Y’all seemed to enjoy the first one, so here we go again! (“We” meaning yours truly and artist/illustrator Len Peralta (Geek-A-Week, Monster By Mail)). The comic below is in response to a real person who wrote me looking for really bad advice.
I’m not an expert of any kind, I cannot vouch for the efficacy or legality of my advice, and as a blanket statement recommend that no one should follow it, ever. It is bad advice. I will also not be held accountable if any of my advice is found to be thought-provoking, or if any portion therein could be deemed to be, by a deranged mind, constructive.
Would YOU like some bad advice? From ME? I hope so, because my stock of questions is running low. Simply send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org (or if that still isn’t working, email@example.com), and please put the words “bad advice” in the Subject line so that I can tell it apart from all of the space junk. But before asking, visit this post for complete details, disclaimers, and other caveats. NOTE: some questions will receive written answers, some will be made into comix, and others might not be answered at all. Just depends on what I eat for breakfast on any given day.
BY REQUEST…if you cannot see Len’s terrific illustration, I’ve included the text and description I sent to Len below, which will give you a pretty good idea of what’s going on. Click on the “More” for…more. If that doesn’t help, I’ll try to think of something else.
[Panel 1 lettering]
I recently moved from a city of nearly 3 million people to a “city” of just over 300 people. And because of my job as a pastor, I feel like everyone in this small town is watching my every move. How do I regain some semblance of privacy?
Paranoid in the Midwest
[Panel 1 Illustration – View is waist-high from behind a man holding a suitcase, who is on the left side of the frame. Typical town sign: “Welcome to Sticksburgville: Population 300”. There’s an even more homespun sign attached to it (made from a pillowcase) that says “Welcome Pastor John”. The “town elders” are there to greet him. One is fake-friendly, the other clearly distrustful.]
[Panel 2 lettering] Of course they’re watching you–you now represent ⅓ of 1% of the entire population, which could quickly become 100% if it turns out that you’re actually a serial killer and/or cannibal.
[Panel 2 Illustration – Fairly close-up shot a machete being sharpened on an old grinding wheel. We only see the man’s arms, and some of his body (we never see his face throughout the entire strip.) The backdrop is some kind of desk or shelving with books, knives and innocent knick-knacks. The most prominent book titles are “Holy Bible” and “To Serve Man”.]
[Panel 3 lettering] Trust is the issue. But as long as you wait at least a year before killing anyone, you should be fine. Consider having them over for dinner a few at a time, or host an open house, and soon everyone will see you as a normal, unremarkable, good-hearted chap.
[Panel 3 Illustration – Multi-frame. Perspective is like in the first panel, but the man now holds a machete instead of a suitcase. It is very, very sharp. View is of a quaint small-town church. It is dusk; warm light glows from the church, a la Thomas Kinkade.
First frame is from a good distance, though we can see that there are people heading towards the church, and that there’s a banner hung above the entrance.
Second frame is closer. We can read the banner now: “Pastor John’s 2nd Annual Hot Dish Bake-off!” The door is open and the last cluster of people is entering. One of them is holding a casserole, and is looking back at the man. We can barely see the expression on her face; she’s trying to tell who it is that’s approaching.]
[Panel 4 lettering] Soon their fear will be abated and their fascination dissipated, giving you the leeway to achieve your mission, safe from the prying eyes of your neighbors, and certainly of no interest to the town’s one police officer, who doesn’t even carry a gun.
[Panel 4 is the continuation of the P3 sequence. Frames get narrower and zoom in as they move right, creating a claustrophobic tension.
First frame: Woman with casserole takes up most of the frame. She is looking up at the man and smiling in recognition and greeting.
Second frame: Upper body only. We can no longer see the machete, but we can tell that the woman is looking down at it, curiously.
Third frame: Woman’s head only. She’s looking up at the man’s face, horrific comprehension setting in.
Fourth frame (quite narrow): eye wide open; we see the shadow of the machete as it comes down towards her.
[Panel 5 lettering]
I hope that helps. Good luck! “S”
[P5 – Storm w/laptop on couch. A man holding a machete by his side (we don’t see his head) is on the right side of the frame. Storm does not notice him; Storm’s cat does.]