FaFB Letters Page

Welcome to the FEW and FAR Between Letters Page!

Every message you send receives a personal reply from me,
but here's your chance to read a selection of
other people's FaFB mail, too
(and maybe yours as well)--along with my replies.
Start up a running discussion if you want!

August 20, 2002

FaFB is so brilliant. It's like rock candy: Big chunks of creativity, brightly colored and sweet; but it's also like pieces of knowledge and myth and geography mixed together, like something a little kid might make up to justify fears and things overheard. I love it. I love the dream god who hovers over people's heads when they dream. I want him to show up in everyone's comics.

-Sara Rosenbaum
<si@cape.com>

Speaking of rock candy, do compliments come much sweeter? Thanks for your delicious and encouraging words, Sara..

-Joda



April 26, 2002

Hey like the new story line. Glad to see the creativity juices flowing again.

Thanks, smoogen! Smoogen is another longtime FaFB reader and I thought I'd answer his note here as an opportunity to talk about the Scenes I posted after "Small World" was posted and printed last Summer and Fall, and before "Copper, Wood, and Crystal" got started in February. The creative juices never stopped flowing on FaFB (while I was preparing the current story), although the water-pressure may have been lower than usual..

A Scene was posted for each of the four months between "Small World" and "Copper, Wood, and Crystal" (including the Yuletide Scene which will be posted again next December). I enjoyed experimenting in these one-page episodes, working with colors I hadn't before and developing the "magic panel" rollovers.

It was also in the first of these Scenes that Tako Island was introduced. It is all we have seen so far of this beautiful but treacherous locale, but there is more to come. In fact, a full twenty-four page Tako Island story has already been written and will probably appear as FaFB #4, However, I'm expecting to present a featurette-length episode of TI this summer. Hint: Tako Island takes place in the future.

I am having a problem on the links to a Chipmunk and a Lizard. I think the slashes need to be reversed.

-smoogen

Indeed they did, and now they are. Thanks for alerting me! I hope you, and everyone else, has had a chance to check out a Chipmunk and a Lizard, the daily strip my friend Howard writes, and I draw. It's a lot of fun to work on. If you like it, write in and let us know!

-Joda

March 13, 2002

it's Tom from the 24 hour comic. your comic is really really cool. I have no idea what this whole world thing you've got set up is, but i really enjoyed the comic you gave me. full of weird little mystery. like the traveller who appears in every section. I am very into it. please count me as a fan. tell me the best introduction to what the hell is going on. thanks,

-Tom Hart
www.newhatstories.com

Holy smokes! It's Tom Hart! I was lucky enough to meet Hutch Owen's creator at the 24-hour comic book event I participated in last month. (The results of which will be on their way in a little while, by the way.) Read Hutch Owen's battles against our modern perils at Modern Tales, the exciting new subscription-based Webcomics site. Pick up your copy of The Collected Hutch Owen (Top Shelf) and The Sands (Black Eye) and savor the immediacy of Tom's drawings and all the potential for tragedy in the ample humor..

Here's some of what I told Tom:

If you have the few minutes to let it download, you might enjoy the Shockwave feature I made as a way of introducing the characters: Meet the FEW and FAR Between.

A short verbal answer for you is that FEW and FAR Between is the more or less fantastical stories of three parallel communities who each live in one of three archetypal environments--and in relative ignorance of one another. I guess it's just my version of all the comics I've ever loved: Marvel, Harvey, Peanuts, Krazy Kat, etc., etc., etc. So you get your gloomy introspection alongside Flood myths alongside silly poetry, etc., etc., etc.

I've been posting these characters on the Web for seven years and had been working with them for some years before that, but the issue you just read is meant to be "square one"; I'm "resetting" the "continuity" (if you can stand those terms), integrating past stories into the context of what FEW and FAR Between has developed into. I'm not hurrying myself to find out what the heck is going on with these characters, because I hope to be figuring that out for a long time. But I've got some fun things planned--some of which involves going into the future, some of which involves going into the past..

-Joda



March 10, 2002

Just wanted to send you a very belated thank-you for the cool copy of "Small World" I received way back in December. I thought it was a very well-crafted story (although I did kinda miss the "translator" device and the Tako-Arma wrestling match from the original version). And it's neat how well the subtle details of your drawing style come through in print. Speaking of subtleties--when I re-read the book today, I happened to notice that in the "montage" on the back cover, each panel is in exactly the same position on the page as in the main story. Clever!

I'm glad you liked the comic! Thanks for the compliments! Maybe one day we can see that wrestling match reprised..

And now, a couple more questions I've been meaning to ask you:

1) Who and what, would you say, are some of your main artistic and literary influences (besides Peanuts, as is readily apparent)?

I'm flattered that you'd be interested! In more or less the order their names come to me, with an eye on brevity, the chronology of their impact on me, and the strength of their influence on FaFB:

Cartoonists: Charles M. Schulz, Jack Kirby, John Byrne, Harvey Comics, George Herriman, Hanna-Barbera, Larry Marder, Edward Gorey, Jay Stephens...

