Seles

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The story-arc I created of Seles back in college was one of the greatest feats of art I did during my collegiate days. Looking at it now, it doesn’t seem all that impressive, but back then, my artwork had just reached its apex of everything I had drawn in the Daily Texan up to that point. I had named my new character, Celeste’s foil, “Seles” for two reasons. One, it sounds phonetically similar to Celeste. Two, and more importantly, the name is a perfect mirror palindrome, in that if spelled backwards or forwards, it is the same. I had created Celeste in 1997 and named  her such because I thought it was a cool name. I came up with Seles, it was 2000. I thought that it was such serendipitous luck that the name ‘Seles’ would be the perfect name for the mirror image of Celeste.

Originally, the story was meant for me to play around visually. To try different vantage angles and do different special effects on photoshop. (The special effects don’t deem so ‘special‘ anymore, but whatever.) But I was surprised with Seles. She seemed to take a life on her own, and her interesting personality, that I originally hadn’t planned, just sprang out. I found it it interesting and enjoyable to write dialogue for. It was like allowing Celeste’s/my id out and run loose, saying whatever mean thing she wished. Also, Seles developed a certain seductress vibe. Unlike Diane and later Rococo, this wasn’t just a very feminine or sexy character in juxtaposition to Celeste’s child-like character. Seles had developed a aura of femme fatale or man-eater. And I found the writing opportunities fascinating.

When I concluded Common Ground and I started Soliciting Celeste, Seles was always on the back of my mind. I was eager to re-introduce her into the strip. However, I was working on trying to get syndicated. I figured that I must firmly establish Celeste’s personality before I set loose Seles on the unsuspecting readers. I thought, if I got syndicated, I must have at least three years worth of material. By then my ‘readers’ would know exactly Celeste’s behavior and temperament. When Seles was finally let loose, my ‘readers’ could tell the two women apart not from just how their hair points to opposite direction, but also by how they talked differently and their body posture. Unfortunately, I only made 220 Soliciting Celeste comics before I quit the comic strip. Not quite even a year’s worth.

When I started Something about Celeste, I was faced with the same problem as I started the strip from square one. I had to firmly Celeste’s character before I re-introduce Seles. I threw in a few teaser strips. Both were visual gags, but Seles doesn’t say anything or much so her personality doesn’t really come through. As I work at a snail’s pace, I have spent years working on this latest incarnate of Celeste, yet (at the point I write this) I still don’t have 336 strips. If not now, when? So I thought this years was finally the time to bring back Seles, sixteen long years later.

NOTE: The original Common Ground story-arc consisted of 17 dailies. Published M-F in the Daily Texan, it was a three and a half week long story. (The 17th was so bad and confusing for my few readers, that I omitted it from this archive. You are not missing anything). Instead of presenting four strips per thumbnail and have four thumbnails (4×4=16), I presented the material as such to better compare the two week story arc in Something about Celeste.  The second thumbnail, with only two dailies, matches perfectly with the first Sunday in the Something about Celeste version. The Something about Celeste “Mirror Mirror” storyline has been broken up in three parts: prologue, chapter one, and chapter two. However, it is only Chapter One that is based from the Common Ground original story. In other words, only Chapter One is recycled while both the Prologue and Chapter Two are original stories I wrote up during this past year. So instead of including all 30 strips of “Mirror Mirror”, I have only included 13 strips from Chapter One for comparison.

Common Ground. 2000.

                                                                        seles story1         seles sunday          seles story2

Something about Celeste. 2016.

                                                                        mirrortemp1           sc231 copy            mirrortemp2

Now, with everything I do, the idea from this story comes from Calvin & Hobbes (If I ever become professional, I will have to mail royalty checks to Watterson). Particularly, the idea for “Mirror Mirror” comes from the C&H “Duplicator: Part 2” story arc.  This is after Calvin learned from his mistake from “Scientific Progress Goes Boink”. Calvin adjusts the duplicator to make only the good aspect of him. Likewise, Celeste is only good-natured, so therefore her reflection should be the opposite. Not only do I get me best ideas from Bill Watterson, but sometimes my writing is a pale copy of his work as well.  Now I wasn’t purposely trying to copy the writing from Watterson (I hadn’t looked at the strips in over years; I only re-discovered this one strip just a few weeks ago.) The dialogue must have been been stored in my subconscious that when I wrote my version of the dialogue for Celeste, I honestly thought I was writing original script. Oh well.

Part 12 out 15 of “Duplicator: Part 2” *

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Part 4 out of 6 of “Mirror Mirror: Prologue”

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*Calvin & Hobbes. All rights reserved. Don’t borrow without written or explicit permission (which I don’y have. Shhhh!)