A Problem of Scale

One thing Codex & I discovered in the process of creating a comic strip from scratch is that, surprisingly, scale matters. I mean, why worry about how big or small the characters are relative to each other, right? Get a good idea: Just run with it.

For example: Bigfoot. Show an otter standing next to a hairy leg, perhaps up to the knee. Easy peasy, right? Apparently not. Showing such a small portion of such a magnificent, mythical beast turned out to be confusing for the audience. “Why is Brad standing next to a really tall feminist? Is that supposed to be Big Red?”

To further complicate matters, one-off appearances turned into something more. Matthew the Slug Ilk was scheduled for a single comic. One. Uno. L’un. Ein. Codex drew him in painstaking detail in order to make him appear as realistic as possible.

Whoops. My bad.

Yeah.

We were just as haphazard with the rest of the crew, and needed to resort to cheap visual tricks in order to hide the problem. We concocted many close-up frames featuring characters face-to-face. We spent a fortune on a masseuse for Scalzi. In virtually every appearance he’d spend hours hunched over speaking to a fellow cast member, so Codex could capture the moment.

We used furniture extensively, as well. Ladders, easels, plants, and MAGA hats. Whatever we had on-hand. We had a schedule to meet, so the time pressure was real. Now you know why we always featured the Evil Dark Lord behind a desk, and why his espresso cups were so tiny even compared to his own feline-sized form. We had dolls cups specially imported all the way from Italy.

Things improved when we discovered the first Lord of the Rings extra DVD features. It contains an extensive look at how Peter Jackson managed to get the Hobbits to look so small and edible, compared with the other humans in the cast. It took some adjustment on the part of our characters. They not only had to react to toons of massively different size, but also a fair distance away. In many cases, they appear to be looking at one another, but on-set it was nothing of the sort.

Codex broke more than one pencil keeping it all in working order. We would buy more from the funds that accumulated in her swear jar.

As a last resort, in truly dire comic-producing situations, we’d engage the sizemic morphing field. Results… varied. But hey, it was always funny, right?

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