Total Immersion

Into the rabbit hole...The Makeshift Miracle appeared on the web 5 years ago today.

I haven’t thought about the strip in years. It, along with Narbonic, was the reason I joined Modern Tales in the first place, and I find it amusing that entirely seperate from the recent debut of the new MT stars, events have conspired to remind me of some of the original ones.

This was a comic that had me checking for updates spastically. This was one of the strips that dragged me along by the toes, desperate to see through the mysteries behind it all, desperate to find out what was going to happen to the characters, desperate for the story at the heart of it.

And, ultimately… it was the strip that I found myself most disappointed by.

I want to make this clear – Makeshift Miracle is a good story. It is an incredible story. It is a powerful story.

But it was not the story that I was looking for. I had built up too many expectations of where it was going, and the fates that befell the characters weren’t the ones I would have chosen. It left me sad and melancholy, which was a vast shock from the enjoyment I had previously found in the strip.

And I think it speaks incredibly well of Jim Zubkavich that he wrote a story that brought about such intense emotional response. That alone is testament to the strength of the story – especially considering it only ran for a year and a half. A remarkably short time to leave its mark – but it did so.

Those who haven’t read the story before should do so. I know, I know, I just said that I found myself personally disappointed by the story. I walked away unhappy, dissatisfied.

But hey – that’s me. I’m just one guy. And there are plenty who walked away entirely fulfilled by the story. But while I can’t say whether you’ll love it or hate it – you won’t walk away bored.

I’m not going to say I like being discontented – that I like being left sad when I wanted to be left happy.

But I’ll take that any day of the week over a tale that doesn’t touch me at all.

7 responses

  1. I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t even know this comic existed until I saw it linked a few days ago on Starslip. I read through the whole archive in a few hours and found it to be one of the best examples of storytelling I’ve seen so far in webcomics (this is helped by the fact it has ended.) As someone who read through it all in one shot, I might not have had the time to develop the same expectations as someone reading it week after week, but I can see where that disappointment comes from.

  2. Yeah, it is all too easy for some of these finished webcomics to pass under the radar, which is a damn shame.

  3. OK, this is exactly what I’m looking for in a webcomic blog. Thanks – Makeshift Miracle is a wonderful comic I’ve never heard of before this.

  4. My job here is done. To the blogmobile, Robin!

    Sorry about that. Got carried away for a moment.

  5. I just read this comic today- it was brilliant, beautiful, every step had a bit of perfection.

    But I think you’re right. It somehow fell short. I expected more of a twisty, complicated Neil Gaimon type story than a story that, once you knew the answers, was about as straight forward as Star Wars. Power, beautiful- beautiful is the one word for it, and it was clever, but it could’ve been more. Still, I’m glad I read it. It was inspiring.

  6. Hi Mr. Myth,

    I read your thoughts on Makeshift and wanted to comment.

    I’m really glad the story grabbed you so fully when it began, even if it didn’t end the way you felt it should. As you said, an emotional response is better than a story that doesn’t grab you at all.

    Makeshift was my awkward attempt to meld the types of stories I love – anime romantic-comedy bits mixed with Sandman, Hayao Miyazaki-esque stuff and a bit of Stand By Me. It doesn’t hold a candle to those stories, but as I said, it was my way of bringing things I liked all together.

    I look at the story now and see pacing problems and character elements I could’ve mined much better, but the story is as it is and I’m proud of the work as a whole. It represents my ideas at that time and helped promote creative growth in me at a crucial period in my life. The other stories I intend to tell down the road will benefit from the trail that Makeshift blazed for me.

    I appreciate your honest thoughts about the story and your nostalgia for it as well.

    All the best,

  7. Jim,

    Thanks for the comments! You definitely have a lot to be proud of in that work, and it definitely provided me many hours of entertainment regardless of anything else.

    I think you definitely did capture an essence of the stories you sought in the work – it is one of the few comics on the web that has a powerfully distinct sense of its own style.

    And if it didn’t work out for me? Well, that may be due to my own little quirks – and it was only possible to reach that point after capturing me so fully from the beginning.

    And whatever stories you end up telling next, I’m certainly going to be looking forward to them.

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