This idea is very similar to the one Kelsey just posted, so I may end up switching, but Kelsey, maybe there's a way that we can go different ways with the same idea.
For my comic, I chose the prompt: "Water is the oil of the 21st century." There are many ways to interpret this, but or my purposes, "water is the oil of the 21st century" is largely about the commodification of water-- turning water, and its effects and by-products, into products for consumers, manufactured and sold by private industries. To a certain extent, this has already happened: bottled water is everywhere in the U.S. (so much so that anti-bottled water products, such as home filters and reusable metal bottles, are also everywhere.) Coke and Pepsi are even in the game with their own brands of bottled water. But, for the majority of people, water is still something regulated and supplied to homes by municipal governments. Water as a natural resource has not been privatized the same way that oil as a natural resource has been. But what would happen if the crisis for fresh water became too massive and expensive for local governments to handle, and larger private corporations stepped in to fill that role for people?
The story I want to tell takes place after the privatization of water in America-- long enough after that people have generally accepted this new system, but not long enough for everyone to have forgotten what it was like before the system was in place. I want my story to be not so much a narrative as a glimpse into everyday life, so I'm asking myself questions like this:
- In a world where fresh water is incredibly scarce, what would we eat and drink (and how much would it cost)?
- What would we do to obtain fresh water-- including desalination, buying from private companies, or risk digging your own well?
- What products would be developed and marketed in this age? (This one is especially interesting to me.)
- In a world where more people in developed nations suffer from waterborne diseases, how would the healthcare community (including pharmaceutical companies) respond? How would the government respond?
- Would this world be a kind of barren landscape in which everyone felt the effects of the water scarcity, or would some people have enough money and resources that they are able to live normally?
- What role would technology play in everyday life as well as water?
I want all of these details to be really hammered out, because I want them to appear completely commonplace for the characters, and jarring for the readers.
Within this backdrop, there is a small faction of people who have rejected the system that has been set up and live outside society, hunting for fresh water. The protagonist in this story is not one of these people, but she had a relationship with someone who is, and he contacts her. She has to make a decision about whether she wants to continue living the way she lives now, or leave to join him and the others. I want the ending to be ambiguous.
So I will generate some more ideas in the next couple days, and/or maybe Kelsey and I can work something out about our ideas being so similar. I'll also have some sketches later on this week. Until then, I'm looking forward to hearing everyone else's ideas!