The Electrocution Switch
Another rare gem of a comic that is funny outside the context of all the other strips. The fact that it's funny at all is impressive for Irritability, though. I don't think there's much extra information necessary here. I guess it's good luck I didn't get sued by the American Association for Unshaven Guys Who Wear Hoodies (AAUGWWH!) or something. I probably would have, though, if this comic were at all popular.
Like the Ants That You Are!
I didn't want to have to explain what a ferry is, and it's a pretty awkward explanation, but for those who don't live on or around an island, it was probably necessary. I like the idea of hijaking a vehicle just to be able to drive it. It's the sort of thing a kid would do, if he had the ability.
I tried to remember what the shrink-ray in "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" looked like, so I could recreate it here, even though this one's not suppsed to be a shrink-ray. Also note the post-#451 qualification Victor uses: "At her!"
Another comic conceptually devoted to the 'easy to draw' ideal, the first person adventure format saves a lot of compositional headache, even if it only reduced the total number of Chappies I'd have to draw by two. The old man was probably the easiest-to-draw thing I could have used that could possibly pass for human, and Spike wasn't much trouble either.
Punching as We Go
There was significant discussion on this comic in the icomix forum so I won't dwell. To summarize:
That's not supposed to be Haggar. He's dressed the same because that's just what mayors wear in this sort of situation.
There's no reason to assume all these thugs have anything to do with the kidnapping. Oh, and this is not in the forum, but I someday hope to have enough money to start my own cable TV channel. It would feature shows that were very low-budget, yet awesome. One of the shows would be Final Fight: The Series. It would have a story for the first 20 minutes of the first episode, then the last 10 minutes, and all 30 of every other episode would simply be the two leads walking in a straight line, beating up thug after thug with repeated use of the same punch punch kick combo, and the spin attack in really dramatic situations. (when I say 'really' here, I mean 'slightly more than not at all') The best part - your cast only needs to be like, 6 guys.
Why is "pine fresh" a phrase? What's so fresh about pines? If you handle a pine tree, you'll be seriously nasty. Or should I be thinking of fresh more in the "fresh prince of bel-aire" capacity?
Basically, it's action-movie-type dry one-liners inserted into an X-com environment.
I want some fuzzy eight-sided dice for my car. Do such things exist?
Documentary Part 1
I wanted Chappy to be doing some wrestling submission hold, but I couldn't find anything in terms of diagrams on the internet. What he's doing might work, but I don't think it would be terribly effective. Just like the perspective in this comic, without so much as a horizon line. I guess this comic provides some good insight into the daily life of an adventurer.
Documentary Part 2
This on is pretty dumb. The bit in the last panel evolved... or, perhaps devolved from a discussion I had with Bryan.
Documentary Part 3
Item combination. Lately, I've tried to stay away from jokes about Chappy or whoever trying to do RPG stuff, and it not working out. I want to make it clear that he's not crazy, he actually does get treasure sometimes. In this case, though, he's crazy.
I guess I had gone back and played CivII or something. In that game, as with the previous one, diplomats engaged in all sorts of espionage and sabotage. Anyway, in the second panel, Beireia is just saying "cough". The gag of having the gag in the second panel, then complaining about that in the third has become pretty standard for Irritability.
My brother has had more trouble with this sort of behaviour than I have. It is totally alien to me, that one could be such a collossal asshole that just the thought of someone, somewhere, being irritated by something you did amuses you. I mean, I'm not confused by assholery in general, not at all. But if you don't have any kind of feedback... if you can't observe them getting pissed off, what's the point? Anyway, I like this one a lot, there's minor gags in every panel. Real crappy handwriting on that moral, though. I wonder what was happening there?
Less Than a Number
Speaking of assholes... Exoth is cruel to Head-Leg. That's the joke.
This one comes out of left field... The deathwatch beetle is a real thing, it lives in the wood of people's homes, and makes a rather loud tapping noise, as though someone was knocking at the door. Early homeowners, as you can probably imagine, were creeped out by this eerie, sourceless tapping, and decided that it was the grim spectre of death, reminding them of their inescapable fate. You don't see much of the elder Bananas in the comic lately, I just realized.
