I actually decided to try and draw this for two basic reasons.
Firstly, I had a dream that I was reading a cartoon called Neverwhere, clearly inspired by Neil Gaiman. I have since read the actual Neverwhere, which, to my great reassurance, is nothing like my idea; in my dream the cartoon was visually quite a lot like Sandman, and had London Underground based concepts. The idea was based around the cartoonist -- he was stuck in a drafting job he didn't like, and drew cartoons based on his dreams. He had a girlfriend who didn't know about the cartoons and in a couple of panels he had to invent a hasty lie to explain some notes for one that she'd found.
When I awoke I liked this idea so much -- a dream-based cartoon with a first-person narrator who also had the dreams he narrated and "drew" them -- that I decided to expunge such Gaimaneity as I could find and do it myself. After all, if I dream a person and that person creates something, is it really plagiarism if I use it? Or, perhaps, should I regard my rôle as somewhat more like a publisher's, conveying my creation's creations to the world?
Do we owe the sacred image of an unwavering band of light that makes up our awareness to Kurt Vonnegut, the author, or to Rabo Karabekian, the character in Vonnegut's book?
Karabekian saved Vonnegut from his cynicism. Maybe my characters can do the same for me.
The second reason is that I had seen a series of cartoons by Ursula Vernon about a Chupcabara who explored all the night-terrors of her dream world. This reminded me of a (surprisingly recurring) villain of my own dreams -- the flying hairdryer. I used to get terrible nightmares about being chased by flying hairdryers -- these genuinely frightened me, and I eventually ended up drawing a cartoon about them. These and a number of other dreams convinced me I had enough wacky subconscious things going on to fuel an epic.
Add to this my longstanding fascination with dreams -- a favourite book is Ursula LeGuin's The Lathe Of Heaven -- and it was irresistible. Plus the Ursula link was too cool to ignore.
The narrator is a hybrid. Visually, I am borrowing heavily from a number of characters: Zonker Harris from Doonesbury, my own visualization of George Orr from The Lathe Of Heaven, and Synthesizer Bob, a bearded hippie character I liked but hadn't really got a plot for until now.
The narrator's character is similarly hybrid. For example, all of his dreams are based very heavily on my own -- sometimes I have condensed themes together, but virtually all the ideas I am planning to use are tarted-up versions of dreams I have actually had.
Conversely, the narrator's life is quite unlike my own. He feels a similar sense of dissatisfaction and desire to generate, to create, but he has a wife, a job he quite likes and several other things I borrowed from the cartoon strip in my dream. In a sense, his reality is the same as the reality of his drawings -- he belongs in my dream.
As yet, she has little to do with the strip. However, because I'm a soppy old fool at heart, I strongly suspect she will come to play quite a large part in the narratives. In particular, I see her getting into the dream-world at some point midway through the story.
Visually, she will probably be a composite of girls I find attractive. If you see your own characteristics in there, it's probably best to run. As yet, she is largely undefined.
After so many years, I couldn't leave them behind. Besides being anthropomorphic household appliances, they're evil. They are the perfect villains.
Big Bad Bully is the head honcho of the huffing hairdryers -- unfeasibly large, like those absurd guns you get in fantasy art, he has a superiority complex. Based on easily the most terrifying hairdryer dream I ever had at about the age of five, he has since evolved as a character. He has always been arrogant and cruel, but some insecurity has crept in there recently ... he goes by the soubriquet of The Most Powerful Hairdryer In The World.
Big Bad Bully has made the odd appearance in other cartoons ... my brother set me a challenge to draw a political cartoon involving him a few months back, and I sketched a few ideas based on my political preoccupations.
Based on a surreal sequence where a woman was singing to "Beautiful, beautiful Bluster" in another dream, Bluster is a conceited, pompous buffoon. Not as evil as Big Bad Bully -- something like an ageing colonel.
This one needs some explanation. When I was about six I had a dream which, near the end, involved my eating dinner from two eggcups. The first contained stew, the second, trifle. I couldn't eat the trifle until I'd eaten the stew (there may have been a dinner-lady there to enforce this, although I really can't remember) so I dug my teaspoon in. Out came a hippopotamus -- a hippopotamus, moreover, enraged by the thought that I had been about to eat him. So he ate me instead -- resting when he reached my waist, and then rejoining with a cry of "ah, now for a really big lunch!"
I awoke around then, but that last line has stayed with me. Our Hippo of the Apocalypse wears the garb of Death, but is far from skeletal. He comes in a hippo bar you can buy from vending machines.
As you all know, Heaven is outside time. At some point, therefore, I intend to have atemporal quantum angels, mentally represented by small, cute bears. Each quantum angel's task is to influence the universe on behalf of God by determining the outcome of a single quantum event. This is only obliquely relevant to the dream, but I've always wanted to have a page where all the panels are out of sequence and where quantum angels give tiny encouragement and all appear to know everything the other angels know without needing to be told ....
I have anxiety dreams where I miss trains. The ways in which I miss them are quite spectacularly varied, but usually I am on one platform, the departure platform is announced to have changed, and I run (usually via a subway) only to see the train pulling out.
In some cases I may chase the train for its entire journey, thus attaining my destination -- but of course, I've missed the train, and therefore am somehow a failure.
A bizarre variant I should mention here is when, mindful of previous dreams, I managed to get to the right platform at the right time in order to catch the right train. As the train arrived, the platform pulled out in the opposite direction.
Sometimes -- especially when ill -- I get dreams which have a very small number of compositional elements. One recent one featured trains and html -- I was designing a web page about trains where the links in between pages were actually trains. This meant that as the pages changed, so did the trains -- meaning the pages had to be changed again. This kind of self-reference is usually present, and makes me wonder if I'm getting to watch my brain optimize itself or something. I will say that these dreams are highly unpleasant and usually grab the random images uppermost in my mind.
These kinds of scenario will be used as semi-abstract connectives in the cartoon.