Welcome back to the year 2000! Ax got us started in the last installment, so now it’s up to me to pick up the baton and continue chronicling the evolution of Cosmos into
its present (utterly demented) state. The strip was now clearly partitioned into a rotating roster of Randoms (gag-a-day strips), Themed Randoms (gag-a-day around a
particular subject), stories (multi-part strips) and Sundays (strips with up to eight - or rarely more - panels), with Artie, Gene and co. most definitely in charge. Perhaps due
to its time-consuming nature - I was colouring things in by hand back then - I slowly started phasing out full-colour randoms and stories; usually reserving the
CMYK spectrum for Sunday strips, as was the practise with most newspaper comics at that time. But there was still plenty of colour to go around for the first few months:
Above: what I know about golf wouldn’t even fill the corners of a particularly small thimble.... But since the basic concept of hit ball with club >>
ball goes somewhere >> follow it seemed fairly self-evident, I could still easily create comics about it....
Above: It’s Murph! After his blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance on some Christmas card art, Gene’s favourite feline returned for his very own set of Themed Randoms.
Like the earliest Type One Cosmosians (and Garfield before them), Murph talked through the medium of thought bubbles - but, since it actually made sense this time
(He’s a Cosmosian animal, rather than a Cosmosian Cosmosian), I stuck with the idea; meaning his pal Newton and other critters can understand him, but Gene and co.
can’t..... Well, usually. His key occupation in this series is the venerable cat art of securing extra bonus food by means fair or foul,
whether Gene has anything to say about it or not!
Top: Cosmos gets subversive. As I said before, my comics have served as a convenient platform for social commentary, satire and make-you-think parodies of modern
life; with strips such as this being one of the earliest examples of the practice. It’s a bit rough around the edges, but it gets the job done.
Bottom: Who is Jamie Styles? This is her one and only appearance in the whole of Cosmos history, and I still have no idea what I intended to do with her. I vaguely
remember considering a whole series of strips - which would pop up every now and again like a running gag - for the frenetic bespectacled one, but nothing ever came of it;
and I more or less forgot about her. However, the surname ‘Styles’ was soon thereafter attached to Ax’s lady-love Macy, which suggests there is some sort of familial
connection between the two Cos-ladies. But are they sisters? Cousins? Adopted second aunts twice-removed on their mother’s side? Cosmos continuity provides
absolutely no answers, so for the moment I’m rather baffled. Stay tuned, though, I’ll figure something out....
TO BE CONTINUED....
The thing about Macy is, underneath her tough-barbs-and-sarcasm attitude, she’s actually rather insecure. okay, very insecure. before she joined our little group, her artistic aspirations were deader than disco; and her life as a whole was running on empty. Sure, we’ve managed to make her outlook a lot brighter (especially me, her oh-so-significant other) - but she’s still chock-full of tasty, tasty neuroses. And back in 1999, she was more fragile than most:
Yehhhh.... Let’s just say Macy was sorta prone to flipping out at the drop of the hat in those days, usually over the trendiest anxiety-of-the-week
(you should’ve seen her during the Colossal Corn Crisis of ‘01!). And, of course, Gene wasn’t exactly helping matters....
What do I love most about Macy? Her art, of course! Hand her a pile of junk and some tools, and she can create a thing of true beauty in no time
flat.... and then sell it for a tidy profit soon after, too! But when artisitc talent and paranoia combine in her brain, the results can be.... interesting....
Yup, I knew all about good conspiracy theories, and Y2K was anything but - it was hokum, through and through! Well, apart from those rolling blackouts in Melvinville.... and the weird lights in the sky.... and those microwaves that lead that protest march for equality-- anyway! Macy had backed herself into her own little corner, so it fell to us to coax (okay, forcibly drag) her out of there! And wouldn’t you know it, Gene had a cunning plan:
TO BE CONTINUED....
It's a bit of a 'behind the scenes' artwork gracing this installment of my sketchbook chronicles: a rough version of one of my 'Big Comic Con Caper' strips from 2008! Normally,
I scribble them down (fairly small) in an exercise book; but being bereft of said book on that occasion, but blessed with a bit of time and a handy piece of A4 paper,
I roughed out my nascent idea in XL size!
Well, this is interesting - I did this character roster in early 2001 (I can tell that based on what Tony Corvell looks like), and there seem to be a whole bunch of characters you've probably never seen before! Artimus Frink, Co-pilot and Tork (along with Professor Pod) work together as 'Explorers Inc.', of course, but.... Rufus Max? The Big Boss? Fuzzy Dice? They are concepts that, unfortunately, slipped through the cracks without really gaining a foothold - none of those characters, in fact, have ever even appeared IN the strip. Rufus Max was supposed to be an intergalactic trucker - which means he is not actually a Cosmosian, simply visiting from elsewhere - with The Big Boss being the volatile-tempered fish-in-a-robot-suit who employed him; while Fuzzy Dice are a rock band (some Cosmosians, some not) who I considered co-opting from an even earlier incarnation where the two Cosmosians were humans and the band was called 'Fuzzy Fish and the Dice Men'. Very glad I changed that name....
Back into the archives we go! This time around, we present the art that graced an birthday card envelope early in 2000; for my good friend
Jeremy! It was one of the first times I'd used Cosmosian-ised Transformers in the strip, but it certainly wouldn't be the last!