When Nonsense Collides!


Cosmos: Old School (1999) - part nine

by Cartoonist_at_Large on 14th Oct 2016, 2:32 AM

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....


Cosmos: Old School (1999) - part eight

by Cartoonist_at_Large on 13th Oct 2016, 1:10 AM


Cosmos: Old School (1999) - part seven

by Cartoonist_at_Large on 12th Oct 2016, 1:10 AM

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....)


Cosmos: Old School (1999) - part six

by Cartoonist_at_Large on 11th Oct 2016, 3:36 AM

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?!



Cosmos: Old School (1999) - part five

by Cartoonist_at_Large on 10th Oct 2016, 1:17 AM

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.


Weekend diversions: Science Island!

by Cartoonist_at_Large on 9th Oct 2016, 2:01 AM

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!


Weekend diversions: Botur's Fight Squad!

by Cartoonist_at_Large on 8th Oct 2016, 3:16 AM

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!

Cosmos: Old School (1999) - part four

by Cartoonist_at_Large on 7th Oct 2016, 3:02 AM

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!



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