Moira Zahra

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The League of Extraordinary Underpants!

I've always been haunted by the phrase, "Jack of all trades, Master of None" because it hits pretty close to home. Although I'm an illustrator at heart, I also play the piano, I've tried my hand at filming shorts, editing, special effects, animation, graphic design and what have you. Given the opportunity to do more, I would. Thing is, society in general makes you feel inadequate about embarking on a variety of creative paths, because we are supposedly experts at one thing and one thing only. That's what makes us experts right? The romanticized idea of a Master is the guitarist who wakes up and plays his guitar until his fingers bleed (Whiplash anyone?), and the artist who never leaves his studio. But what about the rest of us who get bored of doing the same thing over and over again? 

On my nine-hour flight to NYC from Munich I had plenty of time to read 'The Art of Creative Thinking' by Rod Judkins and I came across this...

"The surrealist artist Salvador Dali was featured on an American game show called What's my line?, in which blindfolded celebrity panellists interrogated a 'mystery guest' in order to guess their occupation. The panel posed their questions but became confused almost immediately, as Dali answered 'Yes' to almost every question. They asked him if he was a writer and he answered 'Yes.' It was true; as well as three non-fiction books Dali had written a novel, Hidden Faces. Asked if he was a performer. 'Yes'. He had produced many pieces of performance art. At one point an exasperated panellist exclaimed, "There's nothing this man doesn't do!"

"A creative mind wants to shape the world around it." Dali designed chairs, sofas, directed films, made jewelry, buildings, theatre sets, clothes, textiles and perfume bottles, logos etc... Dali isn't the only artist who has tried his hand at a variety of other creative media, read the book to learn about others! I believe my most successful endeavor so far has been illustration, but why should I stop doing everything else? And whilst I'm no way saying that I'm the next Dali (Lord knows I have a lonnnggg way to go :)) I do think that trying one's hand at other media adds depth to their profession rather than detracts from it.  

When writing 'A Space Boy Dream,' a webcomic that I created with my creative partner & husband, I admit that I was always a little nervous about making my script live to an online audience. I'm not a writer by profession, my English is far from fantastic, and I've always labelled myself as an illustrator. I always thought I would 'get caught' one day and that our readers would figure out that I'm not a pro at writing. Yet, I recalled a memory of myself as a child, writing comics and stories, essays and unfinished books with silly scripts, and I remembered that I love writing! It's a relaxing, reflective creative outlet and a much needed break from drawing all day. So what if my vocabulary isn't as extensive as I'd like it to be? If I don't write, I will never make any progress. Publicizing one's experimental writings might be a harsh way to test one's skills, but it definitely speeds up the learning curve because it puts a lot of pressure on you.

Nonetheless, when Mark (my husband) asked me to write a Superhero comic, I was apprehensive. I respect his drawings too much to test my comic writing on them! Plus, I was never an avid comic reader. I'm more of an internet lurker. I read online web comics, gag comics like XKCD, The Oatmeal, SMBC, Virus Comix and the likes, but these are considerably different from printed superhero comics.

Despite my insecurities, he convinced me, and I have almost finished writing the first part of 'The League of Extraordinary Underpants'. Having recently finished Hemingway's 'The Snows of Kilimanjaro' I had a reasonable dose of manly dialogue to help me through the endeavor. Writing 'TLOEU' has been pretty amusing and I believe our creative process was quite different than the usual. Mark finished the comic draft and wrote a quick script that explains the dialogue in brief. I later revised and edited the script. It's funny how a line of text can change the context of a comic panel completely.

The League of Extraordinary Underpants will be Self-Published this Year! Woohoo! We will be releasing a limited print run so follow us on Facebook for updates :)