This was probably my favorite chapter so far, but also the one that made me realize that doing this story in comic form is incredibly unwieldy.
I love the round panels and space background, I wouldn’t change them for anything, but good God do round panels have bad packing efficiency. This chapter also probably had the most moving parts and subplots- Pak Parang’s social divide, The Boys expositing about their childhoods, Farouz and Ixkatli’s fraught former relationship- I love biased exposition, but it started to get too much even for me. This would have been better served by a novel format, maybe lightly illustrated, where the plot doesn’t have to move at a glacial weekly pace.
After finishing up this chapter, my motivation to make any more comic pages cratered and never returned. I have general ideas for the remaining chapters, but only vague ones; I can’t summon up the will to make detailed scripts or even outlines. Still, I want to post what ideas and sketches I do have, since I think it’s worth it to show them off to the world, and give a sense of Parhelion’s planned finale.
But if I couldn’t do that, I kind of like the idea of this as the story’s end: The Boys are off on an unknown path that makes a mockery of both their jobs. The story’s focus has shifted to the locals, dealing with their own issues.
I’ve had some pretty sustained artblock, along with entering grad school and some other things weighing on me, and I’m not sure exactly what I’ll do from here. There’s a giant Parhelion-shaped hole in my heart, and I’ve made some stabs at a sci-fi setting that’s transparently just Also Parhelion. I’m trying to accept that I can just make standalone pieces that aren’t tied into a grand overarching project, or take a break altogether. There’s an overall feeling of being locked out of a big source of entertainment and self-worth. Things in the rest of my life are generally going well, but this still really stings.
I’m optimistic about future work, and I’ll keep myself open to entirely new opportunities. Maybe the next creatively-fulfilling thing I do will be unlike anything I’ve done before.
Once again, thank you to everyone who read Parhelion, shared it, drew fanart, made shitposts, encouraged my good ideas and deflected my bad ones, and everything else. I don’t think the past four years were a waste of time. This is exactly the kind of grandiose project that every artist has to make, and considering I dove in at 19 with no firm plan or comic-making experience, I’m immensely proud of how far it went.