When Nonsense Collides!


by Cartoonist_at_Large

Cosmos: Old School (1999) - part nine

Following my Comic Con and Cosmos Trek stories (thanks for the guest blogs, Artie and Gene!), the development of Cosmos continued apace - I now had a
(vaguely) regular rhythm of both one-off strips, nowadays called ‘Randoms’, and multi-part stories; frequently featuring my freshly-minted main cast.
That didn’t mean new elements couldn’t spontaneously arise, far from it:

Murph T. Catt, much like the spot-sneezing Kangaroo Guy before him, was a random non-Cosmosian (and non-green) creature that originated in a doodle I’d idly done a
year or so earlier; as part of a wider selection of designs. I pulled him out, dusted him off, and - because he was particularly unique - stuck him into the strip. He could very
easily have gone the way of Kangaroo guy, except for the fact that A) he looked pretty neat, B) I’d decided to colour him in a bright, eye-catching blue and yellow, and C) I’d
paired him with our friend Gene; his kind-hearted solution to Murph’s insomnia clearly indicating he was a beloved house pet and companion. This proto-Murph looks
very different than he does now - with longer ears, no whiskers, no yellow stripes down his belly, and a truncated body that seems more eel-like than snake-like. This
was his first and only appearance in 1999, and he didn’t show up again (far more refined) until a few months into the next year....

Ahhh, yes, Mail-X. This was intended to be the next long-form Cosmos story, primarily featuring Gene; but also tracking the trials and travails of the conflicted self-aware
mailbox, who pushes Mr. Ellis just a liiiittle toofar in the second strip. I had a vague plan as to where the story was going to go - Mail-X is ‘convinced’ to go into therapy by
Artie and Gene, with Dr. Nitro (for whatever reason) lumped with the task of getting him back on his feet - but for one reason or another, I never scripted or sketched out
any further strips; and the story pretty much went nowhere. It is, unfortunately, one of Cosmos' 'missing links', so unless I create a new version of it at some point....

1999-Jon, you lazy fool! This is all your fault! Still, it works as it is, I guess....


by Cartoonist_at_Large

Cosmos: Old School (1999) - part eight


by Cartoonist_at_Large

Cosmos: Old School (1999) - part seven

Hmm, I wonder how many Red Shirts they were budgeted for per week? If the average number of expendable crew members the ‘Star Trek’
away missions chewed through every episode is any indication, it must have been extremely expensive! And did the Red Shirts have stunt doubles?
Or were they themselves stunt doubles? There is a theory that Red Shirts are merely the product of an on-board vending machine--
Ah, but I digress....

ep, there I am, decked out in my ‘I love Trek’ badge and Federation insignia cap, ready (with the assistance of my co-pilot) to annoy the crew of the
Starship Denterprise more thoroughly than anyone had annoyed them before! Ah, yes, the promise of primo collectibles, from simple photographs
to battle-scarred hull plates - the anticipation was almost unbearable! (Huh, I’ve just realised: shouldn’t they have been calling us ‘Trekkers’ rather
than the clearly derogatory ‘Trekkies’? Bad Form, Bad form....)


by Cartoonist_at_Large

Cosmos: Old School (1999) - part six

Grande Con 1999 was the seventh such event held at the Pago Grande Convention Centre (Ah! Such a wonderful tradition!), and the first that I attended;
soon after I moved into town and became friends with Artie, Ax and Macy. Ms. Styles, of course, declined to join us at the ‘Con, on the grounds that she
would rather, and I quote, “Juggle a half-dozen hand grenades.... Blindfolded.” Okay, lady, whatever....

Among the many-varied splendors of Grande Con (and believe me, there was a heapin’ helpin’!) were the following:

Oh, c’mon! They were playing the first 15 episodes of ‘Super Dimensional Fortress Macross’ that day! Uncut! What was I supposed to do?!



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.