Sunday, August 10, 2008
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.