Musicians: Laurie Anderson, Pet Shop Boys, Bj÷rk, Tom Waits, Kate Bush, Pavement, Brian Eno...

Film and Television: Northern Exposure, Star Wars (Episode 4), The Nightmare Before Christmas, Dumbo...

Literature: I'm not nearly as disciplined a novel-reader as I should be, though I can immediately recommend The Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. Lately in the process of rereading The Lord of the Rings after about eighteen years, I am amused to be shown how deeply influenced my imagination is by that, by definition, influential work. I spent about a year-and-a-half entranced by Anne Rice. Then there's One Hundred Years of Solitude, The Kitchen God's Wife, Other Voices, Other Rooms, To Kill a Mockingbird (going way back). Nothing too surprising, I'm afraid. The early, "imagist" poetry of H.D. Annie Proulx's short stories. Right now I am wading into the poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca.

Feeling influenced by most everything I've read or seen, I'm obviously leaving out gobs of stuff that doesn't spring to mind, especially literature, the works of which I ashamedly guess I spend the least time revisiting. (I didn't even try to talk about "fine art".) But thanks for asking! Maybe you have some things to recommend?

2) Did any of the FaFB characters have a pre-internet existence?

-Tim Keifling
<tkeifling@wadsnet.com>

Before I started drawing the NOO Greak KOLLUM for the Web, I spent a couple of years drawing it daily for myself, just to build my discipline and my drawing "ability". Rorshak, and Bloo, who has resurfaced (so to speak) as part of Tako Island, actually predate all the other Kolluma˝eros by a few years. Treefrog appeared in my sketchbook a little later, to be joined more or less quickly by all the rest..

-Joda



January 14, 2002

It's funny. In black and white, the unbordered panels blur together and I have trouble really seeing them. In color, I don't have that trouble at all. Probably because the panels have rigidly defined gutters that show up only in color. Heck.

-Jeff

It doesn't snow in Gollum Kreak, but I still wanted to evoke the whiteness of winter in the Scene this month which takes place there. So on top of returning to white from the black panel borders I had been using since October, I thought I'd skip the border outlines all together. The panels don't sort themselves out very well until the reader has "colored them in", but once he has, the story comes up off the screen and the pale tones look rather nice and soft against the whites that overflow the panel boundaries.

I hope readers are enjoying that "color-in" effect I have been using since November. I wanted to weave some browser capabilities into the story-telling and I think this little "invention" is a simple but fun way to involve the reader a little more in the reading experience. (Of course, I include a "flat" version of these Scenes for readers whose browsers don't support the Java involved.) I have a more elaborate concept to try out, too, but around which I will need to craft a story that I have not come up with yet. (Right now, I'm working on FEW and FAR Between #2. I'm hopeful you will start to see the pages from that next month.)

-Joda



July 14, 2001

The main question in the back of my mind is where and when we can buy FEW and FAR Between on actual paper. After 75 months of doing this for love, you deserve a few shekels coming your way.

By the way, I loved the way Merry dodged the question of whether she had seen a penguin before.

-Clif Davis
<clifton@cs.uh.edu>

As I always say, thank you for asking. It helps me pretend I'm not crazy for being crazy. As for an answer, how does "Soon" sound? How about "Real soon"? Real soon it is then! Do stay tuned..

-Joda



June 25, 2001

[noise]

New story starts now! I am extremely hopeful. Will we learn the truth: Truth of Okwok, truth of the Falling Man, truth of MerQry, truth of Clara's gift of water, truths of the Witch Boy and the lord of the flies? Will answer fall on answer in tumbling clumps?

Will all artifice slowly collapse, buried under its own weight, one concealing brick after another, layer of illusion after layer of allusion?

[noise ends]

Hey, I've been looking forward to new material ever since the archives rolled over and we got back to strips I'd already read (bound to happen eventually, of course).

-Jeff Wikstrom
<jeffwik@aintitcoolmail.com>

I'm glad to be bringing readers two new pages every week again and I hope you're enjoying the little things that are happening on them. As I mention elsewhere, this story is "square one" for FaFB--the "first issue", as it were--so we won't necessarily be filling in answers yet to the big questions you list; in fact, we'll often be restating them, with a few new questions thrown in for good measure, along with new hints.

Personally, I've usually found mysterious origins more interesting while they're still mysterious, so my best success will be achieved when I've given you the truth about them without telling you the truth about them.

-Joda



June 6, 2001

Wow. I just discovered your strip today (through Jon Morris) and it is beautiful. I really admire the imagination, the characterization, and, as a cartoonist myself, the absolutely gorgeous artwork. You really have created a strange, brilliant world, and I look forward to reading more.

-Justin Ison
<spacesuit@juno.com>
www.geocities.com/
weirdly_depressing/art.html

You guys are trying to get me to believe I'm doing something right! Thanks for the encouraging words, Justin! FaFB readers might like to check out Justin's good-looking online "sketchbook"!

