Web comic "Surfer Joe"

Don’t mess with me, I’m local (#070)

Don't mess with me, I'm local

I got to draw some of Sendai’s local surfers for this page.

It’s pretty fun, and a long time coming. Some more world building needs to happen, and one of the things I’ve always dug about the Tohoku surfing scene is the cold-weather factor.

The winters are pretty cold up here, but a lot of people surf all year around. Surfing is seen as a summer sport by most, so the idea of surfing in the frigid cold seems so cool to me. Current wetsuit technology is so good that it’s not hard to stay warm. Changing in the parking lot sucks though.

Even though Surfer Joe is pure fiction, you can’t really make a story about a specific place and culture without paying tribute to those who make up that culture. At the same time, you don’t want to use real people as characters because you run the risk of making a person do or say something they don’t approve of.  The trick is how to work the locals in without putting the weight of the narrative on their shoulders. It’s a fine line to walk.

I ended up writing this flashback on the fly last week.

I had begun to realize that chapter 3 is going to be way too long compared to the first two. So I decided to break it up into two separate chapters. Of course, that means I need to add some more pages of story to fill out each chapter. And this flashback is one way to do it.

It accomplishes a couple of things.

  1. World Building. It introduces some side characters and the cold-weather factor that will play a role in the story. I had been worrying about not being able to introduce these elements soon enough in the story, and even though the flashback is pure exposition it addresses this problem.
  2. More Surfing Content. Chapter 3 is, alas, light on surfing. This flashback about a legendary day at Shinko should fit the bill nicely. Now if only I can get surfing worked into Chapter 4…

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