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Best Laid Plans

Best Laid Plans published on 4 Comments on Best Laid Plans

After thumbnails, I work to size, with a #2 pencil and a smooth lightweight paper.  No more small stuff, I rule out my page, and panel edges. I work from loose scribbles, slowly tightening and erasing.  Dialogue is quickly scribbled in, to give me a sense of how much space it’s going to take up. Hopefully by now my research is serving its purpose and the drawings are flowing without much time spent comparing to reference.  Sometimes a new pose or new way to frame the action occurs to me, and I re-draw that panel on a separate sheet because the panel on the main sheet is too cluttered to easily erase.  I’ll composite that panel back in as I work on the tight pencils.  This stage takes the most effort, as this is when problems in rendering and structure present themselves.  It’s a constant effort for me to slow down, and fix or more thoroughly realize an element that’s troublesome, as it’s my nature to put it off.  But if I don’t know how it’s supposed to look, and I try to wing it in the inks, it will only look like crap.  It’s taken me a long time to learn that lesson– I’m still learning it! Drawing can be a constant fight against our own inertia. Without an undo button, I’m forced to learn good habits, or get used to publishing crap (or throwing a lot of stuff away).

Best laid Plans

Best laid Plans published on 2 Comments on Best laid Plans

Nothing like a Charger to totally wreck your evening.

Sort of like a mid-season finale.

Speaking of zombies and mid-season finales… I miss “The Walking Dead” (That’s how you segway people).

It’s not so much the mid-season finale that has me bummed out as it is that I’ll have no weekly Zombie programming to look forward to until February.

*SPOILERS FOLLOW–Both TV Series and Comic*  (Spoilers and evidence that I’ve watched way too much TV)

I wonder if AMC will have the stones to deal with Shane in the same way the comic did.  Seriously, it has to go down like that and it needs to go down on the farm. Shane is a fine actor and well executed character to my mind but in order for the story to make forward progress–he’s got to go.

If he doesn’t I fear that the series will go the meandering way of “Lost.” Don’t think “Lost” plods along, then queue it up on Netflix and watch a full season. Then finish this blog…

See fuck all happened.

That’s because the series became profitable so they drug it on and on and on. The medium and business side of the show impacted the art and storytelling. Finally, it was all such a jumbled mess that (if I recall correctly) Locke shot JR, but it was all actually a dream.

So Carl needs to shoot Shane, and  Shane needs to die.

Then the story can roll along and off Maggie’s Farm (a nice Bob Dylan song too by the way).



The Rolling Dead

The Rolling Dead published on No Comments on The Rolling Dead

Every Monday Jim sends me a new finished strip, and every Monday I tell my wife, “This is the best one we’ve done!”

No doubt, I’ll say it again next Monday, but for now this is certainly my favorite.

It’s tough to tell a complete story, minimize dialog, and keep it funny in under a page–my hats off to my comic brethren who can pull it off in three panels.

To my mind this is one of our most successful pieces in all those regards. We’ve got four well realized characters (five if you count “The Roller!”), nice set-up in Panel 1 that leaves you wondering what that lovable scamp is up to, curious Mom delivers a Panel 2 joke set-up that the Boy kills in Panel 3 with the big “Roller Reveal.” Panel 4 establishes the final, and strongest, joke via the Girl’s enthusiastic outburst which leaves the reader with the aggravated Mom scolding the inappropriately proud Dad.

What does it all mean?

Well, hopefully it means someone at Valve will read it, pass it on to the Grand Master of Gaming Gabe–who’ll shoot Jim and I an invite to tour the studios. We’d gladly sign over the rights to “The Roller” special infected as well.

Think it over Valve.

Oh and Alyx Vance better not die in Episode 3… just saying.



The Rolling Dead

The Rolling Dead published on 5 Comments on The Rolling Dead

Happy Halloween! Or Jesus Ween, if you’re so inclined.  I love the idea of Jesus Ween because I love double entendres! And I particularly love it when people are oblivious to them. But my favorite form of celebration this time of year has to be the Mexican form.  Sugar skulls, papier-mache devils, good food, good drink– Dia De Los Muertos is the way to go.

It Takes a Village

It Takes a Village published on No Comments on It Takes a Village

Cats have a natural attraction to the Big Gulp.  Poor Darryl is fighting a battle he’ll never win.  With that cleared up…

Johnny’sCake is the character I most associate with my own experience.  That’s not to say Unicorn Soup is autobiographical, it’s not, though dashes of reality creep in.  So here’s a dash, perhaps a Mrs. Dash—I always play the female characters in Left 4 Dead games.  In L4D, it was all Zoey all the time.  In L4D2, as this comic depicts, Rochelle was my girl.

I love Valve’s female leads.

*Editor’s note*  The following anecdote contains hyperbole, myth and a complete disregard for the Oxford Comma.

Nearly a year ago, when my wife and I found out we were expecting our first child, she suggested that if we had a girl we might consider naming her “Zoey.”

Every nerd molecule of my being exploded in a symphony of joy… it was all I could do to restrain myself from pushing my glasses back up the bridge of my nose, thrusting my index finger into the air and shouting, “Mmmmm!  Capital idea!”

As an experienced husband I knew that my wife wouldn’t love the idea of naming our first child after a videogame heroine—even Zoey.

It wound up being a moot point as we wound up having a beautiful boy–Indiana Gandalf Janney Jr.