Man in a Box
The comic Man in a Box is a collaboration with writer and storyteller Tom Thumb

Tom Thumb:

I wrote Man in a Box as a short story while I sat in a bus station at 4am in Rabat, Morocco, as I waited for it to get light before I went to look for a cheap hotel.
I've always liked cardboard boxes. Who didn't cut them up as a kid with scissors to make doors and windows, climb inside them and stack them on top of each other? When they arrive in the post you know that something good must be inside. When you move house they're the first thing you look for.
But the rest of the time they're just garbage. Torn, dirty, discarded, useful only to the homeless who take them to provide insulation from the cold of the ground.
When I write stories I like to take a seemingly random premise and see where it takes me:
What would happen if a man took to putting his head inside a cardboard box?
Katya Polezhaeva:

It has been my dream for a while to bring a story to life through my images.
I have always enjoyed listening to Tom's stories. The idea of this collaboration naturally appeared one day. We started by making a script and translating the verbal part of the narrative into the language of visuals. Then we followed it up with character design and choosing the style for the final look.

Turning the Story into a Comic

I know next to nothing about art. I can't even draw a stickman. And yet though I'm incapable of describing what kind of illustration could express my stories, as soon as I saw Katya's work I knew we had to collaborate. I wrote a script from the story, doing my best to allow room to show rather than tell like any good screenwriter, and, as I'm not a very visual person, there were so many surprises for me to discover: what did the characters look like? Where did they live? How did they move and express themselves? What would the lighting and mood be like?

I left these questions for Katya to discover and thought that would bring a balance to the creative process. But when I saw the first pages I found that she had gone way beyond my original script and had introduced vision and interpretation that I could never have imagined; the scene with the clock, for instance, showing Jon's progress through the day, or the way an argument in speech bubbles chases him out of the door of his house.

Seeing your story turn into a comic is like watching your kid grow up. You have no idea what he or she will turn out to be.

Why to tell this story
Since the olden days stories have helped to transmit knowledge, form identity and connect generations. The story of the Man in a Box can be read in various ways. For me it's an urban tale about how the routines of everyday life can become fertile soil for addiction to take root.

© All Right Reserved. Katya Polezhaeva.

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