– Black and White? Isn’t Ghost Kiss supposed to be in color? Okay, so here’s what happened:

In mid-August I was working on a script for a different Ghost Kiss story (which you’ll see next episode) when Charlottesville happened. Alt-Right demonstrators in Charlottesville dispelled any pretense that they weren’t outright white supremacists, waving Nazi and Confederate flags, chanting Nazi slogans, shouting racist and homophobic slurs and carrying torches as they rallied around a Confederate monument. Before it was all over they savagely beat a man named DeAndre Harris with pipes. They murdered a woman named Heather Heyer and wounded over a dozen others by driving a  car into a crowd of protesters. I’m sure you all remember this. I was stunned and devastated (and still am, months later). It felt like everything ugly and wrong with my country had finally broken through to the surface. It had always been there, but now finally everyone could see it.

I felt absolutely defeated. I was also furious. If you follow me on social media or know me personally you probably remember. Only a few weeks earlier an Alt-Right white supremacist had murdered 2 men here in Portland and wounded a 3rd. The man had been harassing a pair of young women riding home on the train. and when other riders tried to stop him he pulled out a knife and stabbed them. I used to ride that train every day. The stop where it happened was in my old neighborhood. I’ve been the person who got between some angry, racist asshole and a person just trying to mind their own business on that train before too. A few times. After that and after Charlottesville I was devastated and furious.

I decided to put my current Ghost Kiss story on hold to write something that addressed how I felt. Thats what this comic is. I don’t know what to think of it and I don’t know what you’ll think of it.  Since this is only the first page of a 10 page comic I guess you can’t think much of it at all. After scripting and doing the initial layouts I had to put the comic on hold to work on another project. I had hoped I’d be able to release this comic in September, but by the time I actually started drawing it was already the middle of October. Finishing up the inking and the lettering this week has been strange. Typing “Fuck you, fag!” a half dozen times was actually upsetting. Not as upsetting as hearing Alt-Right garbage in Charlottesville proudly and unashamedly chanting it on national tv, but still unsettling. Studying photos of those demonstrators so I could match their outfits, tactical gear, torches and flags was also unsettling. The hatred, contempt and ugliness of these people is plain to see even in candid photos.

Half way through drawing this episode I realized I was never going to have time to color it if I wanted to be finished before the end of October. Black and white felt fitting for this story, even though it wasn’t intentional. I decided to dress Ghost Kiss and her friends in black so they’d easily stand out against the crowds. They’re not meant to be Black Bloc, although it did occur to me that some readers might think that. Inking this story has actually been pretty satisfying, despite the troubling subject matter and the labor intensive crowd scenes. Sometimes getting stuck in and giving yourself over to hard work is what it takes to get through anger and frustration.

I’m still finishing the last two pages, and I imagine I’ll ahve more to say about this comic once its all up for you to read.

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