The Center Of Somewhere, Everywhere

Luke Foster writes;

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a cartoonist. I’ve always loved the comics medium as a way to tell stories, and spent many hours when I was young creating characters and worlds and trying to draw comic strips that might someday appear in the newspaper alongside the work of my heroes. It took the invention of the Internet and a few years longer than I hoped to do it, but I’m now writing and drawing stories of my own.

My new comic strip, The Center of Somewhere, is a daily all-ages comedy (like a Pixar movie, not like a preschooler’s cartoon) comic strip centering around five residents – human and animal – of an unnamed American small town, and all the fun and wacky hijinks they get involved in. It is also, probably not coincidentally, the most fun I’ve ever had on a comic project.

The Center of Somewhere is actually my third webcomic. My first strip, a science-fiction comedy called Moon Freight 3, began in August 2008 and concluded this past November. From October 2009 to June 2010, I wrote and drew a true-life comedy called The Gang From the Store: True Tales From the Comic Book Shop. I enjoyed working on both those strips immensely, but they both came with a set of self-imposed restrictions that somewhat limited what I could do. In terms of storytelling, Gang From the Store could only consist of events and dialogue that happened in real life at the comic book store where I was working at the time, and Moon Freight 3 could not include a number of story points that I see as cliches in science fiction.

With The Center of Somewhere, though, I’m far less restrictive. If I think something is funny, I’ll put it in. Talking animals and humans can interact and I don’t have to explain why. If a ghost appears, I don’t need to explain where it’s from or why it’s there. As long as it’s funny and I think I can make a good story out of it, I’ll go with it. There are plenty of longer narratives and very loose story arcs, but the less-restrictive format also allows me to do different thematic strips, like the “Friday Night Poetry” (each character takes a turn reading a poem on Fridays) and “Real Science Facts” (the characters discuss a true piece of science and then make jokes about it) installments. The only real rule I set for myself, and this is something I don’t hold myself to all the time, is to make it more optimistic and less cynical than my earlier works.

I’ve also been experimenting a bit more with my art, trying out new drawing techniques and playing with a bit of a looser style, and working with a much wide color palette than my previous works. It’s been creatively liberating to do this, and I feel like I’m producing some of my best work to date.

The Center of Somewhere goes up every Monday through Friday, and there will even be a new comic on Christmas day. The strip began on August 6 of this year, so there’s already a bit of an archive to read through. Once there are enough strips, I will start putting together book collections to accompany the book collections of my other comics. Like I said, I’m having tons of fun on this comic, and I have on intention to end it any time soon.

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