The first appearance of the legendary metal, killdanium, which was a heavily mined (if you'll pardon the pun) vein of humor for me, if not the comic. If you'll recall, this is one of the few formulas that I intentionally set out to apply. The only one, come to think of it. The dirty hero has a pretty awkward stance, I think he'd lose his balance. His hair sucks, also. I should have given him more mideival-type garb, that commando outfit isn't appropriate for someone who uses a sword. Also, look at how daintily Exoth is holding his chicken leg in the second panel. This one's just full of mistakes...
Noone raises much of a fuss about it these days, but at this time, if I remember correctly, you kept hearing about the supposed dangers of GM(genetically modified) foods, but none of the people raising these concerns ever sounded like they had any idea what they were talking about. It's like, they thought all the DNA was going to seep into the groundwater, and they'd be turned into ninja turtles, or something. lame. Anyway, the gag, besides the visual one of that retarded-looking corn, is the language joke, with someone misinterpreting an overly-literal statement.
This one's a little lame. I wish I had spent more time figuring out the composition on the third panel, it could have been a lot cooler. Basically, she's just going around raising hell, trying to cause enough damage that the insurance companies will take notice.
Basically this strip is predicated on the reader being familiar with the childish tradition of mixing all the available sodas together, in fast food joints that give you free reign over the soda fountains. I don't think that's really a problem for American readers, but foreigners, while they probably share the custom, may not recognize it from the language.
Better, by 14
I like this one, there's at least one joke in each panel. If you've noticed, those are my favorite ones. I don't have a whole lot to add.
A generic-looking robot, based on fulgore or whatever from those killer instinct games. This one's pretty good. I was pretty funny back then, I guess, in retrospect. sigh.
Not Your Father's Skeleton
Evil folks always seem to be trying to buy properties. If some evil rich guy wanted to buy my house, I'd let him, if he was paying well. Anyway, this is another one I'm happy with. Skeletons are always good for a laugh.
Modern Adventurer first appears. While it hasn't come up often in the strip, this magazine is an idea I'm quite taken with. Bryan and I discussed the possibility of having an MA webpage, with cave reviews, armor buying guides, exposes, like, revealing that the gila monster isn't really a monster, etc. Obviously, that would be too much work, so it never happened. The third panel here is one of my first forays into the dark and dangerous realm of backgrounds. The trees look alright, but the out-of-focus areas are unsatisfactory. It was a learning experience, though.
This one is boring and pointless.
In the Allegorical saga I had Chappy unable to read his own name, so that's a bit of a continuity error with this strip, wince he's reading and understanding a newspaper. When Chappy looks at his shirt, though, his name appears upside-down to him, so I can explain it away that way. If I felt like holding myself to the lofty ideals of continuity. Anyway, this one is allright, another example of backgroundism. The dialogue could be a bit snappier, I feel. But, that's never been my strong point.
A better job of leading-in would have really helped this one. There are some pretty funny jokes, but I think the setting, with that unlikely pair walking around somewhere for no apparent reason, distracts from the humor, so the final effect is a lot weaker than it could have been. The line about cloning bad guys I'm particularly fond of, since, obviously, that's what appears to be happening in pretty much any video game that involves bad guys. A constant stream of identical baddies, fresh from the cloning vats, pours out of the right side of the screen to attack you, the good guy.
In the cheaply produced saturday morning cartoons that I grew up on, the writing was of such a quality that the villains were frequently dispatched by some random quirk of the terrain like this. Perhaps I'm remembering incorrectly, but it seemed to happen so often that it could only be explained by some villainous affinity for see-saws under cliffs, or dry gulleys upstream of a big rickety dam, or what have you. If you, the dear reader, were not instilled with this impression during your childhood, I fear you will not be very amused by this comic.
This one is more of an exposition comic than a gag comic. The gag tacked on at the end is that, after the bombing of the room to get treasure, the treasure is more bombs, to allow more rooms to be bombed. That's the circle of life.
I feel that this one has more "actual" humor than the majority of the strips, where the joke is that there's a power-up, a beholder, or that they like treasure, or something. The pattern here, used twice in rapid succession, is that something is said, creating an expectation or an assumption in the reader as to the meaning of the statement, which is immediately proven false by the follow up statement. If you're looking for formulas to reduce humor to its basic constituents, this is a powerful one. At least I think so. Also, those alien kidsd look funny. I ripped off Bryan's classic gag with the "lab sweet lab" sign in the first panel.
