Tuesday, December 26, 2006

24 pages of comic in 24 hours!

Phew, what a heady past few weeks it has been!

Two weeks ago, I participated in this crazy event called 24 Hour Comics Challenge, so called becos the challenge was for each cartoonist to create a 24-page comics story in 24 hours. It was organised by my good friends Cedric and Wong.

I really didn't feel like participating initially. Had too many things on my mind (having to attend court was one of them). Didn't get enough sleep. Didn't have time to think of a story idea for the challenge.

Didn't have spare markers!

But now I must say that I'm glad I took part.

There we were, the 20 participants myself included huddled together at Cineleisure Damansara that weekend. We started drawing at 3.00pm Saturday and stopped at 3.00pm the next day. Yes, 24 hours straight. No sleeping, no bathing.

Everyone was focused on finishing the 24 pages required.

In the end, 18 of us managed to finish our 24 pages including me. Let me tell you, that's fantastic! On top of that, we actually created history: it was the first time this sort of thing was held in Malaysia.

We became the third Asian country to have organised a 24 hour comic event after Indonesia and South Korea.

I felt privileged to be in the company of some of the most talented professional artists in the country as well as fellow part-timers.

I did a story on Apple CEO Steven P. Jobs battling his made-in-China clone Steven P. Chong. It's about iPods and consumer technology and world domination and multi-level marketing.

I figured I didn't stand a chance against the pros in terms of artwork, so I spent a lot of energy coming up with jokes.

Sitting down and drawing for 24 hours straight sounds simple in theory but not in practice. It's tough on the mind as well as on the body.

At 3.00 or 4.00 in the morning, you can get a bit incoherent. In my case, when it happened, my characters started talking in BM and becoming somewhat violent.

There's even a massage scene in my comic which, in retrospect, was probably a manifestation of the pain that I felt in my elbow and shoulders at the time. I reckon if the organisers had extended the duration of the challenge to maybe 6 or 12 hours more, some people could actually get injured.

After the clock had stopped, I went to the toilet and it took me quite some time to find my way out.

Having said that, overall I had fun and I think it shows in the comic.

And to think that it was actually quite scary going into the challenge becos I had no preparation whatsoever. But I realise now that when you volunteer yourself to be in a situation as challenging as that, you learn all sorts of cool things about yourself. Like all of a sudden, you gain this super human strength that allows you to do things you never knew you could.

It was an experience that I will cherish for a long time.