Inexplicable bouts of sleeping for 20+ years don’t happen everyday but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t. Sleeping pills are a recipe for disaster of the Rip Van Winkle variety.

Rip Van Winkle proved to us that we really should be careful about lying down for a quick nap after ingesting substances we don’t fully understand. I think that was the message…

Actually, the story of Rip Van Winkle, at first, seems to be a tale about idleness. It is interesting to say the least, but I always thought it a little strange considering the protagonist never really progresses. He’s lazy and harassed by a nagging wife, goes off into the woods one day, drinks some ghost-liquor, falls asleep for 20 years to find out most everyone he loved is gone or dead, and then goes right back to being lazy but less stressed thanks to the loss of his nagging wife. If you look at the character arc it seems like Irving is saying, “If you’re lazy and your life sucks, just be even more lazy and everything will sort itself out!”

What Irving is really talking about is the nature of progress and how the present is built on the foundations of the past. It’s really about connections between the past, present, and future and it’s not really about what specifically happens to Van Winkle at all which is a pretty strange thing in popular literature. Most writing focuses on character progression for the basis of themes and only uses the setting and supporting characters as fodder for secondary themes.

Personally, I find that Washington Irving has a nice cadence to his writing and this is a good and easy story to read to get to know his work.

It’s funny sometimes, how much I think about these myths and stories that we all vaguely know and then the sorts of comics that come out of them.

Also you may notice there are six panels today instead of the usual 3. My New Year’s Resolution (not really) for 2010 is to draw and write comics that work and make me happy. Rather than pigeon-hole myself into working within a very limiting 3 vertical panels for no real reason, I am branching out and using however many panels and whatever shaped panels I feel works best to deliver the proper pacing and feel for a particular idea. Will I do 20 panels in a single update? Unlikely. Will we see far fewer three panel strips? Absolutely.

I’ve always felt like I was trying to cram too much into those three panels over the last few months. It was a good experiment and difficult to do, but I think some of those ideas would have been much better served with some breathing room and proper pacing. Plus, it’s really fun to be able to play around with composition in different panel shapes!

Anyway, I hope you like it, it was a lot more fun to work on this than it has been to do strips in the past!

Oh yeah, you might see some weird things happening on the site over the next few days. I’m going to try to add a secondary navigation bar above the comic so that you can easily skip over larger comics that you’ve seen before.