Mother Mountain

I have been working on this story for most of my adult life: the tale of a mountain and the many people who love it. And depend on it, worship it and defend it at all costs (far too high a cost). People who do not always see the same thing when they look at it.

For nearly thirty years, beginning when I started writing and drawing my elaborate Winging It graphic novel, Mother Mountain was a subplot, and the characters gradually revealed their own history and religion and racial karma--the places writing can take you! I found that an entirely different story was to be unraveled, and it has woven itself into an epic. So far I have written two books of a combined 260,000 word length, and I am writing the second two books now-- in all of my “spare” time.

Writing, as in “not drawing.” Before I became known for my comics, I wrote stories, and it has been a very enlightening experience to explore words-only fiction once more. It would require thousands of pages to re-create this story as a drawn book, with all the details and nuance--but, those who love my comics won’t lose out: I have written a prequel story which I will draw as a 100-page graphic novel, and put on the web as a web comic--on its own web site. Sometime-- soon. (Grin!) Also on the site will be my essays about the life of this invented race-- and how to finally READ Mother Mountain!

A challenge of drawing the story as a graphic novel was that I just could not nail down what these folks looked like, when they made their first appearance in Winging It. They were not exactly human (which has always been an essential theme of the story) but that made them hard to design. I must have drawn each character two or three times and I still was not happy with them, so they evolved into something more anthropomorphic-looking in the second book, about 10 years later, which completely changed the story, not for the better. In the meantime, I was inspired to write Mother Mountain first as a graphic novel, and published the first twenty or so pages in Winging It 2. I loved drawing their world, but I was extremely dissatisfied with their horsey-looking appearance. At last I think I am on the road to figuring them out--at left is a close approximation of one of them as a child, where the graphic novel begins. The novel itself, with a link below, starts out with the characters as adults

I am also trying to learn computer coloring, too. That nice gradient background was entirely an accident. Anyhow, after stacks of pages of sketches, trying to get these characters “right”, one evening about ten years ago I got the idea to re-write the beginning as a words-only novel, and the story just took off from there! I knew in my mind’s eye who these people were but I did not have to worry about being able to draw them to my satisfaction. This story became the wonderful epic that I so enjoy and hope to soon make available to everyone who wants to read it.

It has been grinding its way slowly through The Landis Review, our writers critique group (at the glacial pace of a partial chapter every month or so) for years, but the feedback has been resoundingly positive from respected professionals who I do not even think of as my “typical” readers. I find it much easier to “just-write” rather than “write-AND-draw” so there are probably more tweaks along the way. But, for you who have been curious, Mother Mountain should be here soon!