The Hurricane grew out of a desire to artistically merge two unrelated subjects: film noir (which dates from the 1940’s) and Zen Buddhism (which, if you count its root forms, is about 2500 years old). Other than my interest in them both, what could they possibly have in common? It was quite a challenge.
Initially I had in mind only two components of the story: an American cinematic image, and an Asian folk tale. The opening image in the story — a private detective taking refuge from a stormy night in a bar — was inspired by film noir. Although I don’t recall that specific image from any of those films, it seems to sum up their atmosphere in general. Also, I’d been pondering the age-old parable of the Burmese Monkey Trap (a tale sometimes used in Buddhist training), and it became the story´s conceptual core and its literal center. It has recently been claimed that there never was such a trap; but even if that’s true, it would make no difference to the inner logic of the story. It is, after all, fiction.
The Hurricane was originally published in print form in 1989, during my long career as a print creative director. By 2001-2002, after additional years as a Web creative director, I decided to put some of my cartoon stories online. For technical reasons, the original drawings didn’t scan well; also, I’d become a better illustrator in the intervening years. So I ended up partially redrawing The Hurricane, and occasionally making minor writing revisions as well. I believe these Web versions are artistically superior to the original printed versions.
Each image in the Web version of The Hurricane was created using a hybrid technique. First, I made a traditional pen & ink drawing. This was scanned into digital form. The drawing was then further developed in a computer painting program, using a wireless electronic “pen” and drawing tablet rather than a mouse. The composition was refined, additional elements introduced, and gray tones and shading added. At every stage of the process, these images were created with Web viewing in mind.
Here’s some of the press response to the original printed version of The Hurricane:
Read all of Lawrence San’s work! He’s got three minis out now, and they’re all winners. The Hurricane is his first step into anthropomorphics, and a good step it is, too. He shows us a world savaged by a killer wind that sweeps away almost everyone who ventures outside any building. It’s an excuse for the characters to wax philosophical in an allegorical story that can be read on several levels. I’m blown away by The Hurricane.
– Comics F/X Magazine
San continues to turn out high-quality minicomics, with… attractive art.
– Factsheet Five
Quite clever. Dream interpretations, soul searching, expressive drawings, and even a bit of humor… Cross Woody Allen with Natalie d’Arbeloff, toss in a pinch of Jim Bricker and a dash of Frank Tashlin, and… you won’t have really come even close. Good try, though.
– Amazing Heroes Magazine
(referring to four stories by San)
Many readers sent notes in response to the original printed version of this story. You’re welcome to contact me about this Web version, or, for that matter, about anything else. And if I never hear from you… thank you for reading my stories.