About The Novel
it's About - How It Was Made
The Professor, Fuzzy, and the Meaning of Life" is a very long title for a
book. Yet, the three titular characters each play an essential role in ferreting out
the answers to the big questions that all people eventually ask themselves. All of these questions, as well as the
efforts of all three characters, represent attempts to get at the very meaning
of life itself.
represents the narrator who also represents, vicariously, the seeker and
philosopher in all of us. Thus, "Me" is also the reader. He is the person asking the questions and working
through the answers. He is someone that you can identify with.
Professor" is the expert. He is the guy who "knows" and who
carries an air of authority. He decides what is true and implies that you
must agree with him to be rational. He tells you what he thinks is possible and what is not. This archetype often
comes off as arrogant, but nonetheless, it is true that people tend to trust anyone with a
Ph.D. after his name. The Ph.D. in this book is a "scientist" in
the contemporary meaning of the word. It is very common for people of this
sort to be naturalists and atheists (practical or otherwise). He believes that only the physical world is real. All the rest
is superstition to him. Yet, in the end, he is revealed to be an enemy of discovery because he illegitimately
declares certain conclusions off limits before the investigation even begins!
If I may throw in a bit of Latin to spice things up, this is the dreaded "a priori rejection."
is the most entertaining of the characters. He is the guy we've all met who
dabbles in mysticism or any random New-Age fad. Like the Professor, he
is also an enemy of the truth, but for the opposite reason. He
thinks that all truth is relative. He thinks that my truth and your truth can
both be true even if they contradict one another. His position implies that we cannot find
the truth because, given Fuzzy's beliefs, nothing is true... or truth is a
narrator, "Me," goes through the basics and begins building a stone
structure in which the building-blocks represent ideas. This may evoke a very
foundationalist understanding of knowledge, conjuring up thoughts of Rene
are problems with Foundationalism, however, and I don't want the reader to be
unaware of them. The premise of Descartes' Foundationalism is the quest, and requirement, for
certainty. Unfortunately for all of us, absolute certainty is an immeasurably
high standard. Because of this problem, this graphic novel is not endorsing Foundationalism despite
its blatant use of
Foundationalism's core visual metaphor.
graphic novel does not seek to provide certainty. It is one argument among
many for a conclusion that is "certainly," in the end, deniable.
Nonetheless, it has been neglected and is due some serious consideration. I
think that it carries a higher than usual probability of being correct. Probability is the realm within
which human minds work. This novel presents an argument that reveals the
naturally high probability for its conclusions.
hope that, agree or disagree, you will enjoy the novel and come away from it with
more scope in your own personal philosophy!
the time it was written, this graphic
novel (or comic book) was created by a young man who had just come out of a
private university in
the United States in the 1990s. It is perhaps not surprising that he was left with more
questions after attending this school than he had before he entered it.
course, I was
that young man. After graduating, for myself as much as for the readers I
imagined having, I began thinking and
writing and sketching. I was actually surprised to discover that I could form
a decent argument "from scratch," and without any help. It was
actually easy, perhaps too easy. Because of this I rigorously tested my logic
and presuppositions. I employed the help of friends from many different
religious and philosophical backgrounds to test me in my arguments. Finally,
being convinced that I had a decent every-man's argument, I decided to get the message out. This book is the result!
Technical Details - The Making Of...
might be boring for most, but for those who care about the nuts and bolts of
how the book was actually produced, especially those who wish to create
their own graphic novels, read on!
first, I developed the argument itself, without thinking about the visuals
very much. This is what I tested in conversations with friends. 1994-1995.
on break at work and in my spare time, whenever I could grab a free moment, I
worked with a
sketchbook to craft the form of the characters and visual elements as well as
plan out and organize the story board.
This step took about nine months in 1995-1996.
a complete story board in hand, I began illustrating the individual pages. I
used plain typing paper and sketched out the visual concepts of each cell
pencil and then with an ink tracing on the same piece of paper. I used a simple felt-tipped marker that I
bought at a local drug store. Nothing too fancy. This step took about four
the sketches for each cell completed, I scanned each one and manipulated it
using Adobe Photoshop 4.0 (!) until I had all of the pages assembled. Back then I only had a
Pentium 166 MHz computer. Given the state of technology today, I can hardly believe I had the patience to work with such slow
equipment! I worked in B&W, but I wish I had done it in color since it can
always be converted to B&W later with minimal artistic loss. I also wish I'd
scanned the drawings at a higher resolution than I did... but,
the technology to which I had access was very restricting. I had to work at
I had a completed version of the book. I printed up a couple of "prototypes" and
shipped them off to publishers. Providentially, on my first attempt, I got a
hit! A publisher agreed to publish the novel but asked me to fix a couple of issues.
Corrections, Production, and the Wall Street Journal
years later we finished the corrections . . . yes it really took that long! The
delays involved misunderstandings on both sides as well as some issues over
correct argumentation. I remember fixing some spelling errors and conforming
to Australian spelling standards at one point. (Humorously, one of the
reviewers was Australian and insisted upon his version of certain words.)
the end of this process, I
offerred to allow the publisher, a charitable organization, to use the book
without charge and they accepted. I did this in order to lower the price
of the book and help to get the argument out into more hands. I didn't want
anyone to go through the same torture that I did when I went to college. You
don't have to give in to the "Professors" or "Fuzzys" of
the world! The presently dominant paradigm can be intelligently challenged and
interesting turn of events, while
waiting to be published, I put the graphic novel onto a website under the domain
Then the site was mentioned in a Wall Street Journal article at one point and this catapulted it
immediately into the top 10 of the search engines for queries like "the
meaning of life" and similar phrases. Soon, I was flooded with email
questions and challenges.
continued for about three years while the book was being reviewed for
publication. I learned a great deal more about my own arguments during this
time. I am happy to say that the book stood up to the punishment. Though
many detractors remained unconvinced, I too was able to remain completely convinced of
the legitimacy of the presuppositions, methods, and conclusions in the book.
the domain name (thebigquestion.com) was lost because of an error that was made by my Internet
Service Provider. They made a mistake and a domain name "squatter"
purchased the rights milliseconds after it became available for resale. I had no
of getting it back because the squatters turned around and asked for $20,000 to sell it back to me.
then republished the site under a new domain name (the one you're using now): www.thebigmystery.com.
However, the presence of this new address was never noticed by the masses. Web
traffic remains low.
the non-virtual world, however, the book went into a second printing.
That means the book is up to 10,000 copies. It
is gradually becoming more and more popular and, of course, I hope that it
continues to gain new readers.
Sometimes I am asked if another book is in the works.
And I had made plans to do this at one point, but I have since lost that sense of
urgency that drove the production of the original book. Moreover,
have gone on to other things. I am currently studying and teaching philosophy
and plan, eventually, to teach and write books without
pictures. Hopefully, some day, I will get the chance
to write about another important topic. Nevertheless, I am thankful that I had the
chance to do it at least one time.
enough about me ... read the book!
A printed version of this graphic novel is available from used book
Dimensions (Inches): 8 x 9
Ages: Junior High-Adult
Format: Soft Cover
E-book on CD-ROM.
Price: approx. $12.00 USD or less.
comments and questions at firstname.lastname@example.org