Monday, January 10, 2011

Why a Trout?

A lot of people ask me this... what's up with all this Trout crap? Well, if you're  inside my head, and don't know the 20 graphic novels and four art books and all the trout history clogging my brain (most of which aren't published yet),... then it's totally understandable to wonder. Hell, I'd ask too. 

But before I get into the Trout, first up goes back to how I draw... and think... in general. I notice I tend to unconsciously reduce everything I draw to shapes, like in Zero Girl. Nothing special there: most artists think in circles, squares, etc. In my mind all three of the examples above are all pretty much the same skeleton, only with different 'skin'. Here's what I mean: 

Legs was Maxx, who, before that, was the Magic Trout. While compiling stuff for the art book, I came across an old page that shows this pretty well. The Trout was just a side-ways S shape and so was Maxx... still unformed. Just doodles in dozens of sketchbooks. 

I layed out a crude story of the Trout as a grit salesmen, as a sort of joke. 

This idea was based on a frame from an old rare short film (that's long been lost) which supposedly shows one of few existing photos of the Trout. 

I used this 'mute man' from the film later in my Ojo comic. The Mute man was one of hundreds of folks dating back to the 1900s who (along with Annie), had a profound experience when they saw the Magic Trout. 

My sketchbook doodles of the trout are kinda like the source of everything, all of it... everything came from it. Nothing to do with actual fish or fishing for trouts.  It's just randomly evolved into this whole universe, which bookends my whole career. I tried to keep it separate from the Maxx universe, but, like everything I dream up, it's part of a 'family of everything' I create. For me the Trout world is already as fully formed as the Maxx world. All that remains is the act of patiently laying it down in print and online.  

These crude panels from the Ojo comic show that whenever the Trout 'speaks', it's utter nonsense to human ears. Yet we process it as what we want to hear. In the 1900s people tended to hear a weird noise from the Trout that sounded to human ears like the words 'cheese and garbage'. 

I have no idea what it means either, it's just another mystery of this Trout world. 

So why should you give a crap about all this? No reason. I don't know why believe in imaginary things like a big purple super hero. Or a skinny guy in black that Neil called the Sandman. It only exists because somebody doodled in a sketchbook or wrote in a note pad. 

Here's an old vintage Trout Balm advertisement for Balm from the turn of the century. Something people don't even remember anymore. 

All this Trout nonsense will make a little more sense as various books start tumbling out. Trust me. Creations are goofy things; creator and readers conspire to pretend something unreal happened, matters, and emotionally moves them. It's totally organic, starts inside, then pops out. Totally stupid.

Yeah, I know. I don't get it either.