And here's Boss Moloch, properly stomping in the new year. And you thought I was kidding . . .
Last year, I let thing 2 decide on the color scheme, which explains the pinks, purples and oranges in the decorations. This year, I gave it over to Thing 1, and he wanted blue and silver. He loves the expression; he's been walking around all day doing the Boss Moloch "whoo-pee". Nothing makes me happier than when one of my children get a joke. The footyprints were a last minute decision; I didn't want him simply spray-painting over a banner again, and considering how much I feel like wiping my shitty shoes on life, this seemed to work.
By the way, the "S.S.D.Y." is short for "same shit, different year". Can you tell I don't have very high expectations for the upcoming 365?
Doc "Deja Vu All Over Again" Absurd
So, I'm posting my New Year's picture from 2004. In all honesty, I did this on a lark, using my devil character (Sattanish, or "Stan" for short) to properly "unwelcome" 2004. Little did I know how prophetic it would be . . .
Stay tuned immediately following for this year's version. I decided to regularly feature a different villain to properly stomp on the upcoming year.
Doc "Out With the Old" Absurd
As promised, here's my first colored version of Nosecone:
Nosecone Johnson first attempt
A couple of things of note:
- There's no inks on this picture. I discovered, through simple trial and error, how to manipulate my pencils in PhotoShop (program of the gods) so they look nice and dark. While I occassionally still do ink my work, I've found I save bunches and bunches of time taking the pencils straight into PS. Yeah, I do miss the line weight variances, but I'm truly happy with the overall look. I honestly never realized how tight my pencils were until someone pointed it out to me.
- At this point, I had PS for about 6 months. I didn't even know how to get that glow around a figure (thanks, howy, wherever you are). The background was generated through another program, which I still need to download (thanks, Scott, wherever you are). I have a couple different starry backgrounds I use just for pin-ups, but I really do need to make a few more.
- He's supposed to be holding a flagpole. When this was done, I had yet to design his logo, a problem which has been fixed and you'll see on his final version. I like the textures, another bit of experimenting. Let me tell you, don't be afraid to screw around with your settings or filters in PS; the results can be utterly spectacular, and so long as you save before you make changes, there's truly nothing to worry about.
- Like I said, I only had the program for a few months when this was done, and my coloring was left fairly simple because of that. I've learned a lot since then, and can now achieve some fairly dramatic effects. The trick is to know when to pull back to suit your style; I'm cartoony, and getting colors that are too realistic would only serve to detract from the character.
- You'll note that his costume is a complete and utter throwback to Buck Rogers. I purposefully left out a bulky suit, preferring to keep him in a simpler outfit. This should prove an interesting dichotomy when he meets up with some more modern spacefarers.
Okay, that puts us to about 7 months ago. The next installment catches us up to 5 months later.
Now to get working on the story.
Doc "To Infinity" Absurd
Awesome image Doc! I'm loving Nosecone already.
At last, something a bit more positive. Tomorrow will probably be a different matter, so let me do what I wanted to use this blog for in the first place:
A chance to glimpse inside a creative mind.
Some time last year, I got the notion in my head to create a very old character. What can I say; I like cartooning characters who are extremes visually. Probably why I like drawing aliens so much, and probably why I gravitated out of just super hero comics in the first place. Honestly, all those square jaws and chisled musculatures just got plain boring after a while.
I prefer my characters to be very old, very young, very fat, very thin, animal-like, demons, etc. That's the real joy of cartooning; once you learn the basics, you really have no limitations.
Now, since my main thrust is in the genre of science fiction, I wanted to create an outer-space retro-style hero somewhat along the lines of Buck Rogers, complete with cheesy dialogue and phony-looking weapons. Initially I had intended him to get caught in a time vortex, get thrust into our modern era with modern versions of his regular nemises. But that seemed more hoakey than even I could tolerate.
I nixed it right off the bat.
So, what to do instead?
Simple. I made him old. Old and retired. Somehow, that seemed to work. It'd be neat to see how a hero from the "simpler" mid 50s would cope with modern sensibilities and technological advances.
Then I took his concept one step further:
I retired all his adversaries, alien and human alike, and intend on forcing him to recruit them to defeat the younger and (obviously) evolved versions of those same alien races.
My next step was naming him. Once again the idea came during a chat with fellow creators, and someone bandied the moniker "Nosecone Johnson". I fell in love with it instantly. That had the exact feel I was looking for.
