Espen: Welcome to Pat, a webcomic 12 years in the making! How can that be, you ask? 12 years? Really? Come on, it’s not that good. Well, my partner in crime, Steinar Risanger, wrote the first scripts back in 2000 or thereabouts. They were—in the first place—meant as self-contained pieces of short prose. It was only later, when I had moved to Bergen to study literature, that I got the idea of turning Pat into a comic strip. An idea I soon forgot about—for 10 years, no less!
In 2011 I decided to do something about it, not having drawn much at all in years. I bought bristol board, new pens, and India ink and sat down at my drawing desk. I’ve always had a tendency to leave projects unfinished, but a passage in Todd Hignite’s book on Jaime Hernandez, The Art of Jaime Hernandez (2010), got me thinking. In the passage, Jaime talks about his brother, Gilbert, and how he always finished projects, no matter what. If it doesn’t turn out perfect, no worries. You can always do better next time. That’s how you learn. This was quite an eyeopener for me. Within a month or so, I’d pencilled, inked and coloured the first six Pat pages.
Needless to say, these first pages are chock-full of mistakes. Most glaring of all, the lettering is barely legible. Sorry about that. It gets better. You’ll just have to use the zoom function for the time being. I also experimented a lot with drawing tools to start with. This first page is drawn with blue pencils, technical pens, and pen and ink.
So, what is Pat about? Well, everything, really. Everything we find interesting, that is. In short: literature (James Joyce crops up in Pat’s dreams later on), art, comics (see if you can spot my homages to vintage comics), philosophy (Pat hangs out with Heidegger in a few weeks), and music (Pat interviews Morrissey and sings Kraftwerk-inspired songs during class). Hopefully it’ll all come across as “inspired nonsense“.
Steinar: At the origins of Pat lies youthful pretension, obsession with Irish literature and just plain having too much time on one’s hands. I started fiddling with it whilst reading Ulysses, a book which compels some kind of creativity. The idea was to blur the line between high and low art, infuse the thing with a sense of childish curiosity and cram it with as many more-or-less obscure references as possible. A case of love and (especially) theft, as the Curly One would say. The original script was really pieces in search of form. A decade later, strangely and fittingly, it’s on the Internet as a webcomic. Yup, go figure.
This first Pat is all about thinking of ways to get rid of food. It’s also about the importance of compassionate cooking. Espen has captured the effects of badly done chicken on the gastrointestinal tract just beautifully (see the expression on Sam’s face). See also Humbie’s bright interpretation of Sam’s strange outburst. A «MacGuffin» is a plot device often used in Hitchcock films. «Tuttle» is a character from The Others (2001). Why I used these names or why indeed Alba wants to inflict harm on her own family is not known to man.