Pancakes and Apples: Diary of a Boy at Sea
April 17, 2011 Leave a comment
I wanted to let you know about a small project I’ve just finished called ‘Pancakes and Apples’. It’s a short web comic that I made because I have been reading a few lately and really wanted to give it a go. It’s a fairly serious story but I don’t want it to be perceived as something overly pessimistic (see the Story Synopsis). Instead I want this tale to be perceived optimistically; I do not want to give away the whole story, but I will just say this. The story ends on a deliberate note, and who knows how it could continue to play out.
(Ideally read this after you’ve read the comic.)
P & A is set in a post-apocalyptic future, the world has broken down into ruin from some unspecified conflict; with the broken world behind him we see a boy sailing out to sea. He is sailing from what he believes to be the northern hemisphere of the planet, to the south. This is because in this reality the world is flat and it is only in rumors, that people have heard of a round planet earth.
All the dialog is a blend of diary entries and a stream of consciousness that blend in format to become more comprehensible for the reader. Though only a child, the dialog is imbalanced between his more immediate, immature thoughts and what he has been told by the man he bought his boat from. By merging a variety of attitudes, values and beliefs we are able to understand in more detail the world of the narrative, as it is parallel to our own.
Before the end of the comic the boy realises that the world is not as he had hoped, that perhaps he was duped? He was not cheated but shown a path that led him to ultimate enlightenment; that in a dying world the only path forward is that which transcends reality. So, in closing his eyes he accepts his destiny and sails forward, with a belief of something better in his heart.
The story though short, is designed to suit it’s medium. There’s no point making a web comic if it’d turn out better as a book. I felt this medium was more suitable as we see the face and identify with the boy and the silence in some frames, echoes the silence he experiences when sailing.
I wanted the idea of a round world to appeal to a boy who only knew of a world full of limits, the man he perceives to be wise is not tricking him, he is just giving him one last hoorah, a present of optimism.
Ultimately we see the boy poised to sail off the edge of the world, eyes closed, ready to believe that anything could happen. And why not? A child who has faith only in what he most desires most is not misguided, he is at peace. The story is coloured bleakly to contrast the colour in the last frame (also hinted at with colour permeating some earlier frames).
This is not a sad story. This is an exercise in form, and story about how we are defined by faith.
Please let me know what you thought of the story either in the comment box on here, or ideally liking, tweeting and sharing the story with your friends.