This time…

… it’s been even longer since I scribbled a word in here. But, for a change, silence has indicated lack of excitement rather than, as has been more usual in the past, too much.

Having said that I had found out very little about Ginger, we’ve been in each other’s pockets (in the nicest possible way) for the last week. I suppose my initial reticence with him consisted in concealing my chequered recent past. What marked him down as a recluse on the island, and explained his reticence with me, was more remarkable than I had expected. I thought long and hard before revealing, here, what he is really up to. I think he’s just a bit ashamed, from an artistic point of view, of what he’s doing, even though he has shown me some stunning work.

Ginger is an artist, yes, but the art he actually earns his money from is comic book art. You won’t have heard of any of the titles. They are all Middle Eastern comics. Apparently there is a big market in comic books in the Islamic nations, from Algeria to Malaysia.

I always kind of assumed comic books were usually developed by a single person, and there must have been a time when that was the case. But of course, there were soon several people involved, the writer, the black and white artist, the text and speech box man, the colourist. Now, in the computer environment, some of these jobs have telescoped, and Ginger gets the story and the speech from the writer, and does all the rest, including the colour separations for printing, and he can have a draft available for the publisher which is relatively easily changed, in a way that would have been inconceivable fifteen years ago.

Quite a lot of his backgrounds are taken from actual photographs and other images, and comic-ized using Photoshop, or some such product, but he draws the figures himself. One of the cunning things is the way his software allows him to specify the speech and text boxes, and fills them in, on demand, with the text provided in various languages and scripts, so it’s a really simple job to develop variant editions for different markets. He is particularly useful to the publishers (who I believe are based in Pakistan) because he speaks, reads and writes many of the languages required.

The subjects of these comics are extremely bloodthirsty, and there is really only one story-line, as follows:

Dastardly {Israelis / Western Capitalists / Hindus / Christians / American soldiers} perpetrate {disrespectful / murderous / usurious / perverted} acts against down-trodden heroic Muslims. Young heroic Muslim(s) get revenge in a number of inventive and unlikely ways. Many die. Martyrs are honoured. The End.

I must get hold of an image of one of his covers to show you. They are so stupendously over the top, you have to laugh.

Here’s an Arabic comic from another publisher.

I’m not sure what Ginger really feels. He is capable of an ironic chuckle at some of the pictorial excesses, yet he works with such apparent relish, I can’t help but feel that he has more than a little sympathy with the cause. The comics can’t possibly be doing any good for the West in places like Iraq and Somalia, but, let’s face it, the West isn’t doing itself many favours there either.

Other than spending a lot of time watching Ginger at work, I’ve been doing very little. Alexis has almost persuaded me to get afloat again. He keeps showing me adverts for battered fishing boats. But I don’t know. Not yet, anyway.

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