Or, "Hot Topic"
By now, the theme of Beireia mentoring Tatanya has been firmly established. I don't really go out for the punk aesthetic anymore, but in high school, I had military jackets with lots of pins on them, and a backpack with spikes. So, I have mixed feelings about Hot Topic. On the one hand, you can get some good stuff there, on the other, if it's so readily acessible, it's stripped of all personality. You might as well just wear khakhis and save yourself some money. "Touchy Subject" is obviously just a substitiution for hot topic.
Dine 'n Dashers
This one's decent. More "world of adventuring" intersecting with the real world. One of my favorite animes, Urusei Yatsura, had skipping out on the bill as a major theme, the last panel borrows pretty heavily from that.
I've noticed that this strip has a lot of violence toward animals. Physical and emotional violence. I don't know why that is, I like animals well enough. I just keep getting ideas for strips that have the suffering of some poor beast as a central theme. I would say that all those years of playing X-com have made me a human supremacist, but I usually will not play as humans in video games where that is an option.
This strip isn't that great on its own. It does sort of lead in to the Unicorn Princess story, and Xcilla first appears. If you aren't familiar with Lisa Frank, I'm sure a google serch can cast some light on the final panel for you.
Join the Club
The title is perhaps the best joke in this one, although I personally like "woundanium". The complex quantum-mechanical aspects of killdanium are explored a bit. I think this sparked a big discussion on the icomix forums.
The Five-Second Rule
In retrospect, I should not have drawn those extra donuts in the box. Robot has white-trash roots, so it's no big deal for him to eat stuff off the floor, but he has enough self-respect to demand a fresh one if they are available. Aside from that, I like this one a lot. It has much better construction. Perhaps enough to create an illusion of professionalism, even.
Uh Oh! Amnesia!
Other people may not think so, but the use of amnesia as a plot device is inherently funny to me. Especially that cliched phrase: "Where am I?.. Who am I???". Chappy is friends with a lot of talking animals, despite his track record of animal cruelty. I should eventually do a strip revealling how he meets all of them.
Pretty lame, I must admit. An essential part of the amnesia cliche is when someone tries to mislead the afflicted character as to their own identity. (usually a spurned love interest, who convinces the hapless indiviual that the two of them were engaged or something) Victor tries to live up to this convention, but he has nothing he wants Chappy to do, so it falls flat.
This one was fun to draw. The rich guy is bad, apparently, since he exposed the details of his situation with little to no prompting. That's a common habit of villains, as you know. The industrialist from "By the Book", the 5-page comic I did for Bryan's Constitution Bar and Grill print book is there in the background of the third panel, but I doubt anyone can recognize him. Also, Exoth could have just asked the monkey from the first amnesia strip who did it. You can't trust monkeys though, even chimps.
I don't know what I was talking about, the "Gnarl" bludgeon is pretty funny. People apparently liked the concept of an alphabetically indexed library of bludgeons. It's hard to gauge response accurately with a comic as lightly read as this one.
Using an implement to extend your reach is a classic move where I come from. I find those bamboo swords used in kendo to be particularly useful. They make professional-grade reach-extenders, for old folks, with a claw you can close by squeezing. Minor Threat is an old punk band, which is the why of Robot's shirt. Oh, in the second panel, Robot's mom is changing the channel from NASCAR to WWF. I'm pleased with how she looks in that picture, incidentally. I wish she didn't look as young as she does, but that's inevitable, since she's based on Robot's design.
I like the dialogue in this one, but not the art. Pretty much every frame has someone looking awkward in it. Hopefully it's fairly clear how the gnark stick works, but I guess it's not that important either way. I don't know if peppering the comic with self depricating comments like I do is a good thing, but sometimes I just feel like I have to apologise for the stuff I put in this comic.
Pretty busy, here. I really like this one, mainly becuase I'm extremely taken with the idea of a Pirates vs. Cowboys movie. This is another topic that was discussed at length on the icomix forums. I am also very fond of the idea of stacking yourself up and wearing a trenchcoat and beard as a disguise. This is a concept that has been used, ad nauseum, in children's cartoons, but in those cases, the children are attempting to conceal their shortness by effectively doubling their height. Here, the height is not an issue, so their use of this disguise scheme is really stupid. And therefore funny. That same disguise was used again, this time with four people, in the 24-hour comic, "Slay him, you oily hippies!" There are a bunch of other jokes here, like Pendenne saying she hasn't been born yet, and the one exceptionally tall ticket. Art is not bad, either.
