The High Sugar Soap Opera

TM THSSO KlK design 2

The High Sugar Soap Opera, sugar with extra sugar on top of pink on top of pop-art pie

Deze comic gaat over het leven navigeren met een chronische ziekte, de potentiele voor- en nadelen van kunstmatige intelligentie bij gezondheid in een wereld die waarde hecht aan doorgeslagen esthetiek.

Als Kristy le Klair de hoofdrol voor de nieuwe televisieserie The High Sugar Soap Opera wint komt het aan op de prestatie van haar leven. De hoofdrol in deze soap waarin Kristy de liefste, zoetste en meest perfecte vrouw van de wereld moet zijn is een unieke kans op de wereldwijde aandacht waar ze van droomt, maar ze heeft er niet bij verteld dat ze lichamelijk niet helemaal perfect is. Er is echter ook heel veel dat haar niet verteld is, zoals dat er geen script is voor de show, The High Sugar Soap Opera blijkt een reality-show te zijn, omdat in de woorden van de producent ‘het leven zelf een soap is’.

Neko finds love

Here’s the story of Neko, a short little comic I created for the artist publication of Antropical art residency at Kolla festival in Steinfort, Luxembourg. This is the first draft and it was published in the publication as you see it.

Following a three-act structure it was easy to make up the story as I went along. It is obvious the final panel needs more space, just by making the panel larger there will be more of an emphasis on the ending. The story is a bit messy in the middle, as I redraw it I will take more space to make the yawn-perceived-as-fighting more obvious and carry more weight.


It’s a simple story. Does it seem easy? Too easy even? I’m curious.

It actually has two rules to it. The colours for one. Black and red. Nothing else. One colour for each character, of course. On the cover Neko has a little red in him, because he is touched by Kolla’s lovingness.

Secondly, each character has its own distinct traits, which came about by their shape. It was funny how the pens I used decided the story, it started with Neko, he was immediately rough and cranky and edgy, this was the black pen’s doing and I rolled with it. The red marker I used for Kolla immediately gave a smoothness. And so the story came to be about edgy versus smooth.

Neko starts on edge and by the end of the story he allows for something new; relaxation and smoothness. That’s necessary for a story isn’t it? Change. Neko starts one way and by the end he is a different cat. The second act shows us how this came to be. Very simple, very clear.

It’s quite an obvious story choice to put two diametrically different characters opposite each other. I had three pages in the publication, no time for nuance. I like simplicity when it’s done well. But when is it done well? I mean, I want it to be simple, but not easy, you know? A clear cut theme and sharp choices are important. Everything that doesn’t serve the story distracts from it.

As I was making this, the story became applicable to how I was experiencing the residency. I was Neko, on edge and distrustful toward hugs. An experience I have had in other situations, everyone seems best friends from day one and I feel like I am not fitting in. When I feel this way I know I’m not the only one. I observe this feeling and I take it as an ingredient for my story. I like this way of working, taking this one autobiographical element and handing it to a character, blowing it up until it is all they are. For me this gives a sense of the real to fiction.


Do you feel me?

A question finds me: “Are you spiritual or religious in any way?” I already dislike the woman asking the question, but am not in a position to openly do so. There isn’t a good reason for the dislike. Also, she is my boss. I bring myself to feel something I tell myself to be genuine appreciation for the asking of the question. It’s a good question. It is not asked often and she has me wondering why. Sitting at the wooden table we drink wine after work. In the declamation of our achievements of spirituality I find myself listing and observing myself listing things. The boss lady is listing quite severely. A third woman isn’t so sure. This is deemed weakness. The boss lady pins herself with the badge of extreme hypersensitivity. I claim it also. The third asks what it means. I tell her no one is sure. The boss lady corrects me. It is feeling what others are feeling all the time. I confirm it. The third feels relief at something so easy. I bring up a recent argument with a lover as an excuse to talk about talking to frogs (which I can’t do). The boss lady doesn’t wince. She is able to know a person’s time of death and speak with fish. The third shrugs, she can’t do anything.