So, you'll notice a few interesting things about this week's comic:
1. Zaphod's speech bubble has been modified. This is probably the biggest change to the comic since I modified Beanie Boy's speech bubble to the inverted style. Zaphod's new, warbly bubble better defines just how undead his speech is. Don't really know what I'm referring to? Watch his vlog.
2. The photo backgrounds are in black and white. I don't know if I'm going to keep doing that for the comic (the idea of a completely black and white comic sounds appealing, though) but impetus behind doing this for zz12 is to honor the guest star.
3. Guest Stars. You only have to go back to the first strip (or the "character page" or, in my world the "concept page" to understand that all these characters are based on actual people (or actual people as said characters ... if that makes any sense at all ...) so it should come as no surprise that Chuck Zombie is also based on someone I know.
As soon as my father died, I knew I wanted to honor him in someway and bring his likeness into the strip. It's been almost two months since he passed and when I finally sat down to work on the design of Chuck, it was still challenging. Nowhere near as difficult as if I had tried to do it the day after ... but palpable, just the same.
As I sit here contemplating the significance of putting my dad in the comic, I'm struck at how appropriate it is. And it's almost serendipitous, because it wasn't my intention to write the story arc that follows ... it just happened. See, for the whole of my life I had been at odds with my dad, the problem being less about approval and more about lack of understanding. Shortly before he died, we were both making a concerted effort to get to know each other as adults--the result of which enabled us both to better understand the other.
And one thing that has bugged me since the day he died was that he really grew up and developed such a broad sense of understanding, tolerance, and acceptance about himself that sadly few ever got to appreciate.
In the coming strips, Zaphod's dad is going to come to terms with his son living in a closet both metaphorically and literally, and still embody the spirit of understanding that my own dad had.
I hope you enjoy the comic.