Troubleshooting, so to Speak
An Office of Peril strip. The Office of Peril has a hard time filling its staff positions, so the workers are pretty secure in their jobs. You can notice Beireia isn't trying to impress her boss with her hardworking attitude. She's playing freecell there, incidentally. The strip mught be better if I had left out that "..okay, it's the bullets" bit at the end. hmmm...
Village of the Goat-Men
You, gentle reader, may not be familiar with the ways of the goat, but they really, really, like to stand on top of things. An overturned wash-pail is prime real-estate by goat reckoning. I like this comic, but there's not much to say about it. Chappy's being uncharacteristically nice to ol' Beltram, I was probably trying to mitigate his past cruelty a bit.
The Haunted House
Tatanya gets started on her solo adventuring career, but it's a bit of a false start. The fat man was made to resemble the main character from A Confederacy of Dunces, and Lousy Lane is featured in the Series of Unfortunate Events books. There's some fair backgrounding in the second panel, but it abruptly cuts out to the left of the dude. That's a pretty jarring visual effect, in a bad way.
This one's not very funny. The title is a pun, and I guess the idea of people giving reviews for caves was supposed to be funny enough to carry the comic. I do like that Chappy says he will "tear them a new one", as though someone, somewhere, will be upset that a cave was not well appreciated. I don't know what, exactly the business model for a cave would be. People come in, kill monsters, and take any treasure they find. I guess it could be like a kind of bank?... With people hiding their treasure there?
Cave of No Return
The previous comic got me thinking, and so this comic was made. It's much better, with decent construction and pacing and such. Based on the "reversal of expectations" formula.
Line of Sight
I think I could have done more with this concept... Maybe not. It seems like I did everything right, but it's still a little weak... Chappy and Beireia are going to parties together now, since Interest Rates. From the original version, I was expecting to develop some sort of romance between them, but the way the characters developed, it's hard to get that going anywhere. The comic itself isn't too conducive to romance.
I can't really explain this. The comic doesn't frame its gimmick very well. I wanted to use Velel again, and I wanted to have cussing birds. So... mission accomplished, I guess. Do you like my half-assed self-censorship?
Introducing... An Extra!
Xcilla makes her appearance. This is another example of a decent idea with poor delivery. Oh well, live and learn and die.
Half a Glurdock.
Whatever. Definitely not my best strip.
Aurum means gold, and "epetal" means seeking, or something like that. Man, this was a real dry spell, as far as humor goes.
Sadism is the joke.
It's hard to be pissed off right after finding treasure. I guess Robot has cause to be irritated, though. I'm not unfond of this storyline, but the individual strips aren't so great.
The Path Less Actual
I would like to develop the Exoth regime's desire to always travel in a straight line. The jumbo crow could put in another appearance, and everyone would have a good laugh.
Eat or be Eaten
Is a cyclops really a demi-human? I can't even remember what a demi-human is, if it's dwarves and elves and such, or more like goblins and gnolls and all of that.
More Than You Can Chew
By this point, I had become fond of drawing revolting things, so the monster here was fun to draw. I made some effort to make the dialogue sound natural, where the fly-thing is having Exoth roll back his sleeve, which was useful as an excercise, at least. It's a fairly typical Irritability strip, I guess.
The Case of the Lost Skull
Tatanya has become my most useful character, in that it's easiest to come up with good ideas featuring her. Chappy and Exoth are so one-dimensional that I've exhausted all the obvious possibilities for jokes, strips featuring them don't write themselves the way they used to. Also, they're both so powerful, there's not easy to create good conflicts. If it weren't for their self-destructiveness and lazinessis, I don't think either of them would be any good for anything but supporting roles. Getting back to this particular comic, I'd like to point out a few things. In the first panel, the appearance of the skull interrupts a seemingly mundane conversation. I tend to do this a lot, and its purpose is to reinforce the normal, everyday setting that the abnormal action takes place in. In the second panel, Tatanya's acting like kind of a know-it-all, although it's clear she's not too skilled at adventuring. (that's characterization!) Finally, I really like the use of "brains" to describe someon't brain. Maybe that's just me, though. Oh, also note the lack of so much as a horizon line in any of the panels. Fuck you, backgrounds!
