Zoe Olwen O’Byrne, or Zoe the Vampire is an 18 year old high school senior. Till this point her best friend Damien and her have been inseparable, but as sexual tension increased their friendship derailed. They love each other, but that love is held at bay by their differing sexual desires. Since losing her virginity to her recently returned friend Caleb, Zoe has set her sights on experiencing as much as possible whether it be with her boyfriend, with Damien and a random girl in a game store, or some senior citizen she accidentally sent a revealing pic of her own mother to. Zoe is sex crazed and in need of a good staking, to her anyone will do. Damien, on the other hand, is much more conservative when it comes to sex, wanting a standard monogamous relationship and sex that doesn’t go into any new frontiers. Can they find a happy medium where Damien can rein in Zoe while still satisfying her wild desires? Or are they cursed?
Zoe The Vampire is a story centered around a young girl who likes to pretend she is a vampire. She does this as a coping mechanism to the fear of her own mortality. The story centers on her sexual exploits/exploration and how that conflicts with the other thing she wants, a life with her friend Damien. This conflict is at the core of what this comic is, it will often pass into the realm of hardcore pornography but this is meant to be icing on the cake rather than the central focus. That focus is reserved for the theme of compromise, she wants Damien but also wants to experience sexual things he can’t give, like lesbian sex, or won’t consent to, like anal sex. As the story progresses will Damien try to amend his narrow views on sex? Will Zoe give up some of her desires? Will the two find a middle ground that they can both be happy with or will this only drive them apart.
The comic is told in vignettes, and each “arc” is a self contained story that, when combined with every other story, tells a much larger story. As many readers don’t understand this and instead take offense at the lack of transitions, I will illustrate. To understand what I am doing, think of each arc as a single page in a Sunday paper. This was easier for readers in the early days of doing this comic as I posted by the arc as opposed to posting weekly. But…
Each page in an arc directly goes with the other pages in that arc. The arc is signified by the first number in the title ex. Zoe 12-1, the 12 is the arc, the 1 being the page within that story. When an arc ends that is the end of that story and the next story, while chronologically taking place AFTER previous arcs, isn’t a direct continuation. Time, sometimes only hours sometimes weeks, will have taken place prior to this story starting. It is designed to be snippets of note from her life that combine to tell the overarching story of a girls adventures and stumbles in her journey of love. What is contained in the arc is what I deem to be relevant to the overall progression of the main story and may end in the middle of action if that best serves the story. Due to the way the comic updates I try to make each page hold up with its own beginning/middle/end so that each page can, hopefully, be held up on its own merits. I don’t claim to be a funny person so not every joke will strike home but my goal is if at least 1 joke works per arc then it wasn’t completely futile to add humor to this story. I feel the humor is important to keep it from becoming melodramatic.
I strive to tell a compelling story, mixing both slice of life and gag strip elements within the confines of the vignette format. Due to this the comic isn’t meant to be read like a standard comic and if that is something you take issue with then this probably isn’t the comic for you. I Don’t claim to be a professional in art or writing and use this comic as both an outlet and as a form of practice to hone my skills and develop my style further. Even with this being a form of experimentation there is some set plot points that it will lead towards as this story has already been told, mostly, so while some aspects may alter from past iterations of the comic it is still leading towards the same conclusion. With that said the story is not rigid and will unfold organically from page to page, arc to arc with sudden changes in direction as I adapt the story to fit my moment to moment mood. I do this as a way to keep things fresh and keep my interest in the story. A bit of spontaneity between arcs keeps me invested so that I can maintain enough interest to invest the 10-20 hours a week it takes to do this comic.
YOU MENTION ZOE STUFF THAT SEEMS TO NOT BE HERE
Yes, as a project that I have been working on for many years it has gone through a couple reboots. Originally it was a series of 5 short comics that I intended to enter in a comic competition way back in 2008. When graduating college I learned how easy it was to make a website without any programming knowledge so I brought the comic out of my file cabinet and set about telling it in full. The original comic lasted 16 arcs, as well as had a few extra ones that were more mature and not featured on the site. Originally I released the comic as a family friendly affair leaving out the sex and conflicts in Zoe’s life and just emphasizing the happy carefree moments. I did this to call attention to Zoe’s personality, that she keeps herself in those moments and tries to gloss over those moments that are less happy. I continued this into the followups Carefree- Zoe losing her virginity which I chose to take place later and with Damien as I still didn’t want any conflict to be the focal point. Secret Friends- a story of Zoe cheating on Damien while pregnant focused on the awkward and uncomfortable side of experimentation as well as the shame in the aftermath. Here is where I started to open up to the idea of showing the full idea rather than just the happy moments. I then followed it up with a sequel/reboot titled Zoe Returns- in this comic it dealt with a pregnant Zoe and her growth as a person and moving into becoming a mother. Here I still didn’t fully commit to showing the full story and glossed over the relationship issues between Zoe and Damien, in the current comic I am fully committed to the conflict that arises internally and externally within Zoe’s relationships. Prior to what comes up on the site there was also 12 more arcs that preceded the first arc on the site. I chose to remove it all to better focus on the conflict. The first 12 arcs mostly dealt with Zoe and Damien being in a limbo state of “more than friends” and the conflict that arises as Zoe learns that Damien isn’t the only thing she wants.
WILL I LOVE MY BULLY EVER COME BACK?
Never say never, nothing that ends prematurely here is dead. My comics end for many reasons but top of the list is my fears that my art chops won’t be up to doing the comic justice. This is a major reason ILMB is on hiatus. I really am weak at backgrounds and getting realistic perspective. ILMB will return in a destroyed cityscape much like the world of fallout or Mad Max (with a bit less desert). I don’t feel I can portray the world they’ll inhabit well at this time and am hoping that my natural art progression will eventually allow me to tackle it head on or that I find a way to “cheat” like with the still unreleased game Dreams which I hope to be able to use to streamline a lot of the more frustrating things about drawing.