I chose today’s excerpt because it combines a few elements that 1) require some explanation, and 2) recur often enough in her comics that I might as well get all the explanations out of the way in one post.
Okay, so first of all there’s the whole El Chupacabra thing. I hardly know where to begin with this one without making my lovely girl sound like a complete looney, but here goes.
When Elizabeth was seven or eight, she began to imagine that one day she would transform into a new, magical, powerful creature. She would gain rabbits’ ears (for super hearing), a cougar’s tail, dragons’ wings, sharp talons, a unicorn’s horn, and a “powermark” (the source of her magic) on the bridge of her nose. She talked about it all the time, and at some point for some reason her PE coach dubbed Elizabeth’s alter-ego “El Chupacabra.” Elizabeth latched right onto the lyrical sound of the name, and her creature has been “El Chupacabra” ever since.
I thought it was just a passing phase she was going through, and didn’t fuss too much about it. But it didn’t pass; in fact, it worked its way slowly but steadily deeper into her self-image. When she was in third grade I finally had to put the smackdown on the situation when I was called to pick her up from the school principal’s office. Apparently she had been dragged there kicking and screaming “WHEN I’M EL CHUPACABRA I’LL BE THE ONE IN CHARGE! AND I’LL CONTROL YOU ALL WITH THE POWER OF MY WILL! AND YOU’LL ALL HAVE TO DO WHATEVER I WANT!!”
I knew it would do no good to order her to drop the El Chupacabra bit entirely. It had become too much a part of her mental landscape. I told her she could still talk about it at home, but from now on her alter ego was an absolutely verboten subject at school. She mostly complied, slipped once or twice, was immediately punished, and eventually it stopped being a big problem.
But it didn’t go away. Deep in her heart my brilliant, creative child really believes that one day she will shed her mundane chains and emerge as a powerful, magical creature.
The reason I bring all this up is because Elizabeth is a character in many of her own comics, and that’s how she draws herself. So that’s why she looks like that.
The second thing that might need an explanation is Elizabeth’s habit of indiscriminately co-opting other artists’ characters into her own universe. She doesn’t see anything incongruous in drawing a story that contains, say, Calvin (from the Calvin and Hobbes strip), Otto Mattic (from a favorite computer game), and Buizel (the Pokemon critter) interacting with one another.
Most recently, Eve from WALL-E has joined the party.
The third thing you may be wondering about in this week’s offering is the addition of random splashes of color. I…actually don’t know what that’s about. It’s new, and may or may not be a permanent thing.
So without further ado, I give you an excerpt from “Elizabeth And Sparky, Book 4.”
(Oh, one more bit of ado. Sparky is the dragon. For some reason he only appears in one frame of this scene.)