Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Autobiographical - Lait - Grant McLaughlin

I worked in France the summer of 2009 giving tours of the Juno Beach Centre (the only Canadian World War 2 museum in France!). Imagine this page comes from the retelling of that summer. It would be near my initial arrival.

I don't know who I could possibly sucker in to drawing an autobiographical comic about me, but since I'm limited only by my imagination here, I choose to imagine it as being done by Yuko of Johnny Wander fame, because she's hyper-talented and her easy-going style is something I think would work well with my story (at least this page of it).

Three rows of panels.  First two rows each have three panels.  The last row is a single panel spanning the page.

1 – A stereotypical “cartoony” farm. Grant stands next to a cow, giving it a big ol' hug. There's a heart above his head. The cow looks appreciative of the gesture. In the background there's a barn, fence, and other farm-related things.

CAPTION: I am a man who likes his milk.

2 – Five 4-litre bags of milk (Yeah, we have bags of milk in parts of Canada.  I don't want to talk about it.). Four of the bags are circled in what looks like crayon, with a big “MINE” written nearby with an arrow pointing towards the circle. The first caption is towards the top of the page; the second caption is near the bottom.

CAPTION (1): At the time, my household was in the habit of buying 20 litres of milk a week.


CAPTION (2): I would usually drink at least 16 of those.

3 – Grant stands in a grocery store looking up at a huge display (that is currently off-panel). The size of the display casts a large shadow that dwarfs and covers Grant. Some aisles can be visible in the background, if deemed necessary. Some passing grocery shoppers, wondering what the heck Grant is so worked up about, can also be passing by, if desired.

CAPTION: So image my surprise when I arrived in France to find grocery store milk not in a fridge--

4 – Switch to a shot from behind Grant. He continues to stare at (what's revealed to be) a huge shelf full of tetrapaks (like this, except it's regular milk and not soy) .

CAPTION: But in tetrapaks.

5 – Go back to that farm scene from panel 1, but instead of Grant, we have Louis Pasteur standing next to a cow. He looks confused and is shrugging his shoulders. The cow has its back turned to him and looks standoffish.

CAPTION: Indeed, it turns out that even though their fellow countryman, Louis Pasteur, invented the thing, the French are not terribly keen on pasteurization.

6 - Grant holds a tetrapak in his hand (if further reference is needed, it's pretty much the same size of those rectangular 1 litre juice containers).  Grant wears an expression of infinite woe on his face.

CAPTION (1): Instead, they're under the impression that it is way better to boil their milk at an ultra high temperature in excess of 135°C for around 1 – 2 seconds and then to leave it outside of any type of refrigeration whatsoever.

CAPTION (2): In tetrapaks.

7 – Shot of Grant on his knees, arms raised up to the heavens in frustration. The classic “Why, God, why?!” pose.  The caption begins at the top of the panel, and along the bottom (on both sides of Grant) "IT'S THE WORST" is drawn in the same crayon style as before.

CAPTION: Believe me when I tell you --



  1. Heh.

    This is a good page. Nice break from the usual style and you inject a lot of humour into the narrative (and script) too.

    Good work!

  2. I had begun to wonder if everyone would be doing writing-based pages or if we'd get something different from someone. Glad to see someone managed to switch things up. :-)

  3. I love this page Grant. It has a wonderful tone and honesty to it. You put a wonderful and truly personal experience on the page, that captures the humor of the moment perfectly. I like how it is a step outside of what you normally do with its odd little visuals but they work so well in this piece.

  4. DUDE!!! I am in full agreement with you! Here in Paraguay we've got the same situation. With all the brown-outs we have down here, you either buy your refrigerateds daily, or you stock up on tetras. With 2 kids, we go tetra. The boys grew up on it, so they don't mind. And it's pretty good mixed in a strong cup of coffee. But oh lordy lord is it awful in a bowl of Frosted Flakes. Great page, and my lactal sympathies...

  5. An ode to milk. Surely a first for thoughtballoons.

  6. @Ryan - If I have my way, it won't be the last.


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