And so I present Nosecone Johnson, in all his penciled glory:
Nosecone Johnson's pencils
I'm writing his first installment this week-end, and should begin drawing within the week. He should see print early next year, and I'm hoping to finish his initial saga during the new year. Something to look forward to.
Next time I'll offer up my first colored version of this same picture, followed shortly thereafter with the latest version. Personally, I find the difference astonishing, but I don't want to influence your opinion. At least, not yet . . .
Doc "Space Age" Absurd
Okay, I've given some hints that there's problems in the hallowed halls of "Alcatraz". And today's the day I come clean.
My Bitter Half is trying to cheat on me. She has been since sometime in June, when she first signed up to "AmericanSingles.com". Then it was "match.com".
Both of which she denied ever joining.
Then it was to just to meet friends.
Then it was a fluke.
Then I got wind of another site called "cupid.com", yet another online dating service. So I did a search on the site and came across a profile that sounded incredibly like her. Okay, I understate it a bit; it was her. I ain't that stoopid.
Now, what kills me is that I've been pouring my heart out to her for the past week. And everything you see in her profile is almost verbatum of what I've been saying to her. Let me point out a few things:
"Nothing worth having is simple." I said those exact words to her. I told her that no marrigae is easy, every single relationship goes through ups and downs, and we got married for "better or worse". So she goes out and tries to find someone else to apply my logic to instead of fixing things here in our relationship.
"Two people should work on things together and grow with one another." Another one of my desperate pleas about our marriage. Amazing how she's using my love for her and my commitement to our marriage for her own gains.
"A person willing to give of themselves heart and soul and expect the same in return." Did I miss something here? This is exactly what I've been doing for the past 9 years. So why is what I've been doing not good enough?
Don't get me wrong. I know I'm a pain in the ass. I collect toys. I'm a cartoonist who has more ideas than he'll ever be able to finish in a hundred lifetimes. I'm a cartoonist with a streak of bad luck that no-one should ever have to suffer. I'm a stay-at-home father, more comfortable raising my Things and cleaning the house than working as a grunt for slave wages. I'm a homebody, who's sense of adventure and excitement has been dedicated to my Bitter Half for 9 years. I can only listen to classical music, wanting to be inspired rather than distracted.
And I devoted myself -- solely -- to this woman a long time ago. And I'm fighting still. Hell, we even agreed to seek counseling about these problems; she claims I have issues with trusting her after what my ex-strife put me through (Readers' Digest version: after cheating on me starting 6 months after our marriage, this woman sent me out for pizza and took off with our child, not leaving me so much as a note) and "realizes" she "might" have troubles with commitment because of her own upbringing. So I call for counseling and make my appointment for December 10.
She calls a psychic advisor.
Anyone else see the hypocrisy?
There's a lot more she's been doing to -- what seems to me -- phsyically ruin this relationship. She's got us in debt to the tune of nearly $10000. She "let" me take over the utility bills with $800 for gas, $325 for electric, and $250 for the phone; on $70 a week. She suddenly remembered she "loves" NASCAR racing (something I never knew for 8½ years), and has been buying up related memoribilia like she's expecting it to suddenly become rare and valuable (which, ugly enough, is the same thing she did with the Beanie Baby craze years ago). She hasn't cooked a meal in years. She's given the Things about 4 baths in 12 months. There's literally years of ironing -- her only chore in the house -- still sitting untouched in our bedroom. She comes home late, runs out suddenly, and goes out partying with her "friends" from work.
Even when I see my friend (who I've been best buds with for nearly 30 years) once a week, we make arrangements for him to come to my house, and I limit myself to exactly two beers. My life revolves around this house, this family, these children, this woman.
I don't know why I'm trying so hard. I'm losing sleep, and my health is quickly passing worrisome; I've lost 105 pounds since July from all the stress and I now get regular dizzy spells and chest pains. But that's what I do.
I ain't perfect, but, dammit, I try. I've been working towards being a cartoonist since I was 5. At my job, I run around the store and stock shelves while everyone else is busy chatting away. I have a really bad back (slipped and herniated disc, sciatica is shot, almost constant spasms and I have trouble walking at times), but I still lift cases of beer and soda like they were loads of laundry.
She doesn't know I have this blog. She certainly doesn't know I've made her actions public. I really hope she does catch wind of this.
Not that it would matter. If she can kiss me good-night and still search for something "better", then a touch of public embarrassment ain't gonna matter.
Doc "Dante's Tourguide" Absurd