Match to Flame 198

May 18, 2023

Yet another trick involved creating fantasy sequences depicting Lisa as a superheroine battling her cancer. It allowed me to touch on things like the rigors of chemotherapy from a removed perspective, which made it more palatable to readers. Once again, comic book artist John Byrne stepped in to add his super-heroic touch to these strips. The last remaining hurdle for me was how I was going to depict Lisa’s death. The answer came at a concert. I had been working pretty intensively, so my wife Cathy and I took a break to go hear Apollo’s Fire, a baroque ensemble, at Oberlin College. Near the end of the performance, three dancers came on dressed as harlequins and wearing white-full-faced masks, and I suddenly saw my ending. Using a bit of magical realism, Death would come for Lisa in an otherwise empty white space, wearing a white mask and a tuxedo. Using that conceit, I could now address and depict death directly. I was almost finished.

From the introduction to The Complete Funky Winkerbean Vol. 12

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