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About The Comic

Moose River is a daily web comic by me. It follows the “adventures” of a few Moose River localites; Avery Mann, who recently moved to Moose River for college, Anne Amoureux, who was born and raised there, Shea Marerra, Anne’s best friend, and Emo Kim, the token emo boy. Many more characters are due to show up.

While working on Moose River #0 early in 2004, I kicked around an idea for a regular online comic involving Moose River-related stories. I wanted to do something a bit more complicated than merely narration with pictures, but I never had the oppurtunity or will to do something like this. After the 2004 San Diego Comic Con, I started work on Moose River (then called Moose River Regular), but I quickly lost interest and became discouraged. One year later though, mostly after a period of self evaluation and preproduction, I gave the story another go.

Now, traditionally, the overall Moose River concept has never really been anything I put much thought into; the mini-comic stories were simply whatever came natrually from my head. Moose River (the series) is of no exception; it merely pits many of my long time everyman/everywoman characters in an actual, narrative story. Only this time there is an actual beginning, middle and end to this story, and there is a more dramedy aim to it. Kinda like a Wes Anderson film.

Unlike in The Simpsons where Springfield is a very ambiguous town, I decided to simply rewrite reality to fit Moose River in. The city of Moose River is a suburb in Tuolumne County, California. Unlike the real Tuolumne County (with a population of 55,000), my Tuolumne County is a large metropolitan area of around 10 million people. Most of its size was growth during and after the 1848 Gold Rush. The city of Moose River itself is a relatively small town about 15 minutes away from downtown Sonora (the largest city in the area). Despite the fact that it is home to one of the largest state colleges in California, Moose River still has that “small town” feel. Things never change, and people are more closed off to the rest of the world than you would be living in downtown Sonora. It’s a quaint town, but it’s not without it’s issues.

The world of Moose River itself is slightly different from reality. This world represents a more idealized representation of California and the United States of America. Some of the more significant changes include a far greater American-Indian presence (there are about 65 million living in the nation with a number of them being regular characters in the story), Americans landing on Mars in the 1980’s (as there was no Vietnam War to divert money from the space program), and trains having a greater impact on modern life than airplanes. However, these differences do absolutely nothing to move the story, and can easily be ignored without forcing you to miss any of the important details. I figure though that if I’m gonna write some realistic-fiction, I might as well have fun with the fiction part of it… it does help pepper up the story a bit.

Orignally I had intended to write a journal comic entitled Sometimes I Think It’s All Just A Dream…, but I felt that it was a very egocentric thing for me to do and one that gave me little creative freedom. A retelling of my experiences verbatim is not fun for me to do. Rearraging the events of my life, however, is much more entertaining for me to write about. So basically, very little about the overall Moose River concept (and Moose River the series especailly) is something I made up from scratch. Most of the story based on my own experiences, with the rest of it being observations I have of other people’s lives and of life itself. No single character in Moose River is based on any single person, and there certainly is no one specifically based on me. They are instead a selected reconstruction of everyone I’ve ever known (including myself). By chopping them up into pieces and rebuilding new people out of those pieces, I can guarentee that even the worst characters in Moose River have bits and pieces of me and my friends in them, and also allows the reader to connect with those worst characters, whether they like it or not.

Basically Moose River is a journal comic without being a “journal comic”.

I think one of the biggest flaws of many webcomics is that their writers set their archives in stone and won’t allow themselves to edit them, which in turn forces them to work with any mistakes or continuity errors that exist in previous pages. I’ve always felt that was a bad idea to fall into with Moose River, so since day one I’ve allowed myself to edit my archives as I see fit. I actually have done so many times, between minor tweaks in the dialogue all the way up to the removal of entire pages. I mean, I’d rather just spend the five minutes to rewrite a bad line than to spend three pages explaining why that bad line exists. Now if I didn’t update my archives as much as I do, Moose River would have been ruined a looooong time ago; it would all look like this as opposed to what it currently looks like. This kind of revision won’t end until the current Moose River series is over, so don’t be surprized if a comic you remember doesn’t exist any more, or if there is a comic #045.5 or something.

Moose River
Philippe Van Lieu
--Reborn September 4th, 2005--

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