The Surin, on the other hand, have a whole section of the city that seems to be- architecturally, atmospherically, and spiritually- theirs, where they are able to live in a way that seems to fly in the face of Sahta.
From just one picture and two passing lines of dialogue, we already know so much about a race that we haven’t even fully seen yet. Evan Dahm is showing us, not telling us, and that is key. It really speaks to what kind of story Vattu is in comparison to his earlier works. Rice Boy was very much quest-based, wherein the titular hero was always being sent somewhere to have things explained to him. T-O-E sends him to the Tree Keeper. The Tree Keeper sends him to Parod. Parod sends him to Seen, where he finds out where the Iron Tower is. In Order of Tales, it’s slightly different, with directions and explanations being found by the hero in the book of stories he carries with him.
They’re both very quest-based stories that play off the classic hero’s journey. I can’t possibly know what Vattu will become, it’s still in the very early stages, but it’s plain to see just how much focus Dahm is putting on worldbuilding, seamlessly weaving it into the narrative, so that we never feel like we’re being told things, we feel like we’re discovering them on our own in a way that feels natural.