So, Forever 16 is moving forward at a good pace now. Only I’m not going to call it Forever 16 for much longer. I mentioned the title “Nineteen-Ninety-Something” in my last journal, and I just think it fits a whole lot better. It’s a strip about teenagers in the ‘90s and the title ought to reflect that. “Forever 16” is an artifact from the time when I was jumping all over the place in the strip’s timeline, doing stories from anywhere between 1990 and the present, and drawing attention to the fact that I used a floating timeline and the characters never aged. Now that I’m doing it from the beginning and trying to actually sell it, I think a less confusing name would help a lot. (Once I design a good logo for it, I’ll go back to the Sunday strips I’ve posted in the last few months and put it over the old title for the sake of consistency.)
In other news, I’m backing way off from the underwater stuff. I’m looking at some of the underwater art I’ve been producing over the past year or so, and to be honest, a lot of it just feels really repetitive. Characters in pools wearing outfits not normally worn in pools…okay? Where’s the innovation? Where’s the creativity? Off the Deep End has ground to a frustrating halt – as I delve more and more into the personalities of the characters, I find the underwater modeling angle just feels gratuitous and self-indulgent. I could make Danielle a regular photographer or a painter or something and it’d be the exact same series. And hey, whatever happened to Adorkable? I could never get that to go anywhere because I was shoehorning the underwater stuff into a series where it just didn’t need to be. Abby’s a math and science nerd who loves Doctor Who and Lord of the Rings and can’t work up the courage to talk to boys – where does “amateur underwater photographer” fit into that? I couldn’t wrap a story around it because the characters didn’t lend themselves to the premise. And also, you notice how I haven’t drawn Maxine Mink in over a year and a half? Yeah, how many times can I put her underwater before I admit I don’t have any other ideas for her?
The way I see it, there’s two opposing forces at work here – my desire to tell good solid stories with strong relatable characters, and my inexplicable interest in underwater fashion. I’ve tried to make the two of them coexist harmoniously, but it just isn’t happening. Actually, it’s kind of embarrassing how awkward some of this stuff has turned out to be. So unless I can strike a more satisfying balance, I’m probably gonna back off from sharing a lot of my underwater art in the future. I feel like I oughta give folks something a little more substantial when you come to my gallery, not just endless repetitions on the same bizarre theme.