Nautical Adventure I
Six pages of the paper I use for 24-hour comics were left after the Evolve! story, and I wanted to do a few full-page comics to use it up. I had been thinking about using the brush pen for these, since I liked using it alot. When I decided to do a nautical theme, that sealed the deal. It's extremely good for water effects. It also has the advantage of being faster, due to sloppiness. It's clear when you're using it that there's no point in being careful. There is a continuity error here - the rowboat has attached oarlocks, Chappy rips the right oar right off the side of the boat, you may be able to make out the chunk of boat still attached to the broken oar... I drew it, anyway, although it does not show up well. Anyway, there is no corresponding hole in the side of the boat. I may go back and correct that.
Nautical Adventure II
While I like the brush a lot, it is no good for fine detail. This is a good thing mostly, since that is mainly why one is compelled to move quickly when using it. However, for faces, it's important that they be as expressive as possible, and if it's all blurry from the brush, you can't really make out what needs to be made out. So, here, I used a quill for the faces, and the brush for everything else. I uploaded it in two goes, the first six panels, then the last two. Do you remember when Chappy was using sonar before? It comes in handy again here.
Nautical Adventure III
So, I'm not sure how well a lot of the stuff in this one came out. The pirates are being hauled up over the railing, but practically, the Blood Belly ought to have arrangements for divers, since it is the support ship for the Ratfish, the small submarine seen in earlier episodes. It was more dramatic to do it this way, though. I'm very fond of the pirate crew as characters, even though they were thrown together very hastily.
Nautical Adventure IV
The Pirate mothership, the Blood Belly, is never shown in full. Also, the extra pirates didn't come out too well here. And the foliage on the island is kind of crappy. I like the rocks n' waves, though. And the pirate dialogue.
Nautical Adventure V
I don't know what to say here... Some of the compositions are pretty good, but I hate that "rustle" effect in the fourth panel. That's the problem with backgrounds. They make any action lines, or any kind of emphasis line, kind of get lost in the background noise, so it becomes much more difficult to show motion. With humans or animals, you can use body language, so while it becomes more challenging with background, it's certainly not impossible. I have no idea, on the other hand, how to use body language for foliage. But! If I had shown the rustling branch, but then not included any shrubs or anything for background, it would have looked really weird. It is a conundrum. In retrospect, I guess I should have made a big black space directly behind the moving branch, and drawn the motion lines and the "rustle" sfx in white.
Nautical Adventure VI
Okay, I think this one turned out very well... The "thrust" sound effect in the first panel is bad, though, and it could have been fixed by just switching which hand he attacked with first. Oh well, as usual, insufficient planning is the biggest problem. Let this be a lesson to all of you. Let's see... the zoom-in emphasis lines in the 3rd/5th panel should center around the tree, not the T-rex, I think. To highlight that that is what the T-rex is focusing on. The dino himself stands out pretty well on his own.
I think the mustachioed man came out well in every panel, but Robot came out poorly in almost every panel. Some touches I am pleased with: you can see the axe in the first panel, barely; The ominous Robot silhouette, and the "chop" effect. The pile of candy from the dude's head is not identifiable as such, which causes me great anguish. In candy comes out this was not the case, even though the individual candies are the same size in both. I guess there is some trick to drawing piles that I have yet to figure out.
The Handsome Clone
The most difficult thing here was to find a way for the long-necked clone to appear to be a normal Exoth in the first panel, and have the illusion be shattered when he turns his head. I only partially succeeded here; the cuff of his sleeve should be visible in the first panel, and the way the hair falls off his back in the second isn't right. Those and other smaller errors add up to give the impression that this clone has an abnormally small head. This is not the case! It's a normal-sized-head clone. The doorway is of course abnormally tall, made especially for this clone. To me, it seems only natural that a clone would lack the power of speech, since it is presumably only created for spare parts, or some other purpose. Less obvious is why such a thing would be decked out in its own suit, rather than floating about in a tank of green bubbling fluid. Please note also the caterpillar treads on Exoth's La-z-Boy in the last panel.
O, Bitt'rest Irony!
