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Reply mitchellbravo, March 11th, 2019, 11:01 pm

The city is not on fire.

To answer other "burning" questions, no, this and the previous page are not heralding the beginning of every page having a racial or ethnic slur on it somewhere.

And, it's March 12th! This is a day near and dear to my heart, as it marks ten years since the very first Loud Era page was uploaded.



The original first chapters have long since been removed, so the actual earliest page on the site currently was actually from December 10th, 2009, but I'm going to celebrate today anyway. It's been a long time since I looked back on those early pages, and it's almost absurd how weird they are.

First a quick timeline:
Spring 2006: I begin crafting a story, mostly mentally, about a group of 8 friends around the time of WWI. Random sketches can be found throughout various notebooks of this time.

Summer 2008: I grabbed my paints & pencils and started making comics about this gang. At one point they take a trip to the beach; another book features small vignettes of random character pairings watching clouds, going shopping, et cetera. I do not know where these pages are now. I have a bad feeling the beach one got thrown out in a flurry of embarassment not long after it was made.

March 2009: The first Loud Era webcomic strip (then known as Lateral Geotaxis [I know, I know]) goes live. Looking back on it now, it reads almost like a fever dream. I hadn't fully committed to the time period, so characters wear T-shirts, use modern slang and syntax, Paul Newman is explicitly featured in the comic, and there's just weird stuff going on with the art. I was using colored pencils and some really poorly used watercolor. I didn't have a good editing software yet- or I may have been using GIMP and just really bad at it- so to keep dialogue bubbles clean, I would lightly write the dialogue on the page where it would end up, draw the art around the dialogue, then go back with a piece of printer paper, hold the whole page and the printer paper on a window on a sunny day, like a light table, trace an outline of where the dialogue needed to be, move to a desk and pen the dialogue, cut the dialogue bubble out, and finally paste it onto the illustrated page. o_o

Overall, the tone of this chapter fell out of alignment with where I eventually took the story. Some character elements are in play, but overall the cast seem like exaggerations or parodies of what they would settle to become. The chapter ended with "Season 1.5," which featured a flashback to the gang as children in 1907, and was done all in "black and white" (I forget if it was done just using gray markers/pencils, or converted on the computer, and knowing my bizarre and confounding need to reinvent the wheel at every instant with my earlier art, I think it may have been the latter). I never finished "season 1.5," and at some point, possibly later that very summer, quietly swept these first 40 pages off of the site.

September 2009: I begin a two month long plot about the gang's Halloween adventures, which was more "grounded" in terms of being more chronologically coherent and less surreal than the previous chapter had been. It's still tonally different from the rest of the story onward, with lines upon lines of dialogue ("witty"), inconsistent pacing, and overall just nothing important enough to warrant keeping.

Chapter 2 then picked up where the current archive begins (after Joseph's musing at the beginning), followed by chapters 3 and 4, which were all re-edited for pacing and boiled down into what is now chapter 1. Many of the early archive pages you now see are actually combined strips that originally stood alone. I am eternally grateful to UrbanMysticDee, who called my strip out for having, if I remember his wise words correctly, "Too many little pages that don't go anywhere."

March 2012: At this point, I moved my site entirely to Smackjeeves, where it has remained since and will remain until this site closes down or some other shitty thing happens. Around this time, I wrote what is now the introductory few pages of the comic, and began to condense and edit the previous chapters down from 97 pages across 4 chapters to 60 pages across 2.

2016: The first chapter is deleted from the comic archive. Sometime between this year and 2017, I draft a new version of the current first chapter, intending to redraw and reupload scenes to make the current first chapter less shitty. I still have these scripts, but never went on to draw them. I have achieved a zen-like peace with the early pages; they are shitty, but they tell a story, they make sense, and some of them actually use some cool techniques or have good jokes. I've deleted more pages from my archive than some webcomic creators ever make in their whole pursuit of the hobby. I think now it's best to continue moving forward to new pages, new stories.


Because I'm a big flowery baby, I decided, since I've been at this solidly for 10 years, that for the next ten updates, I will COUNT DOWN my TOP TEN favorite Loud Era scenes. The criteria, of course, were specific and relentless, but can be boiled down basically to "scenes I still enjoy rereading, that may be technically well composed, may actually be funny, or add notable depth to a character or inter-character relationship."

Without further ado, here's...

The Legend of Kelly Madison. (link)

Length: 3 pages

Why it's #10: This relatively early-archive scene shows Clarabelle and Leon getting to know each other a bit at the prom, as Cal's ex-boyfriend/arch nemesis is dangerously lurking off-panel. This page is my favorite within the scene:

The expressions really tickle me on this one, and I used one of the Leons on the bottom row as an avatar for a while (old-time readers may remember). The scene wraps up with a sweet assurance from Leon, and even though the shading and facial proportions are a bit wonky, I still think this is one of the best scenes in the comic.






Reply Squirreltastic-Blue, March 12th, 2019, 3:46 pm

Leon is still my favorite. Long live the Leon!

Reply Oly-RRR, March 13th, 2019, 5:23 pm

I read all the stuff and I enjoyed it! And I guess it gave me some zen too because we both have been throwing out the pages but keeping the story and I dunno, I needed to hear someone whose comic I like did that too (and survived).

And gosh, the current flashback page. :c It's always the adults making sure to point out the social/ethnic differences to kids, and then they grow up like Phil and the cycle repeats.

Reply mitchellbravo, March 18th, 2019, 6:49 pm

@Squirreltastic-Blue: he's the most leonest in the whole comic.
@Oly-RRR: it's been really eye opening looking back on how much I struggled with keeping the comic afloat at different times. And so many embarrassing noob choices omg. Flid era was merely the tip of the iceberg D: XD

Yeah, it's been my experience that kids notice differences and may be wary of them but overall want to make friends and aren't fearful or judgmental unless that seed has already been planted :/

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