Is it true? Could it be possible that today is the one year anniversary of the very first AIM Comic put on this site that you are reading right now? Could it be true that this terrible idea has been revisited at a near-weekly rate for a year’s worth of weeks in a row? Well no. Yesterday was the one year anniversary. But let me tell you, friends, that no one is more surprised than I am that I have been making these things for this long, this consistently.
As many of you may remember, I used to draw comics with a pen and paper (and if you don’t remember, there is an incomplete gallery of them in the Comics Section – you may have to dig back through the pages until we get a better system going). I really enjoyed telling tales of this town that exists in my mind called Unicorn Valley. The cast of characters was really a little enormous and they changed over time to get better and better (I think), both in quality and overall comedy flow. You know, technical things like that. However, one day I just stopped drawing them. Of course, I intend to begin again some day, but I have been intending that for four years now. ONE OF THESE DAYS I WILL, PLZ GET OFF MY BACK.
But it used to trouble people sometimes that I wasn’t making comics anymore. They’d come to me all full of encouragement. All being like, “Amanda, c’mon. Make comics. You know you enjoy it.” But I would then reveal that it wasn’t like THAT much fun. I sort of like drawing them out but it isn’t like I read comics on my own much – not even the ones I make. Although, admittedly, I do kind of like these AIM Comics and I will TELL YOU WHY!
These Things Are Just So Easy to Draw
The only thing I do is read through chat logs and ask: “Did I smile, chuckle, or laugh at this conversation?” That is all it takes. And because I am a “creative type,” pretty much any time I am talking to anyone ever on the Internet, I imagine us as little comic drawings. So as every conversation I am ever a part of wears on, it is like watching nonstop AIM Cartoons – IN MOTION. I can understand why you would all be so jealous of me because these cartoons in my head are pretty dang wonderful.
So, there is a moment in a conversation where I am made to smile or laugh a little. I copy/paste that part to an MS Paint file, change the fonts so that they are a little different, bubble ‘em, arrange where I want us to stand, make little sketches in red that I erase eventually, copy/paste our heads throughout the panels I want, make the panels, arrange the bubbles, draw our bodies and mannerisms, tighten everything up, color us, make a background, choose a color scheme for the panels, make a title and there you have it! An AIM Comic! It really is just as simple as that!
I actually started making them well over a year ago. It was an experiment to see if I could make comics in the easiest way imaginable (I write nothing, the only thing I create is inconsistent MS Paint drawings) and if they aren’t funny, maybe no one would notice because they are usually so cute looking. I hope! I don’t want to sound like a judgmental elitist jerk here or make any enemies of actual comic artists, but I can’t imagine how this will sound like anything nice so here goes: 99% of all comics I have ever glanced at are 1. boring, 2. drawn horribly, or 3. embarrassingly bad in content, style, and delivery. I didn’t really think I could do any better, but if I was going to add another bad comic to the shitpile, I wanted to at least enjoy doing it. So far: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.
Jeremy wanted to put them up immediately, but I knew better, I know me. I wanted a YEAR of them backed up because I require a buffer. He started putting them up when I had thirty saved up, which caused a scare. And as of this writing, I only have one – the one for next Monday – in my comic bank. I am comic impoverished. It is so terrible. I need to draw another as soon as I am finished writing this retrospective piece.
I Like My Friends and I Like Making Charts Featuring Their Noggins!
In this past year, I have showcased the joys and sorrows, the ups and downs, the inane and the poignant observations of my friends. I have also showcased their reactions to MY OWN joys, sorrows, ups, downs, and observations both inane and poignant. I am not sure if this has changed their attitude toward me or not, but so far no one seems to have been offended. But WHO ARE these gentle souls brave enough to be considered a friend of mine?? And based on the reactions of theirs I have depicted – ARE THEY REALLY MY FRIENDS AT ALL? Or maybe it just reveals that I think it is hilarious when people are disdainful and/or condescending to me? Is this a horrible glimpse into my mind? Probably. It probably is.
