You know things are bad when I am fall behind posting a strip that has been done for over ten years. We are in the throes of final exams. In fact, I am posting this while proctoring my final in Sensory Biology. All other finals are graded and I only have three more final papers to grade, so the end is in sight. But since it has been so long, here are three (count ’em three) strips for today. In these are begin taking more cheap shots at the grim & gritty, hard-boiled look-kids-comics-are-serious comics of the 1990s. How on earth did Jack Kirby write decent stories without showing a periodic beheading or gruesome vivisection? It’s a mystery. The final strip is my commentary of the strained formula used by writers to bring heroes together for a team-up/fight.
One of the unspoken powers of all comic book superheroes is immortality. They just keep having the same adventures over and over and over again with each generation changing to the mythology around the character so that the character themselves don’t actually have to change. Gotta keep the franchise and properties in play, after all. Anyway, here we posit the possibility of a character growing old normally while playing with the forbidden knowledge that all time travelers inevitably confront (whether they know it or not).
Given that the universe is filled with constant explosions and massive discharges of energy, it has always amazed me how fragile the space/time continuum is in comics. Every time you turn around there’s another explosion ripping apart the shear fabric of reality. What’s worse is that it’s always the portal to some inhabited alternate reality that eventually spills into our own with tragic results. How come we never open rifts in space/time that connect us to universes full of chocolate flavored broccoli full of our recommended daily allowances of everything?
Here’s where things get autobiographical (see this post for an explanation). Oh, and we have another attempt at topical commentary.
I tried some new things with the art here. In panel one of the first strip we have the very first time I ever had characters in the distance casting ominous shadows into the foreground. I don’t know why the kamikaze burritos aren’t also in black. Probably because I didn’t make the doorway wide enough to leave their silhouettes recognizable. Panel four of the same strip was something new for me as well. Usually I felt compelled to keep the character’s head in the panel. This was the first time (I should check the other strips to be sure, but…nah) that, for dramatic effect, I didn’t. In the second strip I got to use the word “fakin’” which is one of my favorites. I also tried out a big ol’ foreshortened Jack Kirky hand for Cow-Boy’s dramatic return to health in the third panel.
Not much commentary on this one. Looks like I used the ol’ wise-appeal-to-compassion-that-is-quickly-cast-aside-in-light-of-the-main-character’s-banality formula. Toss in a reference to Star Trek and a bad food pun and we have cartoon gold. Actually, it is more like cartoon pyrite. Anyway, in a few strips we will have honest to gosh fisticuffs. Stay tuned!
Let the invasion begin! This strip was inspired by a trip to Cactus Jack’s, my favorite burrito place during grad school. Or, maybe it is more accurate to say, AFTER a trip to Cactus Jack’s because that night I was attacked by my bean and cheese burrito. And, believe you me, it felt Earth shattering at the time. In fact, it was almost a whole DAY before I could bring my self to eat a burrito again.
Anyway, in the midst of my roiling gastrointestinal pain, I imagined the damage that burritos could do if they ever evolved into spiteful, intelligent being with world conquering aspirations. Thus, were born the burrito people and their leader the Burrito Supreme. In retrospect, it could be argued that this idea was, in many ways, just something I pulled out of my…well… you know…the place where all my ideas come from.
In terms of art, I tried a few new tricks here, specifically the silhouetted control console in the foreground of panel four. Also, I went for a three quarters birds eye shot of the ship’s interior which deviated from the eye level perspective to which I typically adhered so rigidly. I was also trying to draw more detail in the background, a practice I avoided during the hasty pace of making a daily strip for the Notre Dame newspaper.