Behind the Story: “Daisy”

“Daisy” was born from a single image that popped into my delirious mind as I closed my eyes for a brief nap in the San José State University Student Union between classes during finals week sometime in 2009. That image is beautifully illustrated by my first comic collaborators, Anuosha Irfan and Rommel Fabian, on the final page of this short comic. I would later draft a rough version of the story above with the intention of illustrating this image (originally titled “Dying Wish”) and one other (titled “Omit”) as centerpieces for what was originally planned as a 2-part love story. Between these two stories, I made an attempt at poetry to form the words that came to mind when I first imagined “Dying Wish” to encapsulate the tale’s bittersweetness:

In sickness, they fell in love.

In death, they wed.

Their eulogies will be their vows,

Heaven be their honeymoon,

Omitted, “’til death do you part.”

I’m no poet.

The second part of the story and “Omit” remain unpublished and unmade, respectfully. The image, “Omit,” in my mind, depicts a portrait of the woman, Daisy, restored to her pre-cancer state, awash in a warm, soft, ethereal glow against a white background and smiling in relief toward the audience. The second part of the story dealt with Daisy’s lover, Rob, desperately searching for her in the void of the afterlife and, on the verge of losing all hope, finally finding her.

I returned to and refined the tale in 2015 when I finally decided that I had to publish a comic at long last while answering a call for submissions to an anthology that would support cancer awareness and charities. I decided at that point to drop the second part of the story, “Omit.” It was a nice idea but ultimately didn’t serve the main plot in any meaningful way. Simply the final page—Anousha and Rommel’s realization of the delirious mental image that started it all—would be all that was necessary to convey the heart of the story.

The original, unpublished short stories for “Dying Wish” and “Omit” weren’t intended to be made into a comic. When it came time to adapt “Dying Wish” for the more visual-centric medium, I debated with myself and finally decided that the first comic I would write would be a silent one inspired by Marvel’s ‘Nuff Said specials. It was a challenge for myself and, I’m sure, my collaborators, Anousha and Rommel, to tell a story using only pictures. I did this as an homage to my muse, the original image that came to me that day in 2009. It was a silent experience that contained an entire story. That is what I wanted for “Daisy,” and I like to think we pulled it off barring the small cheat on page 3 with Rob’s phone.

It was unfortunate that the cancer anthology was never published. It got pretty far along and even had a successful Kickstarter, but things fell apart to a slow but final death when the project’s publisher and manager stopped communicating to collaborators. I would attempt to get our comic published again in the third issue of Caliber Comics’s revived Caliber Presents anthology series. It came close to publication before Caliber’s esteemed founder and the manager of the anthology series, Gary Reed, unexpectedly passed away in 2016, which effectively ended the initiative.

I’m not bitter for the two failed attempts to see our story and my first-ever comic published. It was a learning experience. I even thank Gary to this day for taking a chance on a new writer like me to try and publish my first two comics back-to-back. (My second collaboration and my first actually-published comic, “Goodbye and God Speed,” saw print in Caliber Presents #2.)

After about three years since its completion, I decided it was finally time to just get “Daisy” out and in front of people instead of waiting for the next opportunity to shop it for another anthology project. It’s the main inspiration behind the creation Comic Constellation in the first place with exposure as a close second. This story has sat in the dark recesses of my hard drive for far too long. So I hope you enjoyed “Daisy” and all of the heart and work Anousha, Rommel, and I put into it.