STATUS UPDATE 04
The Phantom Pleasure Newsletter
Hello! I’m hard at work on the next episode, and the first PHANTOM PLEASURE graphic novel. I’m really excited about the print version, I’m going all out on the art and refining the storytelling. I think I said this before, but I’m treating the graphic novel as one would treat a film version of their story. Meaning that it’s not going to be exactly like the web comic version. It’s going to move faster, look better, and hopefully; be easier and more fun to read.
I’m going to do these newsletters more often. I want to keep you all updated on the process, especially those of you who are paying subscribers. The idea of getting money for nothing makes me sick, and I want to do as much as I can for you all.
There’s so much more to the PHANTOM PLEASURE story, and I can’t wait to share it with you. I’ve been working on some commissioned art lately and co-writing a feature film, and it’s sadly slowed my comic work. But, I’m doing the best I can and working all day every day on art. Thank you to everyone for the continued support and for reading/looking at my work! It means the world.
I want to write a bit about the Synth Suit, specifically Echo’s version, known as Nyx. A lot of you have pointed out the GANTZ suits as a visual reference point. While I absolutely love GANTZ (the characters and story are so twisted), and can see the similarity; it wasn’t really my inspiration…
I think the GUYVER Units were the biggest influence. Kyoushoku Soukou Guyver is a pretty typical example of the ‘Timid high school-aged boy with a strong sense of justice gets dragged into a mysterious situation beyond his control and ends up being physically transformed into a biological monster/robot pilot/giant superhero and fights violent battles to try and find meaning/purpose/save his friends or the world’ genre. This type of tale has been going on for a long time in Japan of course. From Devilman to Cashaan to every single sentai show or movie to Evangelion to Attack on Titan.
Anyway, THE PHANTOM PLEASURE has nothing to do with that genre at all, but I do love the David Cronenberg-style bio-horror that Guyver utilizes. I tried to incorporate some of that feeling with Nyx, Echo’s personal Synth Suit. Echo looks sexy or cool in the suit, but it’s also kinda disgusting. Putting it on is like crawling under some old computer desk, and wrapping yourself in a filthy, tangled mass of living wires.
The Synth Suit is supposed to read a user’s emotions and personal preferences, and alter its appearance and behavior to match what the user wants. Though, Echo’s Synth Suit sometimes surprises her with its visual choices and actions…
So the question is, does Nyx know Echo better than she knows herself? Or is Nyx altering Echo’s behavior, to make her conform to the Synth Suit’s personal preferences?
In regards to the purpose of the Synth Suits, I was mainly inspired by the early days of internet chat room avatars. Back in the pre-social media days, users would use a simple animated gif or low res image to convey their personality to the world. This is an awesome video about The Palace chat, an early example of graphics-focused chat systems.
Synth Suits are a glitchy, physical version of how those chat room avatars worked. It’s a user’s only way to openly express their inner self, since no one in Geo-City One would care to ask. Users would feel hopelessly generic, or naked and exposed without a Synth Suit.
One last thing, I think the Scramble Suits from Phillip K. Dick’s, ‘A Scanner Darkly’ also provided some inspiration. Specifically the idea of losing one’s sense of identity through the constant use of avatars…
In the next newsletter I will share some brand new art from the graphic novel version of PHANTOM PLEASURE, and maybe explain some more details about how the world of Geo-City One works.
See you next time!
If you’d like some shirts/hoodies of The Phantom Pleasure, please visit the Vapor95 store.
If you are interested in physically owning some of my art, please visit my print shop.