*arrives two days late with Starbucks*
I happened to be at the point in the update where these two spreads (this one and the next) had to undergo a HUGE and SUDDEN revision. So it took a lot more time for me to redesign the layout for this spread, but it’s worth it in the end. This is, imo, the strongest visual reference to minyatur in the entire chaplette so far.
Now for the fun footnotes:
- DONDURMA!!! Turkish ice cream! Unlike its Western counterpart, dondurma is elastic, doesn’t melt (except in your mouth), and is super awesome. It gets its unique character from its two key ingredients – salep (a flour made out of orchids) and mastic (arabic gum). I’d personally compare it to an ice cream cake but with the consistency of chewing gum. Or would taffy be more accurate?
- I initially wanted the dondurma sequence to pan out like this:
I wanted so desperately to have this happen in this spread. I really did. I was ready to sacrifice historical accuracy (wafer cones weren’t invented until the 1900s) just to have Zeynel getting teased and eating ice cream like this. But alas, I settled on a more traditionally appropriate way of eating dondurma – instead of in a cone, it’s cut up into pieces like a cake, and sprinkled with nuts (pistachio, almonds, etc) and fruits and dates.
- Yes the ice cream man in the comic looks like the uncle in the video. Shoutout to him.
- Pointing with the index finger is rude. Pointing with the thumb though is politer, and is the only visually efficient way I could depict polite pointing for that panel. Other alternatives, like pointing with the gaze, head tilt, brow movement, lips, etc, don’t work as well or in comics in general.
- It was fun drawing the swallows. They remind me of old Kuala Lumpur – swallows love building their nests in the crevices of old/wooden houses (I never see them live in modern buildings), and I see groups of them fly out every evening whenever I pass through the old streets. So swallows to me symbolise nostalgia and history. Which is what I wanted to do here, I guess.
- The depiction of historical nostalgia is a complex feeling for me. I love history, but I don’t agree with romanticising and cherrypicking parts of it, especially when it’s for the purpose of propaganda (‘the good old days’, which is a fantasy), and when it erases the dirt, the messiness and the complexity that made every era. At the same time, I am also bothered by the lack of appreciation, and huge disregard for our cultural heritage, under capitalism and modernity. I keep seeing historical monuments (200 years old churches, temples, colonial mansions, hotels, etc) demolished without public consent to be replaced by yet another soulless 70 storey, mostly unoccupied, expensive, and boring steel and glass monolith. The heritage situation in Malaysia is absolutely garbage, and what with the recent destruction of precious ancient monuments near the cradle of civilisation, I’ve turned emotionally attached to any historical piece left regardless of country.
- Still though, in my exploration and escape to nostalgia I’m not interested in glorifying a fantastic portrayal, and worst, presenting that portrayal as entirely truthful. In this case, Ottoman Istanbul is simply Ottoman Istanbul, and in every other case, Victorian England is simply Victorian England. It’s beautiful, yes, but it’s only just a time/place that ordinary people lived in. Which also means it’s horrible.
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The only thing I enjoy more than your comic friend, is the god level of background knowledge and study that goes into it. Also as regards the ice cream SMOL SON DESERVES TO BE BOOPED WITH GOOD ICE CREAM ALWAYS and now I’m tempted to brave the tomfoolery of the Turkish ice cream vendors in Bukit Bintang just to finally try it.