24-Hour Comic: The Butler Does It

Josh Neufeld

On March 9, 2002, I took part in a 24-hour-comic "lockdown" with a bunch of other folks (including Dean Haspiel, Tom Hart, Ellen Lindner and K. Thor Jensen). What is a 24-hour comic? Well, besides his work as the creator of Zot! and the seminal text Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud is the inventor of what’s called the 24-hour Comic. The goal, essentially, is for one to sit down and draw a complete twenty-four page comic story in — you guessed it — twenty-four consecutive hours. (If you’d like to read more about the 24-hour Comic idea, including all the rules, go here.) I’d been toying with the idea of doing one for awhile, but I didn't have the nerve to do it on my own. Earlier this year, on a signing tour of Massachusetts, Tom, Ellen, Thor and I talked about it and decided we'd set one up. So, ergo, March 9...

24-hour comicWhat an experience! Oy! I think my problem was I was a little too ambitious. I had this whole meta-fiction idea about a day in the life of Nestor, the butler in the Tintin comics. During the course of his day, he would drift in and out of episodes from previous Tintin adventures. You know, like when he answers the phone with the wrong number for Cutts the Butcher... Or when the step on the marble staircase breaks... And all drawn in my inimitable Hergé style! It was a great idea, except it was so labor-intensive that there was no way to keep on the schedule of one hour per page.

Around ten hours into it, I began to panic. I realized I would have to cheat to get back on schedule. My cheating began on page 7. Even that didn't do the trick and I tried to cheat even more (page 12). It didn't help. By 7 a.m. or so, I was defeated. The only thing I could do was wrap the whole thing up. So I drew page 24 — despite there being eight empty pages preceding it...

Suffice it to say that I was unable to complete all 24 pages within the allotted time. I did my best, but my best wasn't good enough. Anyway, check out the results here.

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