#818 – home

By far the most well-known OP installment of all time, this one went semi-viral and drew a lot of new people to the series. It's one of those dozen moments in 1000+ where a strip means something to people out of context - which is not to say that I meant it to. Again - not to be that bitch - context is everything to me, I just don't create things with a stand-alone meaning in mind. I'm not an illustrator or a lyrical poet - my heart just isn't in it. I learned long ago my work will never reach the masses. I like to build structures that are open but imposing.

Mike Holmes did a good half of the pencils in this sequence - you can probably tell pretty easily which panels are his. They have an incredible depth of space and imagination. Mike and I were living together, and about 2 months out from our wedding. I got it in my head halfway through this story that this scene needed to be made; Mike agreed it needed to be made, and that he would help. It's magic when your person believes in your work, and you believe in theirs, and following what Mike encourages has yet to fail me. Valerie's colors speak for themselves; the variety of palettes drawing the eye from one room to the next gets me every time. The alternating club colors are such an exhilarating detail.

What was I trying to say that made the story so important? This was essentially a goodbye to something, within the chapter but beyond that, too. Jane moves through the energy of youth, the FOMO, the building of dreams, the making-things-happen shit, the TONIGHT'S THE NIGHT shit, all of it a worthless backdrop, an obstacle to her privacy, of which she has little. (Only once, at the ghost of entanglements past, she looks back.) She's searching for love, for validation that love is even a real thing for her, and there's nothing in her life to anchor that belief. She has renounced this church of worship at the glimpse of a new light, faint as it may be. Beyond the energy and chaos of youth, there is more.

21 thoughts on “#818 – home

  1. i think i haven't made it out of that youthful fomo, so really this whole scene just felt like an urban fantasy. like behind each door is another artist collective, another party, another crazy concert, another 3 am acid soaked philosophical soliliquy.

    its like what new york looks like to everyone that wants to move to new york after they finish high school.

    also, this whole sequence feels like the setting to a great music video too.

  2. I'd make a COVID-19 joke but honestly they're not really funny.

    This sequence is New York in your twenties distilled, bottled, and served neat in a beautiful glass … very much including the last three panels.

    1. PS: I love so, so much the way you captured Jane shedding her coat without stopping her forward progress.

  3. I bought one of the originals of this page a few years ago at SPX. I know its not the context of the page but I chose the scene where Jane is climbing the ladder to the roof because it was the first time I felt that I could actually make my stories and put them into the world.

    1. I also got original art from this at SPX! Specifically panels 18-20, in the club. I kinda remember sharing this page on Facebook when it was first posted, saying "Meredith Gran is KILLING IT right now". It was exciting to see how far it'd come and where it was going to go.

      For reasons, I got complicated, resentful feelings about my twenties – stuff like this makes me nostalgic for something I never had, nor ever will.

      But I suppose it's a matter of perspective – surely there's somebody who had a tumultuous 20's who would've loved to have been cooped up with computer games all the time, like I did.

      I try to remind myself to not spend my 30's mourning my 20's.
      But fuck, man.

      1. I developed a chronic illness in college. It didn't get diagnosed until my 30s. I kept hoping I would recover from this mystery fatigue via diet, rest, healthy living, naturopathic cures, Western medicine–but I didn't. And my dreams for my 20s–travel, career, etc–died.

        So I have the nostalgia too. And I try to grieve without letting it overshadow what I *can* have. But yeah, it's fucking hard.

  4. There's something about this page… That everytime I've gone back to read it I swear I can hear the sounds- from the quiet rooftop to the roar of the concert. I'm not sure how much of it is rooted in reality (having never visited NY) but to me it settles comfortably in between fantasy and realism.

  5. The web format does so much for this page. I remember when it first posted flipping idly through it when the fact that it was still happening hit me over and over again. It becomes impressive and overwhelming, and I can't think of another format that would let it surprise you with how it unfolds except for being online to be scrolled through.

  6. Oooh. Sorry Jackie, looks like you're still not on Jane's radar.

    1. I went back and looked through each panel for Jackie and didn't see her (or previous incarnation)! Which panel is she in??

  7. I've been so lucky as to have experienced a place almost exactly like this building (minus the pool and the apartments), and this page resonates deeply with me – particularly as an adult looking back. As memories grow distant, I feel more and more like I was a full participant, even though I know that at the time I felt just as lonely and detached as Jane appears here. What's it like, to be other people?

  8. Not living in the US, this strip made me wonder just how many living spaces in New York were squashed in at the back of a building also hosting 5 different public venues and several collectives. Some, I assume.

  9. Yep, here we are, my favorite page of the whole comic, the moment where the see-saw between urban drama and surrealist comedy melded finally at the middle in full, wondrous magical realism.

  10. Who is the woman who catches Jane's eye? She looks familiar from something.

    1. my dreams

  11. I revisit this page every once in a while because I always like imagining a tracking shot for panel 6 onward, the Doppler effect from moving through so much noise, and all sound and music abruptly cutting off with the door slamming shut only to resume after the doorknob falls off.

  12. On top of all the superlatives from others, I have but one question:

    Is anyone else thinking of the opening from Get Smart?

  13. Oh nice, Jackie cameo in panel 18, didn't catch that one the first time around.

    1. Nah that's not meant to be her – it's another character named Clarity who reappears in the next story.

  14. Without context this is a nice visualization of something like the fantasy of the Matrix's Zion, or your Fully Automated Luxury Gay Space Communist utopia, and you're certainly allowed to be unhappy and over the scene there.

    Drop the drugs and the youthful stupidity and it's nice to be in a place with a lot of activity. I'd pick a mix of more industry and less partying. People used to live and work in much closer social spaces and I think one of the many alienations of modern rationalized capitalist life is how extremely discrete each social activity and it's space — work, family, play — is.

  15. I used to live in a home or 2 like this.

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