The idea here was to have a comic about being tired. Originally, it starred our two protagonists having a conversation about whether or not a certain character should be getting more sleep — something I’ve been forced to give consideration to. It turns out that, now, when I stay awake for more than 24 hours, I get a migraine somewhere in my sleep.

So what we came up with was a conversation that takes place in a dream; then consideration but dismissal; and then reality: the consequence of I guess not getting enough sleep in the first place. You can see all of that in this comic, but the way it plays out is a lot different than where we started, and I think how the two ideas came to be, and how similar they are despite being totally different is pretty interesting:

Having the conversation between the two characters made whether or not the first panel was a dream ambiguous. I thought a good way to fix that was to have it take place in an apartment, and then have the last panel be character getting hit by an invisible car — surprise, he was on a street the entire time — which would be a good consequence of being in a black out state, but trying to be awake anyway.

Unfortunately, someone being inexplicably hit by an invisible car is also pretty damn ambiguous. It would have made for a good visual gag, I think, but if it doesn’t make sense, then it doesn’t matter how good it looks. So, ok, instead of taking place in an apartment, it could take place on the street. Being hit by a visible car and a person being on the street in panels prior to that would solve panel three’s ambiguity, but then we’d have it back in panel one. So, ok, again, what if the character is talking to themself instead? That should imply that something isn’t right, and if that hallucination isn’t around in the other panels then it should be clear that it was a hallucination.

So, great, that pretty much solves everything, but then, with the comic working, I was able to scrutinize the the last bit, and it seemed pretty inconsequential. Sure, you’re more likely to get hit by a car if you’re walking on a street while you’re black out tired, but wouldn’t it be better if character had actually done something and then was suffering the consequence of that? So, with getting hit by a car in mind, I thought what if they were driving the car? Then you could have the beat be something like: Conversation with self. Coming out of blacking out, but being fine. Then not being fine.

In publishing this comic I think it might need a fourth panel. Something that shows the consequence of not being able to drive, which feels a little too much like a set up and less like a punchline. Then we’d just have to figure out if it would be funnier to survive or to be in a wreck or to further pull back from a dream. I’d say it’s great to leave that to the audience, but I don’t think anyone reads a gag comic looking to make up the gag themself.