All the Way Up
Speaking of the characters being one-dimensional, that's pretty much the whole gag here, except for that play on words at the beginning. As an aside, I like looking at the art from this period. It's not that great, but I can see how I was trying to improve in certain areas. For example, there's some decent body language in the second panel, where Chappy's taken aback. I was using a lot more shading here, also, which I don't think suits the way I draw the faces.
Man, look at all that shading! I must have had a lot of time on my hands at this point. I don't like the overall lighting scheme, there, though. I could have done it much better. The third panel is a little disappointing, but I don't know where else I could go with this.
Good Grief! I had forgotten about this one! That poor little creature! The cruelty is what makes it funny, though. The setup is good, too, I think. I'd like if I had made the horror on Tatanya's face more abject, though.
The Self-Rolling Dice
So, there's pretty good backgrounding in that first panel, but look at that third panel! There's a horizon line, finally, but it's placed all wrong. What kind of a room would look like that? some sort of perfectly geometric, 300 yard cavern. I do like the idea of nerds becoming obsolete once dice no longer need the active involvement of a human in order to be rolled.
12 Steps to Robbery
This one has much stronger writing than most, but it could have used a little cleaning up. For example, in the first panel, Beireia should be saying something about how one would expect Treasureholics Anonymous to make you give up treasure, not acquire more. Also, if you look at Beireia's arms in the first panel, they are hanging down oddly. That was a big problem with my art at this stage, or at least a persistent one.
I really like this idea, of an edible glue to repair broken chips. Also, lately, as I've been trying to develop an idea of culture for Vedica, the fictional country Chappy is from, I've decided they would be very much against throwing anything away, and would always want to repair things or re-use them, even when it's not that practical. So, chip glue fits right in. How convenient.
Here's another one I like a lot. The stereotypical line for a used car salesman to use to underrepresent how worn down a car is is to make this claim about the old lady only driving it to and from church. So, the point here is how much the car has been driven, and, from that, what kind of shape the car is in. How old the lady in question was is, obviously, irrelevant, which makes the salesman's one-upsmanship funny. It kind of makes sense, but not quite. The structured humor quickly degenerates, however. Also, the art on that car door is pretty good, though it's immodest of me to say so. Vomiting is funny. The convention of putting a fishbone in the stream was originated by my brother, Matt, and it is quite dear to me.
It's a Living
Oh, could this be a flintstones reference? I used to have kind of a disdain for old hana-barbera/warner bros./etc. cartoons, but now I have developed anaffection for their formulaic humor. I don't even know if formulaic is strong enough, the scripts could probably be written by running a basic "pre-script" through a simple computer filter. IF(doctor="true") THEN(dialogue="what's up doc") and so on. To be fair, the formula jokes aren't all of them, and they don't take up space so much as fit between the regular stuff, if you follow me, which is why I like them, I suppose. Back to the point, while I like this one well enough, Polly's joke (Polly is the new employee's name. This doesn't come up much, since Irritability characters don't address each other often) at the end is pretty lame.
It's a Living
Polly's one dimension as a character becomes clear here. She likes banal office humor. It doesn't work on the gnomes, so much. I don't think what Beireia does to his neck would break the spine, now that I look at it. How'd she even grab the front of his head (the face) anyway? I suppose this is a question that I should be answering rather than asking. On another note, Polly is Xcilla's older sister. I've been meaning to bring that up in the strip, but I've never been able to do so in a humorous context. Since I don't like making unfunny strips just to reveal some element of the Irritability universe, (I still do it sometimes, without realizing) that particular facet has never been brought to light. Since this space is unconstrained by such worries, I'm saying it here. Or, writing it, rather. Actually, I wrote it already.
He had Tripped
Well, it was easy to draw, at least!
I like this one a lot. Chappy's affinity for animals again. Although Ostron does not speak in the comic, he can understand human language, and that's close enough. One of the standard facts about ostriches that typically is taught to grade schoolers and other ostrichology newbies is that their kick is strong enough to kill a lion. Hence, Chappy's command. Also, there's flying sweat, which I like as a comic strip convention.
