When Nonsense Collides!


by Cartoonist_at_Large

Cosmos: Old School (1999) - part five

By April of 1999, although plenty of generic characters were showing up, Cosmos had begun to feature its developing main cast more frequently - although, interestingly (judging by this selection of strips), I had still failed to one key thing: refer to anyone other than Gene (or Dr. Nitro) by name! I clearly thought Artie and Gene were worth hanging onto, because they popped up again in separate strips (making this Artie’s fourth appearance, and Gene’s second):

But then, lo and behold, they showed up on-panel.... together! Artie knowing Ax and Macy was an indisputable fact by now, as well as his movie-nights with another (unnamed) Type One Cosmosian; but Artie and Gene causing trouble as a unit? THAT was new. And, effectively, the final piece in the puzzle that made the whole ‘main cast’ thing fit into one seamless whole. It’s just a shame their first double-act is such a continuity icecream sandwich headache....

Each of these four strips are serviceable enough on their own - Gene’s inexplicable colour-reversed sweater in the first one notwithstanding -
but when you put them together? They all contradict one another!

In the first strip, Gene is looking back on his time at a ‘Weekly World News’-style oddball newspaper, happily name-dropping various fringe-science tropes....

But in the second strip, he seems bemused and wholly sceptical when Artie presents him with a prime example of just such a news story.....

While in the third, he is ‘raging against the machine’ and lambasting his favourite subject-matter as mindless drivel....

And in the fourth, both he and Artie are working for ANOTHER whacko-news paper, and has a major throwing-his-toys incident when they dare ask them to
prepare a story that DOESN’T feature something utterly bizarre!

The canonicity of these strips is problematic, and not just for the above reasons. After this point, Gene’s former career was never mentioned again - he now works in the electronics section of a department store - and Ax (perhaps because I forgot about these particular strips) ended up turning into the big conspiracy theory / unsolved mysteries / I-like-journalism-and photography guy instead! If I keep Gene’s past life intact, it makes him and Ax far too similar; but if I de-canonise some or all of the Artie / Gene newspaper gags, then I’m basically deleting their first joint appearance from history! Uuugh.


by Cartoonist_at_Large

Weekend diversions: Science Island!

Remember that novel I've written? The one I'm now doing umpteen zillion illustrations for? Well, here's the next vital installment - a good part of the action in the first almost-half of the novel takes place on the artificial landmass known as Science Island; a facility maintained by the GSRS (Global Scientific Research and Securities Agency). Since I needed to have a good handle on where the various scenes in the story took place in relation to one another, I concocted schemtatics of not only Science Island - boy oh boy, did that take a while - but also, located in the north-west quadrant of the island, the plot-crucial Lab-block 16-E! Feast your eyes!


by Cartoonist_at_Large

Weekend diversions: Botur's Fight Squad!

Since it's not a Cosmos: Old School day today (that's Monday through Friday, for those of you keeping score at home), I shall instead showcase some of my other artwork! And it's the furious Fight Squad project's turn - behold the minty-fresh character profile for the 9-to-5'er turned wannabe supervillain, Stock Jockey!

by Cartoonist_at_Large

Cosmos: Old School (1999) - part four

For better or worse, our friend Eugene Carmichael Ellis usually headlines whatever story he appears in; being pretty much an unstoppable force when he sets his mind to it. Kind of ironic then, that he is merely a bit-player in this next series of Cosmos strips—and only co-originator of the Type Three Cosmosian body-form! As with the other main cast members, he had a fairly low-key start, serving as a sounding board for the ramblings of another (unnamed) character:

Ignoring the rather, um, low-brow tone of the strip (Please? Can you do that for me?), we can see that Gene is A) named, B) sort of kind of wearing his signature costume, and C) already fitted with his signature snark. Nevertheless, he seems somewhat more restrained than he ended up being; and definitely plays second-fiddle to his cartoonist friend—almost as if.... GASP!.... he wasn’t intended to go any further. And for the rest of the month, he didn’t. The Type Three Cosmosian was in town, though, and rapidly added to the variety of the ad-hoc species Cosmos sapiens....

As you can see, Artie also made a return performance, looking even more clearly defined as his own character; and again watching movies with his Type One companion. The Type Two and Three variants were easier to individualise than the Type Ones, as I could give the former a more complete wardrobe than, say, ‘add a hat’ or ‘put eye-lashes / hair on it’; which is obviously why I kept using them after I introduced them—variety, as well as flexibility. Could I have gone as far with Cosmos if I’d just stuck with the Type One guys? Hmm, probably not; especially since, in their raw state, one generic Cosmosian looks exactly the same as another. My strip had to expand beyond its initial ‘random guys and random jokes’ motif to have any sort of a future.... and what do you know? Now it did!



by Cartoonist_at_Large

Cosmos: Old School (1999) - part three

The dating on my earliest Cosmos strips is rather inconsistent—for example, I don’t think I drew up EVERY strip marked ‘3/1/99’ on the 3rd of January, 1999, let alone coloured them in; simply that I came up with the ideas on that day—but I can at least put them in the right sort of order to chart their evolution over time. By February of 1999, for example, I had something of a stable formula going: the little green guys were Cosmosians, and they were distinguished from one another by differences in size and shape, as well as costume. Still no continuing characters, though.... Oh, wait, no, never mind:

The first was the inimitable Dr. Nitro: he’s shown up here and there in the strip since, occasionally running afoul of Gene and co., but never really got to ‘main character’ status. He is important, though, not only being well-defined right from the get-go, but also being the first Cosmos character to get an actual name! But as for the next ones....

There was another solo appearance by Proto-Artie, looking much more like his final form, three-fingered hands notwithstanding; but he is still anonymous:

While the protagonist in my first-ever multi-part Cosmos story (which, unfortunately, I never really finished) is clearly one Ax Maxwell, right? But in the four strips I did for the tale of the ‘Fanboy Mafia’—really need to bring those guys back—no-one ever refers to him by name either! I clearly liked his modified-Type-One design (and his stripy hat, which he seems to have stolen from Proto-Artie), given that I used him for four strips in a row; but as to who he was, no-one reading it would have a clue. Furthermore, in the fourth strip:

Who were these people? Why are they helping Ax? Where did they even come from? In one fell swoop, I introduced Macy, brought back Artie, and directly linked them to Ax (thereby creating most of the main cast, to boot).... and then proceeded to give no clue as to who anyone even was! Oh, 1999-Jon.... It also doesn’t help that the joke doesn’t particularly make sense (I’m not entirely sure where I was going with that—let’s take Artie’s sage advice and leave before it does, huh?); so such a landmark strip falls just a liiiitle flat. Still, it was a start....

But hang on, wasn’t there someone missing?