-Joda



May 28, 2001

Thanks for the addition of the latest strips to the Archives. I thought that I had been watching your page fairly closely, but to my horror/enjoyment it turned out that I had missed some endings. But then I always seem to pick up things on re-reading the Komic that I missed the first time.

I hope the new profiles section isn't critical since it is certainly not viewable on my old pre-system7 Mac.

Nope, nothing critical, only fun. The only piece of info I can think of in the new profiles feature that hasn't been explicitly indicated in a story is that Pola comes from the Cirrian Plains (possibly on foot), and that the "gods" seem to be called "the Names of Creation". In addition to being a centralized information source, Meet the FEW and FAR Between is simply meant to be an amusing place for FaFB readers to spend time in the Kollums. One aspect that makes it stand out from the other features are the sounds that accompany it.

I seem to be continually taking on a more conservative voice, arguing against changes to FaFB, whereas in fact I throughly enjoy almost all of them and continually look forward to seeing what you will do next. But please keep the majority of your world accessible to those of us who make frequent use of older equipment.

Now that the interactive feature is launched, my sole objective is to get the next story up and running (and in a comic book!), so I won't be leaving anyone behind with that. I am indeed going ahead with a prelude of sorts to the larger epic, the story I mention in an earlier reply, revisiting Tako's own visit to the Desert. That means a brand-new twenty-four page adventure for the Summer. (I'm posting a new full-page episode in the meantime, this one in the Swamp.)

The Letters Page is another welcome addition. I've long wished for a b-board where we readers/fans could exchange views and opinions about what Joda is up to now, but in truth an edited exchange with your input is probably a much better idea. And who knows, if I ever reach that mythical state of having enough time, I may put up a fan site with such an exchange anyway. Certainly I want to eventually write a series of "I would like to introduce you to some of my best friends" essays. There is a lot I would like to say about your evocative creations.

Things for me to look forward to! I'm very lucky to know that these little characters cavort in my readers' imaginations.

- Until the state of "Plenty of Time" is reached,
- I remain yours till Merry slows down,

-Clif Davis
<clifton@cs.uh.edu>

An FaFB Letters Page would be incomplete without hearing from Clif Davis, FaFB's longest-standing correspondent and esteemed supporter. Thanks for reading and writing for all these years, Clif. Keep enjoying!

-Joda



May 23, 2001

I just wanted to stop by and tell you how gorgeous the monochrome colors are. FaFB is still one of the best webtoons out there, and I'm eagerly looking forward to it being one of the best printed comics out there, as well.

Hopefully I'll be coming by with some more information about a thematic Dios De Los Muertes webtoon event in the near future...

-Jon Morris
<jon@ape-law.com>
www.ape-law.com/jeremy

Thank you as always for the kind words, Jon. And for the special event teaser! FaFB readers probably don't need me to tell them about Jon Morris' well-loved creation, Jeremy. But, if by some chance you do, I'll tell you here: Check out Jon's site, and find out what you love about Jeremy.

-Joda

April 25, 2001

Has either FaFB or tNGK (in the olden days) ever been collected in print, or has it always been Web-only? If not, what are your thoughts on a printed form of the Kollumañeros (and ev'ryone else, too, of course)?

-Chris López
<acubacub@hotmail.com>
http://dedos.keenspace.com

Good question to start with, since it's the question most common to people's messages. First of all: Thanks for asking! It's always nice to hear there is an interest in a "hand-held" version of FaFB. I trust the FEW and FAR Between will continue to live on the Web, where they can do things they can't do on paper--keep an eye out at the end of May for the new interactive Profiles feature--but I am also quite bent on seeing FaFB in print.

The reason it's taking some time for you to see the FaFB "epic" you've heard me mention is that I'm spending a lot of time on the plotting beforehand, before I draw even the first panel--especially before I draw the first panel, in fact. I mean for it to be the book shop debut of FaFB, and if FaFB is to be worthy of sharing shelf space with the likes of Jimmy Corrigan, The Smartest Kid on Earth and Good-Bye, Chunky Rice, it's got to be well planned.

What I'm mapping out is going to transpire across nine twenty-four-page "issues" (clustered into threes). It is each of these twenty-four-page episodes I hope we will see published as issues of a FEW and FAR Between comic book (and, with luck, go on to be collected in groups and as a whole.)

What, you may be wondering, could I possibly be filling 216 pages with? Well, lots of new stuff, and lots of old stuff. While we travel with MerQry on the next steps in her journey, these volumes will also retell the beginning of that journey. Events that have been depicted up to now are going to be revisited and reframed with other things we have learned, or will be learning. For instance, how did Julian become the Guardian at the Poles? Why does Martin explode? What is Treefrog? And what about those gods (the stickiest part of the puzzle)? Adventures for Simon, and Hector, and Gator Mom, and everyone else, abound.. (That includes a couple of new characters, too!)

In the meantime, I hope you've been enjoying the one-page episodes. I've been pleased with how they're coming out. While I continue to hammer out how all the Big Stories fit together, I'm considering giving us a twenty-four page prelude of sorts--retelling the story of Tako's visit to the Desert, and what came before, and after, that visit. How does that sound?

-Joda



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