For a talking head comic, this one was pretty difficult to draw. I hate classrooms, because you have the choice of either a conspicuously absent background, or one that is so busy and cluttered that things cannot be easily made out, as discussed above. Another solution is to do everything in color, and I have seriously considered this several times, but in the end, I think it would be too time consuming. Unless, of course, I could find someone to do coloring for me. Also, I changed Xcilla's hairstyle starting with this strip.
Less is More
These single-sized strips very frequently contain way more panels than they have any business with. In this case, some of the dialogue is a little crowded, but for the most part, I guess it works out okay. I wish I could work a little better within the constraints of normal print comics, though.
Bizzare treasure items that have real-world uses such as this could probably be the nucleus for a good strip formula. I typically don't use formulas though, at least not consciously. Anyway, the girls look pretty odd in the first panel. Also, the effect in the fourth panel didn't come out as well as I had hoped, though it's alright. I should have spent more time on it. The effects are probably the best part of this one, though. Check out the background in the second panel. It exists! how unusual.
I had had this idea on my mind for a while, but had put it off due to the preponderance of Tatanya/Adrianna-centric strips. I like the layout of this one pretty well, but I wish I had made that last panel a lot darker, it throws the balance off. Also, I should have spent more time on the reconstitution chamber, and drawn more ghost-in-the-shell-type medical gadgets. One thing I should clarify is that when Adrianna says "...could you be more specific?" she is basically asking how Robot knows her. Since she's acting all out of it up until that point, I don't think a reader would expect wit from her, so I worried that the line would not be understood. I liked it, though, so I left it in... hopefully no one was confused by it or anything.
No Big Deal
I like this one well enough, it ties several other strips in nicely, establishing a sort of continuity. There's not much to reccommend it on its own merits, though, and the art's a little sloppy.
This one was meant to go before
Adrianna's Reconstitutional, but I forgot about it. Basically, the point was to vaguely establish some reason for Robot to be wandering around in parts of the lab where he normally wouldn't go. It's not a crushing blow to have the narrative disrupted so, but it's a bit annoying. All that scientific clutter was kind of hard to draw, and I don't know if it does anything for anyone. The caterpillar treads on Exoth's La-Z-Boy are shown in full for the first time, that's somewhat exciting. Also, the political machinations of the Vedic nation are hinted at, I don't know if anyone cares.
Nautical Adventure VII
So here we have backgrounds which are hazy, but have a good sense of depth with characters which are much more well defined but very flat looking pasted on top. I guess that couldn't reasonably be avoided in the time frame here. It's kind of interesting how the fastest methods of drawing charcters and backgrounds are totally different. For me at least.
Nautical Adventure VIII
I like the crow which apparently sentient and sympathetic to the brass pirates. The guy is sleeping in the "crow's nest", get it. Yes of course. Those two panels where the alarm clock is dropped should have more space, but otherwise, I like the layouts here a lot. Also the gag where he looks twice as hard (by using two telescopes simultaneously) and this is supposed to make up for only looking half as long? Nice. If I'm allowed to be so enthusiastic about my own joke.
Nautical Adventure IX
The reed boat doesn't stand out enough from the background, especially when the zodiacs are zipping past. Also, that rocket launcher pirate apparently has a carribbean accent, even though Negase's portion of the brass pirates, the ones with military training, are supposed to be from Ethiopia. I guess since that fact was never exposed it doesn't matter, but I would like the comic to have an underlying order. The "speaking dinosaur" gag in the last panel is also pretty good I think.
Nautical Adventure X
I think the panel layout here is really good. Unfortunately, the linkpin fifth panel didn't turn out as well as I had hoped. That weird method of drawing smoke, I thought it would work well, and I guess it would in other circumstances, but it didn't really, here. The lines to make the sky dark don't help, either. I probably should have added something about how attacking with treasure, of which adventurers are normally cripplingly neurotic in their protectiveness, was a shockingly audacious and brilliant tactical maneuver. Chappy is supposed to be quite smart if he ever bothers to think about things. However, it didn't occur to me at the time, oh well.
Nautical Adventure XI
Awesome Action!! Although, the pose in the third panel looked a lot more intense in the initial sketch I did. I redid it again and again, but I just couldn't capture it again. This often happens to me. Anyway, he's saying out loud to himself that he'll ask the boat itself, not the people aboard it. Of course.
