16 February 2011

giant marshmallows


In 2009, Things From Another World interviewed Tim Seeley about his property, HACK/SLASH. The following got my attention:

TFAW.com: So, you went to college with Craig Thompson?

TS: We’re both from central Wisconsin, but Craig came from an even smaller town than I did. We both went to a college prep school in Wausau, which was the biggest town either of us had ever lived in. We got along pretty well. Craig was kind of the introspective loner, while I was the party guy. ... I’ve always been a fan of his stuff, and Blankets is one of my favorite comic books ever. He did the intro to the first Hack/Slash collection. ... We’ve known each other for about 15 years.

TFAW.com: It would be really interesting if you two wrote short stories for each other to draw!

TS: A mutual friend of ours wrote a script that Craig and I both drew about a giant marshmallow once. We were curious to see how different it would look. That was a blast. I wish I still had it!

By the summer of 1995, I was sitting on a pile of comix scripts that I'd written with plans to illustrate for a personal zine. Inspired by Harvey Pekar's AMERICAN SPLENDOR and Rick Veitch's ROARIN' RICK'S RARE BIT FIENDS, the stories were a mix of quotidian anecdotes and dream diaries. One strip was based on a recurring childhood nightmare that I'd had about, yep, a giant marshmallow...


PANEL 1: Kitchen dining room. Round family table in room's center. Single campfire-style marshmallow centered alone on tabletop. Evan, wearing pajamas, stands away from table, observing marshmallow.

EVAN: [caption] There's a marshmallow on the table.

PANEL 2: Same as Panel 1, with two exceptions -- (1) marshmallow has tripled in size; (2) Evan is startled.

EVAN: [caption] And it's... GROWING.

PANEL 3: Same as Panel 2, two exceptions -- (1) marshmallow has grown to cover whole tabletop; (2) Evan, panicked, turning away to run.

EVAN: [caption] Gotta get out of here!

PANEL 4: Close-up on Evan, terrified, running out of kitchen into nearby hallway. Background, marshmallow fills and consumes entire kitchen dining room.

EVAN: [caption] WHERE? My room!

PANEL 5: End of hallway. Evan frantically opens bedroom door, looking wide-eyed over his shoulder. Foreground, marshmallow squeezes into hallway.

EVAN: [caption] Still growing!

PANEL 6: Bedroom. Evan, exhausted but smiling, sits with back against closed door.

EVAN: [caption] There. I'm safe.

PANEL 7: Evan thrown away from door, ever-expanding marshmallow shattering it open.


PANEL 8: Close-up on Evan, hysterical. Marshmallow constricts and consumes him from all sides.

EVAN: [caption] I can't BREATHE! ... SUFFOCATING me! ...

PANEL 9: Black.

As Tim mentioned in his TFAW interview, one afternoon Craig and I visited him with arrangements to illustrate the script "to see how different it would look." The following roughs -- the first by Tim, the second by Craig -- were the result...

Neat, huh?

P.S. Tim nailed it, BTW.

"Kiss it, Thompson!"

- - -

Special thanks to Jonathan Switzer for scanning the originals.

* "Marshmellows Backlit" by Jonathan Kantor.