I've had this page done for about 6 weeks. Just haven't had time to post.
Here we go.
When we left off, Sara, who our heroine (me) had met at the library, stopped in. During the ensuing conversation, I told her of my weekend with Curt. Sara said she would be ashamed to introduce me to her lesbian friends as her girlfriend.
This was one of those moments that we live without thinking about it, and later realize its impact. At this point (early 1990s) there was an even wider division between much of the lesbian community and what served as the trans community than there is now. While the term TERF was not in wide use, the phenomenon was hardly new, dating back in the public consciousness to Janice Raymond's 1979 hate-filled screed The Transsexual Empire. I made myself read that vile thing. I no longer have my copy.
Also, as Sara said this, it touched on my confusion and internalized shame. I had been out about 6 years. I had "the surgery" about a year prior to this. I was in my first serious relationship after becoming myself and I felt like I was supposed to have all the answers, and I knew that I was blowing it. Then the woman I'm interested in tells me her qualms. Really, could I blame her?
This calls for internal dialogue!
To that end, I stole a device from Harvey Pekar. There's an American Splendor story that consists entirely of Harvey talking to himself about a recent failed relationship. In the final exchange, he reflects on the old adage that failure allows for the possibility of growth. Harvey says he's tired of being alone and concludes, "right now, I'd trade growth for happiness." That really stuck with me. I decided that the narrative device he used there was perfect for this page. The silhouette is a clean visual device, but much trickier than one thinks! By reversing the black and white, I was able to get a sense of internal dialogue. I will use this again at key moments in this book, but I don't want to overuse it.
The layout of the first panel also frustrated me. I wanted a primal scream but nothing too big, if that makes any sense. I finally cribbed a pose from the Summertime number in Ralph Bakshi's American Pop, which I still think is the best thing he ever did (with the possible exception of Christmas in Tattertown).
Nothing spectacular about the second panel. It's there to convey a passive attitude, and it does that.
It took three tries to get this page the way I wanted it. It was frustrating, and it took much longer than it should have, but it was ultimately worth it.
Materials used on this page:
Canson 2 ply recycled Bristol board
no. 4 solid lead
Magic Rub eraser
Princeton Synthetic Brushes No. 2, 4 and 8
FW Artist's White
tight spot correction brush
Our story takes an embarrassing comedic turn next time.
Next post: Page 19, where things catch up with our heroine a bit.