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What Did I Learn?: Blank It

2008 06 30 blankit 0007 400x177 Blank It review

Blank It Comics by Aric McKeown and Lemuel Pew defies a pat description. I don’t know if the right word is esoteric but it’s close enough for now. I suspect that only the creators really understand it and they’re not tipping all the cards. They seem to officially leave many things to Wild Mass Guessing. One of these guesses has led to one reader naming the white background as “The Canvas” which is a pretty good name for it. I’ll come back to that in a second.

There are two main characters named Lemmo and Aric. Lemmo wears the hat and Aric has the dark hair (for the most part.) Don’t get too hung up on the names of people or things since the creators have names for all the characters and they don’t share them all publicly. Almost nothing is truly nailed down in ‘public’ canon and the readers discuss each comic.

Yeah, it’s interesting that it’s left open to discussion. There are normally a very regular number of comments below each comic. Would that more comics had such a good audience reaction rate as Blank It Comics.

Let’s get back to the Canvas. There’s this infinite white… space the characters find themselves in. They semi-bicker their way through the place and it reacts to them. In one comic, a pair of missing sox leads to Aric finding a fox – out of nowhere. I’m not going to try to explain about the fox or what they mean about a shovel beam or Lemmo’s missing hand. That way lies madness – but – that is the first comic where anything has a name. A few comics later is when and where Lemmo and Aric get their names. I’m not aware of any other comic where no characters were named until twenty nine comics in. How may other comics could get away with that?

And then there was wind. It was subtle at first but soon grow into something more. And I know where these things came from because of reading the archives through in one shot. However, it was just one panel which would have seemed unremarkable at the time. Nothing exists in Blank It by accident, even though it’s presented as unexpected chance events and… things. I’d like to get a look into the creation process of the comic. I wonder how much is planned out and how much off the cuff works its way in and germinates later.

Poking around a bit, I also found this WordOwl site which made transcripts of comics. It is now defunct but I liked the search by sound effect, word balloon or captions options.

What Did I Learn?

Imagine trying to make a comic with no backgrounds and no props.Where does the humor and drama come from? They can’t trip up, they can’t be motivated by anything external and they can’t team up against a common foe. It’s all based on the characters. They are their own protagonists and antagonists, their own props and their own motivators. The kicker is that you need that in a comic full of backgrounds, props and adversaries anyway. Blank It is a very interesting comic to study but also a fun comic to read.

ArtPatient