by Caley Tibbittz Collopy

Watch Orphan Black


I heard mixed reviews about BBC America's Orphan Black when it debuted, and decided to skip it. Regrets, I've had a few --

-- so many, it's almost like they've been cloned and have different accents and haircuts and stuff!

Two of the TV shows I've been most impressed with since I've developed the kind of skill and taste needed to rise above the rank of Casual Viewer are Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Broadchurch. The latter is one of the most perfectly conceived and executed stories I've ever had the pleasure of enjoying, whose pickable nits are so small they really aren't even worth mentioning; the former is a brilliant achievement on a lot of levels, but suffers from somewhat scattershot plotting in places.

Orphan Black is what would happen if someone spliced the DNA of both shows, perhaps in a cloning lab of some kind.

In case you haven't heard, it's about a group of women whose paths cross in the discovery that they are all genetically identical. They are illegal clones, and someone is hunting them down, presumably to keep the secret of their provenance (I'll just assume I've used that word correctly) a secret.

The writers, directors, and especially the wonderful Tatiana Maslany deserve a mountain of praise for creating a space in which the disparate personailites of each clone breathes vividly on their own and spark with wonderful dramatic chemistry in conjunction with the others. The question of nature v. nurture naturally arises, and it's handled with intelligence and resonance in way I desperately wish franchise-killer John Logan had had even half the capability of exploring or even bloody understanding.

Star Trek: Nemesis was a painfully dumb clone story with a painfully dumb and artificial clear-cut moral divide between the "good" and "bad" selves; nothing in Orphan Black is nearly as tidy.

In devising the lead character Sarah Manning's lives (her old one and the new one she assumes), it would have been easy to run out of inspired steam and have something in the mix be a cheap contrivance, but every new revelation and upset feels very real. Furthermore ('cause I'm still typing), the antagonistic forces never feel cheap or hyperbolic. Even the "monsters" in the mix come across as disturbingly human.

Watching Sarah come to realize she has a calling beyond her own selfish needs to the greater good in the face of versions of herself both better and far worse is handled perfectly. I like watching characters who had no intention of becoming a better person get caught up in events that force them down that path anyway.

The other thing I like about this show is its deft employment of humo(u)r. NBC's watchable but wonky Believe is overly dark and then forces humor in like a sledgehammered stake. The jokes in this show feel like they just happen -- like they do in life. They make it look so damn easy...

Sarah's foster brother is the main source of levity; the role could have cross(dress)ed the line into parody, but in keeping with the rest of the enterprise, his ridiculousness is warm and human. And then bitchy and human.

Whether you view casually or want to be a writer when you grow up, you need to watch this show. It's smart entertainment, and it's a writing school in 10 parts.

...and a second season, debuting 04/19. It's on Xfinity On Demand right now. Binge.

Fishcakes for all,
-Caley Tibbittz

. S. Please visit my Patreon page and become a supporter of Eternal Knights today -- there are so many great rewards, and you get to read new pages a WHOLE WEEK EARLY! Help me quit my day job and bring you new pages more often!


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by Caley Tibbittz Collopy

Taking Comics Seriously


What does it mean to take comics in general, and one's own comic, seriously? For me, it starts with saying things like "one's own comic", which makes me sound like a well-educated butler. And it means treating Eternal Knights like a job -- long before it makes any real money. While it's costing me money. And time. Time I could use for a day job's larger short term paycheckery. And it's hard.

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So hard.

And you have to say things like "I'm an artist" and "I write and draw a webcomic" and "I have many readers who cannot wait until the next page drops, yo", no matter how only vaguely true any of this is in the baby giraffe finding its walking legs days. You have to say it to strangers. You have to ignore your day job. Your day job is mere survival, but if you're serious about funnybooks, your day job ain't what you do.

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(When I can finally quit, I'm gonna have a Scottish day --
wherein one answers all calls received
with a thick Scottish accent.)

Despite my rent and electricity payments being derived not from EK but from uncountable hours of spelling names like "John" and "James" back to callers who clearly think I've bumped my head several somewheres, my comic has managed to keep updating -- like a lingering sporadic hiccup on the one hand...

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...and yet, despite chronic mild lung infections and the like, relatively steadily on the other.

I have a wife with intermittently severe depression issues and who suffers from cerebral palsy which prevents her from doing such simple things as enunciating clearly enough to say things like "z", and from balancing on her own legs. Sometimes I think I'm getting a relaxing Sunday... and then my mom calls and asks me to watch my sister, who has MS and needs a lot of assistance.

And I sigh and in my head and sometimes out loud too and often say "Yes."

My call center day job keeps getting tweaked to be harder and harder, the demand of ready-to-talk-time raised higher and higher until every shift means a sore throat the next day. I'm usually exhausted, and often bleary-eyed from missed sleep. It would be so bloody easy to give up, but I don't.

Because I'm Jesus.

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...or was that just a cool dream I had?

...regardless of whether or not I'm Jesus (and there's strong evidence either way), comics are important to me, and I treat them that way. I have to draw. I even say "have to", as in "Pardon me, wife -- I have to go draw now." And "I can't do X, mom, because I have to draw."

I have to draw.

I've always loved it, and I've spent my young adult life through now honing the craft to the point where I think my pages are really worth looking at. I have to write, too. The worlds just won't stop colliding and taking shape in my head. I call myself and artist and a writer and a comic book creator. That's not what pays the bulk of my anything yet (though I am getting a decent if sporadic page rate on a side project). But that's who I am. That's what I do.


...I ripped that last bit off from the Kung Fu: The Legend Continues opener. :D

Fishcakes for all,
-Caley Tibbittz

. S. Please visit my Patreon page and become a supporter of Eternal Knights today -- there are so many great rewards, and you get to read new pages a WHOLE WEEK EARLY! Help me quit my day job and bring you new pages more often!


(If the Disqus comments box is not showing, CLICK HERE to comment.)


comments powered by Disqus