Cosmos

When Nonsense Collides!

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by Cartoonist_at_Large

Filksong-along!

Well, if there's one thing I enjoy, at least as much as drawing, it's writin' me up a filksong! I'm not sure how I got into it - I suspect that the mad stylings of Mad Magazine parody songs and Weird Al Yankovic are to blame - and I certainly don't have any formal training writing songs or singing; but I seem to be developing the art quite nicely. I've done at least a dozen filk-things thus far, and there's quite a few others (in embryonic form) floating around in my subconscious: here's the latest two in the set, for your maximum enjoyment!

 

by Cartoonist_at_Large

Score one for Mr. Vince!

Okay, so, this arrived the other day:

 

 

To say “I would have waited an eternity for this moment” is neither a gratuitous (if highly appropriate) in-joke, nor an understatement: I really did
not expect to have this sucker in my possession. Ever. Although I do have the original 1986 Transformers movie soundtrack—on old-school
cassette tape, no less—this is an entirely different animal.... A complete collection of every bit of instrumental music composed for the film, by one
Vince Di Cola! Part of what made Transformers: The movie so unbearably awesome was Mr. Di Cola’s 80’s-tastic synth-rock anthems; which covered everything from epic battles to somber death scenes (spoiler alert: Prime doesn’t make it). But aside from legally-iffy recordings on Youtube and limited-editions-of-whoops-we’ve-sold-outalready compilations released at transformers conventions, how was I supposed to get my hands on some pure, unadulterated Vince-ness?

Well, thank you, intrada.com, I finally have my answer.

 

 

The CD has some lovely packaging, with the original movie poster on the cover (which also doubles as a pull-out booklet); and some screenshots
of Megatron being x-rayed / Galvatronicised, and the swirly ‘technovortex’ from the opening credits on the inside. The booklet itself presents a
potted history of the Transformers brand and 1986 movie, but more importantly tells you everything you need to know about Mr. Di Cola, his
contribution to the project (especially how he tailored his musical compositions to the different sequences in the story), and all the stuff he’s
been up to since. A good deal of this stuff i did not know before, which is an added bonus....

There are places, however, where I wonder how carefully the author fact-checked his Transformers info before sending it off to print:

1) he states that many characters were trashed to ‘make way for a shiny new toyline’, but then provides the Insecticons, Dinobots and Constructicons
(who had all been around since midway-through season 1 of the TV show, and were hardly ‘new’ by 1986) as examples,

2) the Insecticons are called ‘Insectoids’ and the Junkions ‘Junkticons’ (what, did they switch sides or something?),

3) the Matrix of Leadership is referred to as ‘the hope-giving Energon crystals’, and

4) love-him-or-hate-him human companion Daniel Witwicky is described as ‘the spunky human kid Kevin.’

Kevin?!

Who the flip-flopping flippity-flop is Kevin?!

Ah, you can but laugh.

 

 

The CD—obviously, the meat in this Transformers sandwich of Awesome—contains a whopping 25 music tracks (nearly 75 minutes worth),
all as originally composed and recorded; which were then fitted around the seven other equally-epic rock hits making up the aforementioned
soundtrack (such as ‘The Touch’ by Stan Bush and ‘Dare to be Stupid’ by Weird Al Yankovic). Listening to the unadulterated musical score—
several times, on high rotation, I will admit—it was interesting to note that even though the tracks are presented in ‘chronological order’, i.e,
matched to each major sequence in the film from start to finish, by Vince; in the final film several of them were either edited down,
shifted to a different scene, or swapped out for one of the soundtrack songs.

An example here is track 3, ‘Space Attack’—intended, if my story sequence / music progression idea is accurate, for when Megatron hijacks the
Autobot shuttle; but is replaced instead by NRG’s ‘Instruments of Destruction’ in the movie. However, all is not lost: track 19, ‘Decepticon attack’,
contains a variant of track three’s bombastic tune, and shows up (in full) during the Junkion sequence, where Galvatron and co. ambush
Ultra Magnus’ crew while
they repair their crashed spacecraft.

