TOA Chronology

Yesterday I’ve mentioned TOA (Tide Of Avalance, in case you didn’t figure out) all of a sudden. For anyone who don’t know anything about it (*sigh* that is EVERYONE… well, except maybe Justin, since I did talk about it for 5 seconds during a casual lunch talk) I think I owe everyone an explaination of what this doo-do is and why I make such a fuss about it.

I’ve probably never mentioned it since for the last school year, I’ve basically put myself in “severe depression” mode, which effectively supress any knowledge I have about this old webcomic of mine. Now that I’m in “enamored” mode again (albeit only for a short while, I wager), TOA seems to be the first natural thing to come out of my head again.

Ahh, I should talk about the picture first~

Vonica, JS Comical! Character Page, 1997
This is obviously a composite picture of the same character from four different time periods. The first one was my first rendition of Vonica (as she was known back then), dated all the way back to… 1997! I was off by a year in my memory, but file update times do not lie. Like I said, although I obviously sucked at drawing back then, the internet was such a contained community that it’s actually possible to find my page via Yahoo! or other major search engines (I actually bothered to subscribe to them).

I had the longest run of this comic back then, as I had plenty of free time and naive enough to believe that I’m actually a “good” artist. I’m also empowered by the fact that I had a drawing tablet, so the comics came out weekly for a run of about 26 pages, 3 chapters worth of comics. Then I don’t know, must have been school or something, I’ve basically stopped all of a sudden.

I also mentioned this sometime (IRL) before, but originally Vonica was the main character’s (known as John back then) love interest. Because she was absent in the comic for a good two chapters, natural love sort of grew between Rose and John, who spent the next two chapters together… sadly, that makes Rose my favorite character over Vonica. In certain aspects she’s such a deeper character, both in terms of story content and personality.

Vonica, “ISLAM” Character Page, 1999
Years later, I reestablished my home at a free and ad free hosting service, redrival.com. I tried to revive the comic, and since there’s only one comic (unlike my original vision of running several comics on the same site), the entire site was aptly renamed “ISLAM” (which had nothing to do with the Islamic religion… I wasn’t even aware that such a religion existed back then. Actually, I’m frightful that people found my page in the past because they search for stuff related to the Islamic religion.. now that would be funny)

All in all, I redone the interface, rebuilt the story and character page, and had a run for a total of… about 6 strips? I tried to continue the storyline that I already had, but by this time my fear for lack of perfection is already sinking in. I started comparing myself to the few webcomics that I know, and found myself direly lacking in terms of quality (art and story)… so fearing that my 1997 strips are terribly outdated, I couldn’t bear to go on with the newer strips, so I simply dropped the matter and let it die.

Veronica, Tide Of Avalance Story Description Page, 2000
A year later I started college at OCC, and I also took my first life drawing class. Seeing that drawing the comic would greatly improve my drawing abilities (I also rebuilt some confidence in drawing), I’ve decided to renew the interface of the page, AGAIN. Now that I’m a little bit more knowledgable about the world (this is around the time when I started scouring the four corners of the internet for useless trivia info), the first order of business was to rename ISLAM into Tide of Avalance. I wanted the title to carry the feeling of being “far away”, but didn’t want the religious ties, so after watching Prince of Tides, I chose the name naturally.

In order to cover up the lack of quality in the early pages, I refurbished the rest of the site so there’s some updated recap for the earlier chapters in case anyone wanted to skip (because it does look really bad) and just read the newer pages. This scene, where the sun is setting in the prison camp and Veronica kissed John (still named John then) before the two parted ways to their end of destiny. Despite best photoshop efforts, I didn’t like how the picture turned out; for some reason the two looked like Disney characters…

Obviously, this run doesn’t go for long either. Not so much a fear of quality, but the fact that now I have more requirement to be filled on my pages, I found my layout skill lacking and so it usually takes more than a week just to get one page done. So the schedule slipped, from weekly to bi-weekly to the infamous id quote “It’s done when it’s done”, which means it’s basically never done.

Veronica, Keenspace Tide Of Avalance Main Menu Background, 2002
Shortly after I transferred to UCI, I was having plenty of free time and my enamored mode struck again, so I’ve decided to give it one more try on Keenspace, since that means I will have a regular audience and maybe that’ll push me to get works done weekly. I also redesigned a lot of characters at this time, since now I started collecting artbooks and changed my philosopy from “not reading other comics to keep my imagination ‘pure'” to “read everything you can find to boarden your base knowledge”. Unfortunately, I’ve made two fatal mistakes: 1) that the page will be shaded with digital cels, which takes FOREVER, and 2) that I’ll restart the story, which makes me lose all momentum since I feel like repeating myself again when I draw, so well, that lasted for 2 pages, no more. But I’m really, really happy with the results… those are like, quality that I can always go back and be happy with. Oh well.

I’m tempted to get it started AGAIN…

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