When Nonsense Collides!


by Cartoonist_at_Large

Cosmos: Old School (2000) - part fourteen


by Cartoonist_at_Large

Cosmos: Old School (2000) - part thirteen



by Cartoonist_at_Large

Cosmos: Old School (2000) - part twelve

Although Artie, Gene and co. were well and truly the stars of Cosmos by now, there were still plenty of other fill-in-the-blank Cosmosians popping up in my selections
of Randoms; partly just for a bit of variety - sure, I could have the main cast tell EVERY joke going, but sometimes a fresh perspective on a situation is called for, since
not everything I come up with is uniquely suited for Artie and the others - but also because I am well aware that the melting pot of Cosmosian, um, humanity is a gold
mine for potential new characters. Sometimes, though, it takes a while for me to realise that....

Top: as I’m sure I’ve stated in the past, I have at least two ‘main casts’, one in Pago Grande - Gene and co. - and the other in the Cosmosian equivalent of England
(Peter, Timmy, Jamie etc.). These two enterprising youngsters, in a basic gag cartoon, were (a couple of years later) dusted off and dubbed ‘The Tolstoy Twins’; being 
incorporated into the B-Team universe as allies of Peter Anderson and his friends. I had no idea (in June of 2000) that the pair were even going to be anything other than
a one-off example of typical Cosmosian weirdness, but they appealed to me, and I brought them back.  They go to the same school as Peter and Timmy but - being only 6
years old - are quite a few grades / forms / years below them. Since they showed up first, though, this (rather than the first appearance of Peter a couple of months later)
is the point where the A-Team / B-Team cast divergence occurred.... well, in hindsight, anyway. 
Bottom: This strip is an example of ‘close, but not quite’ - the joke works, but since you never actually see the decoys, only hear them, you have no idea what’s even going
on until the last panel. If done properly, the ‘deliberate withholding’ principle can work - and has worked - quite well, but I think I took it one step too far here: at least knowing
the guy was actually duck hunting, or at least lurking on the shore of a lake, would have helped clue people in.

Top: That’s better! Leave it up to Ax and Macy to put a good joke in there for me - thanks guys! I have a sneaking suspicion this gag isn’t as unique as I thought it was
(there is a memory of coming across pretty much the same thing in another comic strip later on, in my head) but hey, if it works, it works!
Bottom: Who is Joel Schumacher, you may ask? The guy who directed the truly dire ‘Batman Forever’ and ‘Batman and Robin’, that’s who - but would anyone reading the
joke actually know that? If they were a geek, maybe.... but everybody else? Most likely not. As with the duck hunter strip above, providing just a liiiiiiitle bit more information
may have helped it work a lot better than it does; since this one tanked in audience testing. Either it was just a meaningless random name, or people thought I was talking
about racing car driver MICHAEL Schumacher (cue even more confusion than option one). Derp....

Top: Playing around with cartoon physics (or is it simply false perceptions?) is always fun to do - especially when I can come up with succinct little scenarios
like this one. Are they on a film set, or not? Ha ha, you just can’t tell, can you?
Bottom: Yet another example of the ‘hint, don’t show’ principle done properly, here - we don’t need to know at all what caused Baking Day to go so spectacularly
pear-shaped, or even try to figure it out.... because simply seeing the results is far funnier than any explanation of what happened between ‘Let’s do some baking!’ and
‘‘Five minutes later....’ To say nothing of the fact that Macy’s silent observation of the chaos, followed by her world-weary “Baking day....” suggests that this is by
no means an unfamiliar situation to her; even funnier still....


by Cartoonist_at_Large

Cosmos: Old School (2000) - part eleven

Some of my more successful comics come from my playing around with the ‘rules’ of comic strips, and cartoon physics in general, either finding a new way to exploit
a hoary old cliche or totally subverting it in that specially-twisted way that I frequently do. The following strips are prime examples of this practice, with all manner of
well-left-of-centre results coming from them....

Top: This one came from me pondering “What would happen if thought / speech bubbles were tangible objects? What would happen if two of
them collided?” Well, ask a silly question....
Bottom: cartoon characters also have all sorts of interactions with the boxes that form the ‘boundaries’ of a comic strip panel - running into them,
jumping between them, hanging from them.... or, as shown here, shaking them apart by stomping around in the scene too hard!

Above: I have no idea where this story came from (and I’m not sure I want to, given its utter bizarrity) but I’m glad I managed to sculpt it into shape - it is,
I guess, a statement on the desperate ‘improvements’ that TV show executives come up with to bring in / win back viewers; whether they even make
one ounce of sense, or actually make the show better.....

Above: Gene’s war on Trek continues, as he makes use of his complete and utter contempt for the concept of ‘limits’ ....
for Evil! For shame, Mr. Ellis, for shame.

Top: The idea for this comic came to me, believe it or not, at 5AM in the morning, when I was groggy, half asleep and possibly delusional - which
tells you rather a lot, doesn’t it? I hastily transcribed the dialogue exactly as it popped into my head at the time, and steadfastly refused to tweak it in any way....
because frankly, you don’t look that sort of gift horse in the mouth.
Bottom: Another play on the supposed mechanics of comic strips - was the situation you come across in the first panel already in progress before you got there,
or does it suddenly start then and there, regardless of the logical disconnect that may result later on? I think we can answer that here....


by Cartoonist_at_Large

Cosmos: Old School (2000) - part ten

The interaction between Artie and Gene, I can safely say, is one of the things that made Cosmos work so much better than any of the other (fatally short-lived) comic strips
I created in the past - their occasionally antagonistic relationship, their camaraderie, the fact that they are in most cases diametrically opposite (Artie being the sensible,
reserved one and Gene the obnoxious troublemaker) adds that certain spark that makes them fodder for so, so many stories. Case in point: this one. It all started with me
pondering the weird effect that the full moon apparently has on people, altering their behaviour in strange and unpredictable ways. In doing so, I suddenly thought
“By the Spires of Iacon! What if it happened to Gene?” Yes, the little fellow is already plenty bizarro-world as it is, so perhaps him acting even weirder than normal
wouldn’t exactly be that noticeable.... Unless, of course, something REALLY drastic happened:

Yes, that’s right, I went there. Clearly, since Artie only met Gene part-way through 1999, either he hadn’t experienced ‘Full Moon Fever’ first hand (only heard about it)....
or,  if he had, the effect was unpredictable - you had no idea what you were going to end up with, each and every time. Artie lucked out this time, though, didn’t he?

Top: What is it with Cosmosians and attractive human females? In fact, what is it with ANY non-human cartoon character
and attractive human females? It’s just weird, is what it is.
Bottom: Power corrupts - and Artie realising he can actually milk this thing for all it’s worth corrupts completely.
That is one eeeeeevil grin he’s sporting there.

Top: The Yoda test..... Gene is well and truly immersed in his new were-persona, by the looks of things.
Bottom: Proof positive that geeks are A) totally weird, and B) the most unbelievably awesome people in the universe.

Oh, Artie, you just had to say it, didn’t you? Oh well, now it’s your turn, I guess....