I've recently decided to explore a different avenue in writing Callous. The series usually is grounded greatly in reality. The main character, Rianne, is a relatively new physician who is struggling to come to grips with the world around her after dedicating so much of her life to studying in med school and specialty training. This involved growing her up as a person rather than as a doctor. To aid her in this task is her Guardian Duck, Cal. The purposeful inclusion of Cal Duck in Rianne's life acts as my voice of suggestion rather than declaration, giving her clarity in formulating her own philosophy in life. The series often takes place in the local hospital where she works, at a favored coffee shop, or at her home, all very "real" places.
However, I've taken the great risk of turning things around in Rianne's life. Cal Duck and his fellow Guardians Mallard, Decoy, and Ling inject a fantasy element into the series and for a long time I resisted the urge to really explore that facet of Callous. That is, until recently. I thought, "hey, why not?" and took the plunge. Hence the storyline, The Land of the Guardians where Dr. Rianne Nicah finds herself in the home world of her Guardian Duck friends.
Why did I find this such a risk? The comic strip has an almost 14-year history already with a decent following. By changing things so drastically, even temporarily, I might have alienated these fans and damaged a well-established world, filled with characters, relationships, and personalities that I have cared for and nurtured to maturity. It would be easy to think, "it's my series, I can do what I want" but I guess I'm just not that kind of person. Switching genres is also against general cartooning wisdom (which is called such for a reason).
Eventually, I rationalized that such an adventure would aid the growth of the primary core of characters, that is Rianne and Cal Duck. I've never really shown how much they mean to each other, especially after going through so much for so long. It still is all about Rianne though, as she will develop herself further as a person through these trials.
Like much that I've done with Callous, the fruits are borne from doing away with reservations and just plain doing it. Now I am having oh so much fun!
Writing it is quite a challenge, however. Shifting from a gag-a-day comic strip to a full-on continuous story while maintaining the same kind of energy on a daily basis is tough and is something I never did before. I try to keep things at a brisk pace, even in moments that require expository "dull" proceedings, to keep readers interested and to maintain a certain daily flow while adequately contributing to an overall story.
So this is as much my own adventure as it is Rianne's! And I hope you'll join me in this new undertaking. Leave a note, I'm always open to hearing from readers, new and old.
You can find the Callous comic strip series at its home page at callouscomics.com!
Thanks for reading and I hope to hear from you!