Tuesday, August 12, 2008
I think that one was the third full-pager (I'll post the first four strips I did as one update later on. Didn't seem as notable to update for two strips yet) I did for the paper. As you can see the format changed to slightly fatter than A4 size. These were incidentally drawn at print-size. A lot of comic artists prefer to draw at double (or more) size than the one they end up printing in order to get a tighter, more detailed page. I tend to do this as well for personal projects but for the paper, which printed in a pretty huge size as far as comics go (30 x 36 cm) it would have been very ineffective time-wise to work at 60 x 72. First of all, who has the time to draw practically a painting every time they want to do a comic page and second, given how I put so many panels in a single page, working at actual size insured that the comic was always readable.
This story is a pretty straightforward reversal, but it's the things that happen prior to it that were of interest to me. Basically the exploration of the introvert who for some reason has found success in a specific field. That sort of personality type fascinates me and I write variations of them regularly. In some ways all these teenage angst super-powered tight-wearing people the Americans do also fulfill this archetype and it is there when they used to capture my attention. Spider-man I guess, is the poster boy for this, especially the Ditko original crazy-fingers everybody-hates-me Parker, not the more soap-opera softer one that followed.
Speaking of American superhero comics, the look of this character is a homage to Major Bummer, a comic that ran in the late 90's, written by John Arcudi and penciled by Doug Mahnke, both amazing at their craft. It's a brilliant series of reversals on the superhero stereotype and I urge you to read it if you ever get the chance. The character in question that is similar to Miltos is this one:
If you squint a bit you'll see Miltos wearing a 'Major Bummer' button also. I'd like to stress this is not so much a pop culture reference in spirit as it is a heart reference. I simply loved the comic and did that sort of private homage that I didn't think anyone really caught nor were they meant to, neither did any aspect of the plot rest upon them getting it. More about my hate for pop-culture ridden self-referentiality in future posts. I am sure I won't be able to contain it forever.
Artistically strangely I find this one mostly solid even 3 years after. Only the Mars landscape panel is complete bullshit. What the hell, past Helm, couldn't be arsed to look up photographic references for Mars? Did we send the rovers up there for nothing? Oh well, the rest is alright. I have a fondness of the teary Miltos panel in terms of rendering. It's fun when you get the chance to render cartoon characters as if they have actual volume that occupies 3d space. Slightly unreal also, but if it emphasizes the human qualities of the character, so be it.
The Russian chess-master replying 'your mothers' in broken Russian (I didn't know any actual Russian people to have it cross-checked) is a fortunate pun on 'Mate - mat'. In Russian 'mat' it turns out, is 'mother'. It's great when Babelfish helps you write a comic, you know?
On a final note for this update, a big thank you for the people that left comments in the early entries, I appreciate the support. I'd do the whole pack of the comics with zero comments I think if I had to since they're already drawn and an archive of these should be somewhere on the internet lest I forget they (I) ever existed, but it's wonderful to see friends and strangers come over and give me a welcome. Also Johnny, who isn't doing this 3 years ago but right now, for no money, probably appreciates it too.