I’m working hard on my current project, Pause & Reflect Comics, featuring Edzl the Nebboid. It’s funny how the more I draw a character, the more that character changes. After a certain amount of drawing the figure, some stabilization process mysteriously occurs and the character takes on its own sort of pseudo-life. I don’t have to even think about what they look like to draw them.
It’s still a shock to me to look back at Edzl in “Asteroid Stu and the Mind-Duel” and see the difference in Edzl’s appearance from then to now. Here’s a recent drawing of Edzl:
Quite a difference! Even Edzl’s ears were chubbier in years past! I think eleven years have passed since the “events” in AS&MD. For Edzl to have physically changed so much during that period might be unusual (at least by Terran standards), but not impossible (especially since we’re dealing with comics and cartoons which have been known at times to hold conventional reason and physics in utter contempt.)
There’s a Buddhist teaching connected here — the one about anatta. Anatta is a Pali word, translated as “no self,” or perhaps more accurately as “not self.” Anatta has a rep in Buddhist circles as a particularly difficult, nonintuitive insight. After all, if there’s no self, who in blazes is reading this?
But anatta doesn’t mean you have to give up your identity or stop answering to your name. Obviously we need our identity to function in the world. Like language, identity is something we need to communicate and relate to others. Also like language, the sense of a fixed, unchanging self is bound up with delusion. Strictly speaking there is no objective world, no objects. There are no nouns. To paraphrase Buckminster Fuller, “We seem to be verbs.” There are no fixed essences and that includes “the self.” There are only myriad processes, interconnected and interdependent. Don’t take my word for it — look within and see for yourself!
Meditation is a tool that can enable us to see deeper into the nature of the world and of ourselves. Anatta means that our notion of ourselves as essence — as something enduring and permanent that remains essentially unchanged as time passes — is an illusion. Memory, conditioning, habit — all conspire to sustain a notion that we are who we think we are. In fact, we are changing constantly, our bodies, our minds, our hearts change constantly, continually. We are part of a universe constantly in flux.
My concept of Edzl changes along with everything else. So that’s my highfalutin’ excuse for inconsistent drawing!
Once I’ve posted all of the Asteroid Stu & the Mind-Duel comic, I think I’ll start posting bits of the Pause & Reflect Comics stories whether they’re ready or not. As I’ve mentioned before, the comic will have a variety of bits, some more related to the Dharma than others. Many will be small pieces, from 1 -3 pages. Some have already been posted, but I may just post them again. (Oh no! Reruns!) The bit with Edzl, “The Awakening of Edzl, or Yes, We Have Some Nibbanas,” is about Edzl encountering Buddhism, but is also about a lot of other stuff, involving lots of peculiar characters and situations. I see it as a long, meandering story I’ll make up as I go along, subject to revision. If I want to scrap it when I’m halfway into it and start again, I will. Chimera Spoor will be my laboratory, where I, as a sort of cartoon comic-making Dr. Frankenstein, will try to patch together a comic book from bits and pieces and make it come to life with a thousand (or hundred thousand) watt-hours of creativity.
Or at least, that’s the current plan!
Multiverse Comics and Stories, 106 pages, full color, is available from Amazon in Kindle and hardcopy formats.
Asteroid Stu and the Mind-Duel, 54 pages, black and white interior, is also available in Kindle and hardcopy formats from Amazon. Both comics include Edzl, the Nebboid from the Vague Nebula, who will be the lead character in a running feature story, “Edzl’s Awakening: Or, Yes We Have Some Nibbanas.” This will be part of Pause & Reflect Comics, currently in progress.