One track that was definitely not in the movie is the last on the CD, ‘Legacy’—but if anything, it may be the most important of the lot: as it is the original
musical ‘proof of concept’ that Vince Di cola created to get himself the Transformers movie gig in the first place! It’s a brilliant piece of music in every
sense of the word, but this track holds an extra, special relevance for me personally.... I posted a YouTube link to it on my Yoobee film class
Facebook page, and everyone found it particularly inspiring: especially our tutor, who could henceforth be heard whistling the main ‘hero theme’
as he strolled down the corridors; played the entire thing as a musical accompaniment to a presentation later in the year; and then used it as the
theme song for our big1980’s-influenced end-of-course student film exhibition!

by Cartoonist_at_Large

Out now from the Fight Squad....

Hot off the press, and joining the ranks of the less-than-totally-corrupt in the Fight Squad universe.... the theropodian mayor of Rome, Magnanimous Rex!

by Cartoonist_at_Large

A novel approach....

I've written a book! In the last month or so, I typed 'the end' into my manuscript for my first long-form fiction story: the sci-fi / humour / adventure novel 'Island of the Bargain Basement Dinosaurs'. It's basically a pop-culture soaked love letter to all the old-school dinosaur movies, comics, documentaries, books and cartoons that accompanied my formative years; and later propelled me into a Bachelors / Post-graduate Diploma / Masters degree in geological science! This is something I've had on the boil since before even Cosmos - Island started off as an partial outline for a straight-up 'bad dinosaur movie' story around 1996 (at least), and evolved through a succession of iterations from that point on; moving progressively toward its final form.... and getting more and more meta every time. And no, I'm not going to give out spoilers on the plot - you'll simply have to wait until I've finished stage two of the project: illustrating it! I've done quite a number of illustrations for it thus far (including the front / back cover art and a set of pieces I did for a design school book-making asignment), but there's still quite a way to go - there's thirty-plus chapters, guys! Presented this time is all the artwork for chapter one, featuring the lovely (and frighteningly-smart) Marie Fisher, the heroine (with her two stalwart companions) of the story....

by Cartoonist_at_Large

Stand by for action!

Hello there! Jon Kay, cartoonist-at-large, reporting in! Now that I've got some semblance of a site hashed out, and there's some actual content on it, I feel it's high time I got mah blog on! 'Cause I've got some explaining to do. As a comic strip, Cosmos has been around since -wait for it - 1999, but it's only very recently that I've had enough time in my life to seriously think about putting it up online; let alone knowing there were sites like this on which to put it! My little world has two main era: the 'Old-School' age (1999 - 2007), where I hand-laid out, hand-drew, hand-lettered and hand-everything'd my strip, with fairly small panels and rather cramped text (especially if there was lot of it, which - more often than not - left less room for drawing than was desirable); and the 'New-School' age (2008 - right now), when I got myself a scanner and a laptop, and was able to draw much bigger comic strip panels - two per page, rather than two rows of four per page as before - and add all the dialogue, sound effects etc. on top in Adobe Illustrator and / or InDesign; and resize everything to fit pretty much any situation. So revolutionary! The strips I'm posting up at the moment are all new-school strips, in chrono-illogical order.... But wait! I hear you cry, why haven't you started with the old-school strips, and give us Cosmos from Day zero? Well, there's several reasons for that: one, the new-school strips are all already digitalised, and are rarin' to go right now. Two, the majority of the old-school strips (like, 90%) haven't even seen the inside of a scanner yet, let alone been whipped into shape for website-readiness. And third, I thought presenting Cosmos in its refined form first, and giving you something sharp and snazzy to familiarise yourselves with, would be better than forcing you to slog through my archaeological-grade pen-scratchings without proper preparation....

But don't despair! Once I've served up the first new-school story or so, and built up enough of an audience to understand what the deal is, then I will gladly unveil the history of Cosmos in part-work form, in and around the new-school stuff, with all proper footnotes and documentation - because, hey, now that you know the whole 'Cosmos back catalogue' thing exists, you'll just be dying to know what's in it, right? Yep, thought so.....