I know a lot of people on AIM because I get most of my socialization via instant messaging. I don’t ONLY use AIM. Honestly, quite a few of these could be called gchat comics, or FB Chat Comics, or meebo comics, actually, but I mean when you get into the habit of calling IM activities as AIM, you might as well stick with it. I am by my nature a pretty antisocial person, I guess, but I love conversation. I am always glad that the internet was invented because otherwise I’d be one of those kooks from history who just sat around corresponding with people and saving all of the letters for publication after my death. But what I am trying to say is that as much as I like my internet pals, I am sometimes glad that they can’t breathe on me or drain my energy by being present and all of that other stuff. It is for the best, it is the best thing for my reclusiveness. We can hang out sometimes though, guys, that’s cool.
The people in my comics are from all around the world (except Africa, Asia, continental Europe, and Antarctica). While this comic is Made in the USA, it is not restricted to the American Agenda nor any sort of patriotic obligation to represent Modern American Ideals. Never an isolationist, I try to provide the readers with a real sense of a WORLD of friendship, and to a lesser extent, implied speaking accents. I probably should create footnotes for each one of these foreign friends so that you can have some fun, or alternatively, get angered up that you were tricked into seeing that non-Americans can be delightful too. Haha I can’t believe I just made this fat paragraph about this bullshit. Really, I just happen to talk to people from other countries coincidentally, but I wanted some distance put between this chart and the next one. GOTCHA!
The ages of these friends range from beautifully young to older than I realized until I made the chart about their age. I made a bunch of charts for this article, you guys. I kind of enjoyed it, but I think I made them because at the time I didn’t really feel like writing – which is the other important reason that I like to make AIM Comics: providing content without having to make much effort! I think everyone suspected it, but I am confirming it for you right here, right now. Thrilling discoveries! Let’s look at a chart.
I hope you know that you can click on any of these charts to look upon them in their real-size glory. I tried to make this thinking about size restrictions, which I tried to do with the comics themselves for a few weeks there. But, much as was the case with the comics, it turns out I can’t work while being restricted in any way! I wonder if you noticed that I apparently don’t talk to many girls? This isn’t my fault. I just generally don’t get along with girls that well, I guess. All of the friends I have made are great because they usually remind me of me (which is to say that they are wonderful, intelligent, charming, humorous, attractive, and broken to some degree or another), and ladies just don’t attain those heights in a way that satisfies me. Any girl who is like me will understand what I am talking about, because any time I have ever met a girl who is wonderful, we both go through that “oh hey it is so refreshing to meet another great girl because they are not that common!” thing. But I feel like this paragraph is explanation enough, so let’s look at how the chart came out!
Over the past year, some of my pals have been featured multiple times. This reflects the fact that I talk to some people more than others, or that I have more family-friendlyish conversations with some of them. It isn’t really actual favoritism in the traditional sense, although I have occasionally toyed with the idea of turning these comics into a series called “Kevin Flasch is Great” and just showcase him every single week until I grow tired of him finally. I just can never imagine that happening. It is such a safe bet. I generally try to not feature one person too frequently. To use Kevin as an example again, my gosh, I think I have forty conversations with him still set aside, poised and ready for future use. Ugh maybe I should just make Kevin Comics.
In one single year of doing AIM Comics, I have only depicted twenty-two of my friends. I have plenty more than that waiting on the sidelines, ready for their moment to shine. Aaron and Alan spring to mind as being people I really enjoy talking to, but for whatever reason I have just not put them in a comic of their own yet! I’M SO SORRY it was never my intention! This is not a snubbing! Flippy needs in here, and Katie, and Nall – there are really so many that I will share with you, my readers. I promise.
So yeah, I plan on doing these darn things for at least another year. Originally, there were a few enthusiastic comments left for me. Nowadays, I am actually not sure if anyone even bothers to read them except for the friends who are in them for the week. They are always so certain that their internet fame will increase dramatically, but I don’t think their lives change at all. Oh no, oh no, everyone probably does resent me now.
Well, they can go ahead and resent me for one more year! YEAH!!
Amanda lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, and is a complete hermit in many respects, so if you find her out-of-doors, consider yourself lucky, Bucko!
Contact her: email@example.com
or maybe AIM: octocakes