September 25, 2014

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Help Georgia Webber Finish Her Autobiographical Series "DUMB"

A few months a got, I finally got to meet Georgia Webber, the creator of the autobiographical comic series DUMB, which uses one of the terms for people who cannot speak as its title. Right now, Georgia is in the final days of an IndieGoGo campaign to fund as many copies of the final issue as she can.

After being a person who loudly and aggressively used her voice for years, Webber suddenly found herself with a very painful vocal chord injury that left her all but unable to speak. Only by resting her voice completely was she able to save it, and even now, anytime she opens her mouth it's a potential risk.

I had the opportunity to participate in a performance art/lecture from Webber and two other creators (Virginia Paine and Lucy Bellwood) where we were unable to speak until told to do so again, communicating in non-verbal ways and writing notes to each other on paper. It's a very different feeling, and will challenge how you get your feelings across.

For example, when I did it, I found myself unable to interrupt people to talk to them, even if they were alone. One person wrote my wife's name down wrong, then immediately felt mortified. Trying to show someone a new comic was next to impossible--how to hold the art and write about it at the same time?

For us, it was an experiment. For Georgia, it's was her very life.

DUMB is the chronicle of her experiences, which continue to this day. Starting with the moment of her injury and continuing through time, as Georgia learned just how severe the damage was, and how long lasting its effects are. (In fact, she's been frank about the fact that there is likely no permanent recovering forthcoming and that she will have to change her life entirely. After trying to go back to normal, she's now going to have to come to grips with the fact that there is no more normal or rather, that "normal" means something very different now.)

Though I've not completed the series myself, the stories I've read myself are very good. They are unvarnished, showing the bad in stark terms and admitting the very real fears, concerns, and struggles of someone in Georgia's position. They're an excellent chronicle that autobiographical comic fans will definitely enjoy.

Georgia's art style uses stark lines to portray scenes, punctuated by red ink that conveys contrast, either visually or in printed words. It's a great way to mix color into a primarily black and white comic. The layouts can often become experimental, too, such as obscuring word balloons or just blending things across the page.

As of this writing, Georgia is far short of her goal of $5,000 Canadian. Fortunately, it's flexible funding, so she can use whatever she gets to put out a far more limited print run than she did for the opening issues. It'd be great to giver her a boost. You can get digital copies of the first five issues for $10 Canadian, or $20 for the entire set. (That's $2 per issue, so it's less than what you pay for a new comic at Comixology, BTW.) Larger contributions involve physical rewards, including either the first five issues, the next five issues, or all of them together.

Georgia's a great person and a really powerful creator. If you like autobiographical comics, especially ones that deal with circumstances that make them stand out from others in the field, please consider giving to her campaign today. It ends in just five more days, so act fast!

You can fund Georgia's "DUMB" project here.