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  • Writer's pictureMichael Jacoby

The Sbuirrels #12: "The Wound" Talkback

The grim cover for "The Wound," issue #12 of "The Sbuirrels." Against a solid black background, the silver words, outlined in red, "The Wound," form a crimson cut mark featuring the nervous face of Ryan the squirrel.

I said that I would create the 12th issue of The Sbuirrels as a completed version of "Waygate" and I gave my word!

This issue based on an incident I had in February 2022, while working at Replica Creative. In the early-to-mid afternoon, I was trimming a weeded sheet of Phototex posters into singles (I believe they were for UPenn, or another local college). I had a knife and, like Ryan here, had trouble finding a more suitable larger ruler to help trim down Phototex posters, as I normally do.

I couldn't find any larger rulers, so I had to settle for a smaller gray ruler to trim the posters. Everything seemed fine at first, but suddenly, as I was almost half-way across and dragging the knife across the Phototex to trim the posters into rows, I felt a mild pain in my left pointer finger, causing me to wince a little. Then, as I was about to continue the process, I noticed a small blood streak on the left of the Phototex sheet, between two rows of posters. After that, I immediately noticed my left pointer finger was bleeding severely on the side of my fingertip.

Other employees at Replica helped bandaging my finger up; in fact, it was bandaged twice to keep the blood in! Similar to Ryan, I kept the bandages on for two days before finally changing them, fearing extreme blood loss. During the initial days, I was worried that, whenever I took a shower, the bandages would get wet and my vital fluids would escape easily, as recreated in the graphic seventh page of this issue.

I admit, at first I was on edge during this whole situation, even buying pain-relieving cream and more bandages from Target when coming home the day I got the cut. But as time passed on, everything ended up okay. I ended up first changing the bandages two days later, thinking that it would result in significant fluid loss, but thankfully didn't. Interestingly, the blood in the wound seemed almost, so to speak, filled to the brim at the top of the cut, like a liquid in a full glass.

I kept on changing the bandages and the deep cut eventually healed.

As for the ending of the story, this came to me two years later, so rather recently—almost last month, as a matter of fact. I decided to have turkey sandwiches for dinner using the square bread we normally use. My dad usually cuts the bread in half for the sandwiches, but he wasn't home that night, so I tried to cut the bread with a serrated knife like Ryan does and—irony of ironies, as I was still considering the ending for this issue—cut the top of my left thumb, though not as severely as the cut at Replica.

I actually wasn’t sure how to end this. I considered having the comic suddenly stop due to a simulated stoppage of internet service, then cutting to Ryan reading the whole thing and being frustrated with the internet outage interrupting the story. This was in reference to my issues with internet connection on one of my laptops after getting the new X1 Gateway. I didn’t want an issue to end on a cop-out this time, but properly. However, I kept going back to the fourth wall ending because I couldn’t think of a proper ending.

Then, I accidentally cut my thumb and things just flowed from there.

With regards to my original, deep cut from 2022, I wasn't sure how to show Ryan's anxiety with his cut since such a wound would take a few weeks to a month to heal, and showing Ryan's difficulty with his injury and its lengthy healing process seemed like it would take many, many pages. That's why I decided to utilize a narrator to tell a great amount of story in a short amount of time, making it more digestible.

Also, as for Helen Ethanson’s cameo here, it’s a reference to my altering feelings about Like Herrings and Onions. It’s been developed since the mid-to-late-2010s and premiered in 2017, basically about a Boomer-con teenage mean girl, Helen, and her clique. But as the late-2010s and the 2020s decade dragged on, well, let’s just say that varying sociopolitical events caused this series (not updated since April 25, 2020) to be severely dated and ineptly thought out (not that I could ever finalize a consistent form for many of the series’ details anyway) and left its current state in limbo.


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