Sunday, August 10, 2008

Intergalactic Infidelity

That was the second piece I did for the gig, it was made a couple of days after the first but before I made my pitch to the paper, so both of these were not informed of the proper size of the paper's... uh, paper. From the next piece you'll see me adopt a more 'squareish' aspect ratio for the pages to accommodate for the shape of the printed edition.

I have a soft spot for this one though it also suffers from slight untranslatability. For example in the line about M'nnrgh the dodecapus where Kostas threatens to mop the floor with him... the Greek pun is lost as there's an expression we have that literally translates to 'I will beat him like an octopus'. The expression comes from the common fisherman practice of actually beating an octopus against a wall or floor to soften the tissue up before letting it dry. So that doesn't work, sadly.

Also the Ano Liosia location funny is probably lost to non-greeks. Ano Liosia is a very slummy location in downtown Athens, very dirty and cramped and generally an exhibit of all the worst aspects of urban decay. Not the place where you'd expect a spaceport to be built in the heavily 70's affected future that the comic goes for. The Ano Liosia joke is a recurring one as you'll eventually see. For American audiences one could substitute naturally, for New Jersey and have that joke work.

Which brings me to a small discussion of what I had in mind when I was making these: I had the notion that a many-panel comic such as this shouldn't serve just as support for the end-panel punchline, but that every individual vertical strip of this should be a smaller tiered joke in itself. Hence the octopus pun, the 'he's had his eyes on her' for the Yogsothothian entity and the Ano Liosia pun in the third strip. And yes, these were supposed to be 'so bad that they're good' as puns, heh.

Three years from then I find the actual drawing technique quite weak, but I am happy about the conceptual design. Since then I have made many full-page 'funny comics' and I have not strayed from the 'tiered jokes' approach. It seems a waste of space to do a huge setup for a joke that can essentially be told in 3-4 panels without losing any momentum, so why not actually use every 3-4 panels for a smaller joke that builds the atmosphere cumulatively?

The only panel I like in terms of drawing technique is the cross-hatched distraught spaceman one in the beginning of the third strip. It's a good idea to use ink rendering to express emotion rather than just to convey texture and naturalism.

Again, I am indebted to Johnny for putting in the effort in the lettering, like the 'WIFE WHAT are y--' bit or the shaky 'Heelp'. Believe me, if I were to do the new lettering I'd probably have flaked out and just slapped Comics Sans on these and called it a day.



pan pan said...

enw to "kyrie presvh mas kakomathainete"..aaaah

Helm said...

Oh, I guess I should explain that one too. Pan Pan (Greek comic artist and rapper extraordinare) references in Greek the line 'oh, embassador, you're spoiling me', which comes from a Ferrero Roche tv ad, I think everybody over 20 remembers this to some degree.

I don't like pop culture references usually! (I know, I am boring) though I don't know how much I could argue a 20-year-old-tv-ad reference is a relevant to today's pop culture anyway... but in my self-doubt when making the early comics, you know, "am I funny enough?" I would resort to them too. On later comics expect much the opposite, anything relating to transient fashion and such was ruthlessly ex-punged from the crea-tive pro-ceeess *bzzghhrk*

Ethan said...

I'm diggin' these. everything is good. it's a shame we don't have an equivalent octopus beating saying in english. it really shows the limitations of this language.

if you keep posting them i'll keep reading them.

Johnny Spade said...

xaxa, Helm: god, I remember this add! it's *pure evil*!!1 :) didn't even think this may be taken from a Ferrero Rocher commercial! :)

ethan, you thank god you don't have an equivalent that says "I'll beat you to a bitter apple!". :)

Helm said...

I'll beat you to a bitter apple is awesome. Cuz who wants bitter apples? You might yet live as beaten up to the state of bitter apple person, but who'd want you? Crushing Polish threat right there.

Johnny Spade said...

heheh, you have a point there! too bad only small children and sissy girls use it here --- it's a bit obsolete nowadays. :) but *hummph*-- actually, this one evokes a nice idea for a trash tv comic strip!

oh, and the octopi beating practice is terrible, though! and people do *it* with rabbits, too! (warning! ambiguity alert!) poor creatures! :)

Helm said...

Well the octopus probably doesn't feel much of anything, though. Rabbits however... harsh :(

Lorne said...

Ah, don't be dissin' on the cephalopods, Helm. They're one of the few animals known to use tools on this world, and apparently in some countries you have to use anesthesia on them before conducting surgery. :O

Helm said...


HS said...

I'm greek but at first I didn't get the Ano Liosia reference either. I supposed you used it as a typical area in Athens but I had no idea that it has such a bad reputation. I did get the Ferrero Roche reference however and felt slightly guilty about still remembering it (you know the feeling, όνομα κι εξυπηρέτηση!). In this one, I like the little detail where the supposed vacuum cleaner's handle the wife is holding,moments later, is proved to have been something else! =D In the end, I can see how your approach to funny comics -tiered jokes- matches your approach to music -every riff can well stand on its own-. How about your non funny comics? Do you conciously try to fit an entire world in every strip or something? =)

Don't worry about language limitations. It never rains cats and dogs in Greece =\

Johan said...

Octopuses are the smartest invertebrates on Earth, though that isn't saying a lot.

Eh, hi! I would just like to take this opportunity to thank you for two things; uploading those Flashback long-play videos and for sharing your pixel art knowledge with the world (this goes for any other Pixelation regular reading this as well! I've been lurking almost daily for about two years now.) Thanks!

Helm said...

hs: oh now, you have to tell me where we know each other from, your blogger profile is set to private!

About not-funny comics: you'll soon enough see. It didn't take me more than 3 months to completely break my own self-imposed format and do a range of things you wouldn't expect to read in a newspaper. As I said on the comments for the chess master comic, the fact that the feedback was so sparse led to a sorta solipsist experimentation effect. I felt like I wasn't being read by anyone, so I could effectively, do anything. Nobody was hearing the tree fall in the forest, so what would happen if the tree were to fall up instead of down?

johan: hello! Glad to have you. Also thank you for your kind words about the Flashback longplay, it means a lot to hear them because they weren't received as well as I would have liked and it sorta felt 'well what was the point of doing that, then?'. Also, as far as Pixelation goes, I'll happily spend decades to come helping and being helped back there.