Philip Sevy writes,
Hi! I’m Phillip Sevy. You probably don’t know me, but you may have seen my art. I just finished a twelve-issue run on Tomb Raider with Eisner Award winner Mariko Tamaki (This One Summer, Hulk, Supergirl). Before that, I worked on The Tithe with Matt Hawkins at Top Cow. Today, I want to tell you about Paradox.
Paradox is a 28-page, scifi comic that follows a boy who is racing to prevent a paradox that creates him but also threatens to destroy reality.
I wrapped up my run on Tomb Raider just before the holidays started at the end of last year. I knew it would be a month or so until the New Year and editors began lining up artists for their new slate of books, so I wanted to find something to keep me making comics. I’ve also always wanted to write as well as draw, but hadn’t been pursuing that role as drawing a monthly book for over a year had kept me plenty busy.
I started out in comics with a webcomic (now defunct and taken down) and loved the format. I wanted to give it a go again while I was working on securing my next gig. The pressure and excitement of putting up a new page of story each day sounded really fun. It was also something I could not only write and draw, but color and letter (skills that are VERY difficult and never given enough credit). But I didn’t know what type of short story I could tell over a month or so.
Years ago, I had tried to break a story (which I titled “Paradox”) involving a boy who was his own father – that he was destined to go back in time and conceive himself. Oedipal complex notwithstanding, what drew me to that idea was the challenge of creating a narrative around someone who is trying to avoid the inevitable. I also love the brain-tease of paradoxes. Things that can’t exist. Or can they? How do they work? How do you make story sense of something that doesn’t make actual sense?
Breaking it down, if you’re the sum of your parents (half of your mother and half of your father) and you, then, sire yourself – your child (you) is now three-quarters your mother and one-quarter you/your father. As they cycle repeats itself, you/your grandson then becomes eighty-seven point five percent your mother and only twelve point five percent you. And just like the mathematical idea that if two people move toward each other at the rate of half the distance between them, they’ll never reach each other – you’ll never not have part of yourself in you, but it’ll approach zero as you become nearly one-hundred percent your mother. How does that work? Well, it doesn’t. Not really.
I couldn’t get those ideas and contradictions out of my head. The story, originally, was going to be an ongoing, long-form, (somewhat) linear story. But the further I got in plotting it, the more it collapsed under the weight of its own logic holes. I couldn’t find solutions for its problems. So I set it on the shelf of “someday” story ideas.
As I was hunting for ideas that would work in a short format, my mind came back to Paradox. Was there a way to adapt it into something much shorter? What if I were to break the narrative into three separate parts and have them run concurrently?
Then it all came together. The three narratives points originally came to me as “The Father” “The Son” and “The Holy Spirit.” I got onboard with this idea of a father and a son – their relationship. I couldn’t find a way to make “The Holy Spirit” work, so I changed the initial chapter headings, but within a day, I had the whole thing outlined and written. And the next day, I started drawing.
Less than twenty-eight days later, I had the whole thing done. (With the help of the brilliant Tim Daniel who designed the logo) I didn’t tell anyone about it or ask for endless rounds of feedback from my faithful and dedicated friends. I just did it. To do it. To put it out there and be like “Hey, this is me as a storyteller.”
And as I wrote it and drew Paradox, it became much more personal. The journey of a boy from child to parent and how his perception of his own father changes became something that I was writing from personal experience. By the end, there were all sorts of things that I hadn’t intended to be injected into the themes and narrative.
What started as a fun brain-teaser, became very personal and much more than a story about a kid who sleeps with his mom.
Without any real fanfare, I start serializing it at paradoxcomic.tumblr.com as well as my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. Page at a time for the entire month of January. And what do you know? The response was really positive. Both fans and pros urged me to collect it in print.
And since I’m a glutton for punishment (I was teaching a new quarter of college kids, sending new samples around to editors, and launching a book (“The House”) on Comixology), I decided to go for it and launch a Kickstarter.
The Kickstarter is relatively conservative and simple. I’m looking to fund a print run of the book. I’ve got rewards for digital copies, print copies, a few different commission options, as well as a portfolio review/skype call at the upper level. Within three days, we have funded nearly 75% of our goal – but there are still plenty of people who we haven’t reached yet who would like this book.
And the great thing is that you can read the whole thing, for free, online to see if you’d like it enough to pledge. Check it out, pledge, and spread the word.
And when your friends ask what Paradox is about, you can say “It’s not just about sleeping with your mom…”