Inquest of Missing TimeDid you know that the Arabian country of Jordan was home to three different kingdoms during its time! But for the life of me; I can't remember if they were called Edom, Moab, and Ammon, or Dopey, Sleepy, and Grumpy? Maybe my Jordanian mate, Bashar Sawalha, might know? As I did talk to him only the other day about his great-great comic book. You know the one I'm sure. It's a Disney inspired piece, and goes by the name...

Inquest of Missing Time on Amazon

1) What are your own origins, Bashar? Plus what path did you take in life to get to where you are today?   I am originally from Jordan, born and raised there until I was seventeen. On a snowy desert day in 1992, I realized my purpose in life! I was 8 at the time, and whilst a natural disturbance raged outside, inside, I became inspired by the cartoon, Aladdin, and drew all the characters in it. 

However, in the Middle East, as my Dad would say 'Art and cartoons do not feed bread! You should grow up and be a man!'. I know that it doesn't make sense, but it was the reality for Jordan. From that day on I have wanted to give my own characters the gift of life with the godly touch of television light; and have gone chasing it ever since.

After getting caught drawing my own pornographic comics at school, my parents -- who I believe were doing the right thing for their son -- tried muffling these twisted talents. I always kept doodling as my school joined in on the war on art! Attending a strict engineering formula of classes of GCSE and IB, I managed to get to school in Canada for mechanical engineering with no art classes. Then I saw Montreal, an art city that liberated my ideas in art, but Canadian animation was not the commercial reality I was looking for.

So I decided to take the my most important step and moved to Chicago and attended art school, at last, for media arts and animation. As I sat in my first drawing class, my professor asked me 'What is it to be an animator?'. I replied 'Breathing life into characters and control their fate, you are the God that shines the light through the television!'. I guess that is not what an animator was, but that is what I wanted! Writing was the next step, and after dabbling in the business, for a while, trying to make an entrepreneur of myself in production, design, billboard advertising, and media placement.

I would say I am now ready.

2) What inspired you to create your web-comic, ‘Inquest Of Missing Time’?   The comic gets inspiration from many places. It started as a piece of homework -- I was asked to create a storyboard for the 'happy birthday' song (how creative of the school, jeez!). I came up with a bunch of shackled crazy lovable characters that seemed to come from the coo-coo's nest, whom had the Tom and Jerry, Itchy and Scratchy personality, playing with each other as they eagerly waited for the birthday cake!

I could not make sense of the story until I watched Disney’s Dwarves cry over Snow White. They gave me the idea that the characters will be left alone, and it put them into the idiom of mankinds struggle with time -- taken to the extreme.

Researching psychology, I have found out many things that have steered the story. Stories of cannibalism, ironically, led me to preservation of life, immortality, and obscure ideas of ghouls and ghosts and myths about gods such as Gilgamesh.

Inquest of Missing Time
3) In your own words, how would you describe this story?   This story is a twisted way of telling people about the cloud that fogs over our vision everyday! Many of us live day by day trying to push boulders in pursuit of happiness. Many don’t even find what it is when its too late. This is a journey of the things we cherish, moments we share, things we do, the lies we live, and the rumors that surround us. 

Not to undermine our regrets as we are 'Inquest Of Missing Time'; a purgatory in our minds of what we could have done -- breaking free from the womb. They're born into a new world of beginnings, the orphans will hunt what comes naturally to them and hunt for the prey to survive, they will make innocent decisions on how they should control their fate from what they learn from dying words.

4) If your comic was a piece of music or an object, what would it be and why?   I know this sounds like a cliche, but the closest would be Mozart’s 'Requiem' -- it was his message before he left this world, filling it with every emotion he had.


5) If you could cast a movie based on your creation, who would you cast, and again, why?   For the orphans, I would cast a set of older comedians the will be superimposed with their big head-on smaller dwarf-like bodies. Such as:
  • Jim Carey as Cebrielle -- funny and would take it all for the team (Austrian) 
  • Jack Nicolson as Decimus -- evil jealous character (Austrian) 
  • John Goodman as Phantasos -- an oracle with narcolypse (Byzantine) 
  • Danny Devito as Lev -- the old wise one (Byzantine) 
  • Anthony Hopkins as Asclepius -- Blind shaman (Ottoman) 
  • Danny Trejo as Ajax -- Soldier that only understands orders (Ottoman) 
  • Anjelica Huston as Calva -- Autistic and smart (Austrian) 
  • Cathey Bates as Trista -- extreme emotional expression (Ottoman) 
  • Jessica Lange as Evetta -- temptation (Byzantine) 
  • Susan Sarandon as Felita -- wolf child animalistic (Mongolian) 
  • Bobcat Goldthwait as Pluto -- Manic depressive aggressive character (Mongolian) 
  • Bill Murray as Enki -- the first Caretaker 
  • Fionnula Flanagan as Scopia -- the last Caretaker 
  • Renee Zellweger as Aorta -- Scopia's defiant daughter 

6) If I may be so bold, Bashar; I do like your style of art. It’s very expressive, and comes across very cartoon-like in nature. How did you come up with this great style? And what artist did you learn from to draw in this manner?   I have tested many different styles, there were others that looked more realistic, but it was pretty obvious as I tested the designs, the cartoon-look overruled. It attracted the biggest demographic -- girls and boys aged between 16 to 65 -- so i figured it was the way to go. Other artists even preferred it to their own art! 

This comic is intended for 2D animation such as displayed on Adultswim. I am mostly inspired by the masters of animation such as Disney; especially in creating a modern day 'Fantasia'. I am always influenced by the speed, creativity, and especially colors or mood that you see in 1967 Tom and Jerry.

7) What was the first comic book you ever read? And do you still read mainstream comic books today?   I was never really into the mainstream comic books or graphic novels! I remember I always loved reading 'Calvin and Hobbes' strips, and some 'Mad magazine 'Spy vs Spy'!

When I got a little older I remember enjoying 'Sam and Twitch', but I quickly switched to reading more complicated Japanese Manga books like 'Akira' and 'Ghost in the Shell'. 'Akira' is my favorite book!

8) If you could get a celebrity – either living or dead – to promote ‘IOMT’, who would you choose?   Because this cartoon is made to represent more than one entity, it would be very random of me to say Michael Jackson! But he is the most likely to understand how it feels to have his childhood stolen from him by far. Let alone the way he wanted to preserve the innocence of children, similar to the caretakers in the story.

Inquest of Missing Time9) What piece of advice would you give to someone else trying to self-publish a comic book?   Due to it's extreme originality and shock value, my cartoon has taken me to many fancy places. I realized that my project was "Overambitious for Hollywood!". Many have labeled and accused my work for being a menace to the industry! The self serving interests and attacks never stop! What I have learned is to take every rejection as incentive to break the history laid before me. Always test your projects on people you trust -- especially the ones that hate your ideals. Once you see your viewer breaking his or her ideas then you have got something! Never stop following your goals. even if the world is telling you to stop! You will probably think I am crazy, but you have to work when you dream! Listen to your fans. and respect their time! Because their support and love is the only way you will get what you want!

No. You are not crazy, Bashar. Your a very talented individual  And that is why I encourage all of my readers to click on today! Plus follow your stuff on facebook too. Go on. It'll be fun.