In Which We Find Chaos

There are many web comic series that have a vibe of slapdashness to them. They are engaging or funny, but made up on the fly. FindChaos is not one of them.

The comic came to life in 2011, spending a few years before that working on the plot, themes, art direction and characters. That is the reason why the story shows no sign of meandering and losing its reader’s interest. The readers are treated to a slowly unfolding, non-linear and deliberate telling of  events with great artwork to accompany it.

 

Created by A. Stiffler and K. Copeland, an illustrator and a writer respectively, the comic is about a former inmate of the Winthrop Asylum for the Criminally Insane, Arthur Caroll. Caroll works for an “organization” that employs him to ‘take care’ of certain people. The plot should be divulged no further. The story slowly builds pace only to lead to payoffs that set up a larger story. And at the heart of that is its movie-like style. “We try to use the panels to convey pacing that fits the mood,” says Stiffler. “So a quiet scene might involve the fewest panels per page, whereas an action scene will likely have lots of panels to replicate fast-paced ‘cuts’ from one motion to the next”, Stiffler further elaborates. The result is not too easy on purists, but keeps everyone else glued.

Each page they work on takes between two to three days to produce with the responsibilities shared between Stiffler and Copeland. The process begins with a detailed script followed by an organic development of the panels and then the digital inking, colouring and finally dialogue. In such a collaborative work there are debates aplenty over the direction of the comic’s development. However, both creators argue on the merits of how their choices would benefit the comic and they eventually settle on something they both agree to.

Drawing from an eclectic range of art for inspiration, FindChaos ultimately stands out due to the effort made by its creators who are lifelong comic fans and wanted to create something uniquely their own. Sharing it for free, as they want everybody to read it, they have seen their hard work pay off as they have now reached a point where their comics are supporting them.

More so, they have developed a comic based on their life, named ChaosLife, that “keeps our perspective on FindChaos focused and eliminates the temptation to tamper with its overall “feel”, says Stiffler. The second comic has not affected their productivity as one might assume, but merely given them the opportunity to play around with different styles and humour.

The duo have also been featured in a couple of comic anthologies this year, including Smut Peddler 2014, the Beyond Anthology, and Blood Root Issue #2, which has kept them busy. Soon to be printed is their educational comic, Lesbians 101, and following that they work on creating short story comics, like the ones collected in their e-book Three Horrors.

Readers of FindChaos have to strap in for the long ride as the end is still “a few years down the road”. The grand scope of FindChaos includes its readers emotionally investing with the characters, while the creators presumably cackle maniacally and pull a George RR Martin. The one thing that they guarantee is a story that isn’t extended past its limits. Stiffler was quoted as saying that the “the plot points and their conclusions are already written, it’s just a matter of the journey there.” And it looks like the journey is going to be worth it.

by Shombuddha Majumdar
Shom here is yet another Bengali who believes that writing will provide him with a livelihood. The boy with a sense of humour and brains to match, this Bengali (not so secretly) hopes to become a filmmaker someday.