Artist Jesse Reklaw began drawing the comic Slow Wave in 1995, but it wasn’t until around a decade later that I first came across it. It was love at first sight. The strip’s central conceit – people send in descriptions of a dream they had and Reklaw illustrates them – appealed to my sense of whimsy, and the style of the art seemed to suit the material well.
Running for President
Some people rarely if ever remember their dreams, but I usually remember at least a few every morning. Most of them weren’t (and aren’t) interesting enough to be worth sharing with anyone, but in late 2007 I had a dream that amused me enough that I decided to write it up and submit it to Slow Wave for consideration. I was very excited when it was picked for the December 8, 2007 comic.
In 2008 I submitted another dream. This one ran on May 17, 2008.
I just love the expression on the cat’s face in the last panel.
Sometime later I came across a new magazine (Bash!) online that featured this comic in its inaugural issue. I have no idea if there was a second issue. Sometimes things just seemingly disappear off the internet forever. (Or it could just be my less-than-amazing Googling skills.)
Reklaw offered the original prints for his strips for sale after each strip had run. Since I was such a fan of his art (and the concept itself) I thought an original print would be a cool (and very personal, since it contained my dreams!) keepsake to put on my walls.
So, as with the previous two strips, I bought the original print for Acoustic Theremin, my third dream to be illustrated. Unfortunately, though, I can’t find it. I did manage to find a copy of the description of the dream as I originally submitted it. (It’s truly strange the things that are willing to be found and the things that aren’t.)
“I was spending Christmas with a coven of hippie vampires. I was a little scared of them, but they seemed nice, and even gave me a present.
I opened it, but couldn’t figure out what it was. They told me it was an acoustic theremin. I saw it had an electric cord and I tried to plug it in, but the head vampire panicked and told me that the use of electricity was forbidden in the coven, and I’d just have to play it unplugged, using witchcraft.
I didn’t know witchcraft, so when they weren’t looking, I plugged it into an outlet behind the Christmas tree and it worked fine.”
Acoustic Theremin ran on January 17, 2009.
Exit to Michigan
2009 was the big year for my Slow Wave submissions; Reklaw illustrated five of my dreams, which was very exciting for me. Exit to Michigan ran on May 9, 2009.
In 2009, Reklaw made a change to the strip to add a thread of continuity between various dreamers’ dreams. As he explained at the time (via archive.org):
“When I started Slow Wave in 1995 I thought other people’s dreams would provide an inexhaustible well of material for comic strips. But in the past couple years many new submissions that I wanted to use sounded too similar to dreams I’d already drawn. Maybe Slow Wave attracts kindred sleepers, or maybe dreams are just as regimented and predictable as everyday experience (although in somewhat different ways). I’ve probably read about 13,000 dreams by other people in the strip’s thirteen-year history, and while I was at first surprised and fascinated by similarities in dreams, I’ve now come to dread the lack of fresh material. I’d sooner quit Slow Wave than fall into a pattern that at least I don’t find interesting.”
As you can see from my 2009 submissions, other characters appear in the strips, linking to strips in which those characters’ dreams are illustrated. If I recall correctly, I (or rather the Slow Wave version of me) appeared as a bystander in strips of other people’s dreams. Sadly I cannot confirm this, since if there are online archives of those old strips, I have been unable to find them.
Monkey Jeopardy ran on June 27, 2009.
The Santa Conspiracy
This was the first in a pair of back-to-back strips. This strip ran on December 19, 2009.
Battle of the Bands (aka The Queen of America)
This strip ran on December 26, 2009.
Bad Pennies was my final strip for Slow Wave. It ran on November 12, 2011.
This was one of the last strips to follow the original “draw your dreams” format. In January of 2012 Reklaw retired that approach and began a new narrative for the strip.
Unfortunately, by the end of 2012 the strip had ended. The last strip listed in the (archive of the) Slow Wave archive is dated May 19, 2012. The SlowWave.com domain has since been taken over by unrelated parties and Reklaw is now focusing on other artistic projects. The Night of Your Life, a collection of earlier Slow Wave strips, is available for sale on his website.
I love that eight of my dream descriptions were sufficiently interesting to merit inclusion over the strip’s run. There were also a few dreams I submitted that weren’t chosen. This one (submitted in 2009) is perhaps my favorite. I have a vision in my mind of what it might have looked like had it been illustrated.
“I was a reporter interviewing Steve Miller in a hot-air balloon. I couldn’t think of any good questions, so I asked him what he considered his ‘signature song.’ I thought he might say ‘The Joker’ or ‘Abracadabra,’ but he said ‘”Tainted Love” by Soft Cell.’
I thought maybe he misunderstood the question and was about to clarify what I meant, but he looked very upset. I was afraid he would push me out of the balloon if I pressed him, so I didn’t say anything.
We just sat there in awkward silence.”
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