All My Treasure
The real name of the soap opera is All My Childrens, I think. This is actually Unicorn Princess, although I hadn't come up with a name for it yet. Liz was playing Suikoden, and there's a very dramatic death scene for one of the major characters, but all Liz cared about was how she'd never get the items back. That's where the idea for this came from.
The Unicorn Princess
The ever popular Unicorn Princess saga begins. If you didn't know, it's a very obvious parody of a particular girls anime. The character names are either combinations of two characters in the actual series, or the exact same name, except with the first sound replaced with "Bl", as I tend to do. The punchline here is a little lame, and the lettering is pretty bad. I think this is when I was doing it with a quill.
That Kind of Situation
Chappy does not care about circumstances, only results. If you'll notice, he dragged an armchair into Tatanya's room so she could read aloud from a little girl's book to him. Also, the first (of many) use of the term "ho-bag" in this strip occurs in the second panel. I can't draw wet hair very well.
Apple Jacks '02
I don't know if those Apple Jacks commercials took as firm a root in the collective unconscious as they have in my own, but for me they are a minor obsession. I never read Oliver Twist, either, I just skimmed it on the internet to find someone's name to put on Chappy's shirt. 'Bumble' is almost certainly inappropriate. The "Abominable Urchin" phrase enjoyed brief popularity at the house of SAC, for what that's worth. (nothing)
This one sucks. It only has purpose as a parody, and it's too specific to really be good even for that. It also sets up the business with the blingzaho, but that's no excuse. If a comic strip isn't funny, it's worthless, no matter what you do with the plot.
Sandy's Outrageous Past
This one's funny, if you've seen 'Jem'. Parody strips always seem like a good idea at the time, but I always regret them later. At least Nakaboshi's apearance mitigates things somewhat. I guess the specificity of young Sandy's curse is kind of funny, too...
Even though they were just crude parodies, the Unicorn Princess characters developed their own personalities, at least in my mind. This strip is the beginning of that, I guess. Nakaboshi's power is rock-based, but not as in earth-elemental, hur hur. Incidentally, Liz and I have been talking about doing a Unicorn Princess book, and Nakaboshi would be fleshed out a bit more, though still pretty one-dimensional. I am proud of developing the inverse windmill, incidentally, though someone may have had the idea before me.
More Apple Jacks
The title says it all. Except for a consistent spelling of Apple Jax. I don't know why that is, but I'm too lazy to fix it now. Chappy's shirt here is cool, I would like to make one at some point. For myself, I mean. I already made one for Neil. (youngest brother)
Oh, I wonder if Soyroo is based on Lulu from that one game? Or Soi, from the other thing? Anyway, there's not much else to say about this one. The "joke" for those who don't "get it", is basically just repeating anime cliches. Except, when I do it, it's funny. Check out Tatanya's mouth in the last panel. goofy.
Like you can Talk
The title is because Exoth himself is a one-dimesional character. Well, 2-D, at the most. This one sucks, anyway. Unicorn Princess was really hard to do, now that I think about it. It's moderately funny, introducing these parody characters, and doing those cheap-shot jokes about anime cliches, but most of the strips aren't very funny at all. Though, perhaps it's irresponsible to blame the medium for that...
Unicorn council... parody characters... anime cliche... Actually, Cheech-Eerie, I'm somewhat proud of, but if you didn't watch the one show this is all based on, it won't make sense. As an aside, I'd like to give a very brief outline of the story of Unicorn Princess: In the real world, Sandy and her friend find a magical artifact, and are accidentally transported to a magical world with unicorns and such. Hotohome and the others are natives to this new world, but Cheech-Eerie came from the real world as well, though not through any magic artifact. One day, he got SO high, he woke up in the Unicorn World. So, that's the story.
The Bling Bling Effect
Nakaboshi is a lot of fun to write, but a bit of a pain to draw. I wish I had given him a less generic guitar, but I suppose that just paves the way for some much more powerful guitar being found in a treasure chest guarded by ancient spirits or something. Also, there should be dust coming out where he swats Cheech-Eerie.
Another one that's not very funny if you didn't see Fushiigi Yuugi. Chappy's got a lawn chair and a 6oz. beer bottle in the last panel.
Now, this is more like it. Too bad about that last panel, though. I guess I was in a hurry. If it's not obvious, I copied it from an older comic, and wrote the dialogue in with the mouse. Lame.