Nautical Adventure XII
Negase was supposed to have a climactic sword fight with Chappy on the deck of the Blood Belly, but I wanted to wrap this thing up at this point. Chappy was also supposed to be swallowed by a giant remote-controlled brass mechanical whale controlled by the little boy pirate and Dr. Ossium. The whale would then start venting gouts of black smoke from its blowhole, presumably from Chappy using his fire inside, and go out of control, swimming off over the horizon. It would then be captured by Japanese mechanical whalers (a bunch of honda asimos, I guess) who would split it open and be surprised when Chappy emerged from the wound. He would make his way back eventually, but the ending would be the same. Anyway, I really like the panel where you can see him talking to himself in the scope of Negase's long rifle. Also, I misspelled sergeant.
Nautical Adventure XIII
This is probably the best ending to any Irritability storyline ever.
A Terrible Mistake
For a while, I was playing the 1994 classic game "Master of Magic". One of the heroes in that is a wind mage, upon whom Aelrich is based. He looked pretty ridiculous, and thinking about that led me to think of this strip. Basically how in anime, etc. there's almost always some asshole or another who can shoot out wind, and it cuts people? The explanation usually consists of the word "vacuum". Totally stupid. Exoth misses out on his chance to prove this with citations, however. I'm glad I got to use the talking book gag again. The rocket punch is almost as ubiquitous as the wind blade attack, I thought it would be funny to not include the necessary subsystems, such as stopping the blood flow. I really wish the third panel had come out better, it had the potential to e really good. The only picture in which Exoth looks any good is the last one, though.
Stealth Bomber Head
I can't really say anything much about this one. The joke is right there in the title.
The Monster Translator was introduced way back in 363, and never used since. Also reappearing is Beireia's special spear. It can become very small when not in use, that's why it seems strange that she never has it on her normally but it's there when she needs it. Not sloppy storytelling! Honest! The whole comic, but the first panel especially, would really benefit from a background. The ogre's wound disappears in the last panel, whoops.
What a lame joke! Actually every joke in here is pretty bad. I guess the delivery is pretty good, though, of Pendenne's line in the second panel, at least.
The Zebra Muscle
How zany! I like their conversation, but the booty in panel two could (and should) have been sexier. It feels a little weird being "subtle" with a gag as bizarre as this one... I don't know how many people are familiar with the zebra mussel, but in the end it was funny to me, and that's all that matters.
I wanted to use the color slot for something that would look good with it, but this strip was all I could come up with. I'm a little disappointed in it, the characters are too small to look good, of course, but also, it seems like the way I draw a few things, mouths in particular, look different before and after color is added. Specifically, they look good in black and white, and bad in color. Xcilla's mouth is the worst of it. The backgrounds turned out okay, though I think the strip overall ends up looking a little weird. I really don't have much expertise with picking a color scheme, or setting up compositions for color. It's a good thing I mainly use B+W, then, isn't it?
I had originally planned to explicitly show the dungeon-break, them being caught by Victor Banana, Robot's beating, and Tatanya's betrayal of her fater to save him. I just couldn't figure a way to show it that didn't take six or more comics worth of space to show, and I couldn't come up with any gags I could use while that was going on. I hate having story-only strips that aren't funny. I mean, even for people who crank one out every day it's still annoying, but for me, who is lucky to have one done at the end of every week, it would be just unforgiveable. So, all that plot development gets just a one panel synopsis. The gag here isn't that great, either. I like Enne as a character, but her strips tend to not come out very well. I think she'd work a lot better in a longer format... Who knows.
Epic of the Drunkfruit
It probably should have been "saga of the drunkfruit" since there's runes and all. I could have had a hoboes = vikings theme going on. Anyway, I should have made more space for Exoth' expositionary dialogue in the penultimate panel, I don't think the whole point of the scheme comes across as well as it could. The strip is in that uncomfortable region of length between a single-sized strip in which nothing is crowded, and a double sized strip with loads of empty space. So, unless the script can be padded, you have to chose between a cramped single with brutally shortened dialogue, or a visually boring double. I guess the solution would be to find ways of making panels in which there is very little action look interesting. I still like this strip a lot, though!