Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Page 128

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I don't know if Sparky knows about electric razors.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Page 127

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Happy Christmas, everyone! I hope your holiday and New Year go better than Lillian and Sparky's.

I have a small "storytelling process" story about this page. In the third panel, with the clouds, I originally drew an airplane flying overhead, trailing contrails. I decided at the last second to delete the plane. My original thought: Lillian's so jumpy she's alarmed by a perfectly innocent aircraft that might be mistaken for a flying robot. My final thought: Lillian's so jumpy she's alarmed by nothing at all.

I think it's a subtle but important difference. These are the types of storytelling points I lie awake at night mulling. Sometimes I fear it's a "forest for the trees" situation: "You were sweating a trivial drawing of an airplane while missing an obvious gaping plot/story/character problem?!" But I also think if you sweat the small stuff, it builds up into better big stuff. I dunno. Still learning as I go.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Page 124

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EDITED TO ADD: I got some comments from smart readers confused by the action on this page. Consequently, I added some dialog to help explain where Lillian's heading and what she's doing in the first three panels. I think it helps, though I also see some places WAY back in the story where I could clarify the geography of the Inventor's lair a bit. Later . . .

This is a big reason I wanted to put "Last Mechanical Monster" online before doing anything else with it (if it ever amounts to anything else): Crowd-Sourced Editing. If one or two people mention something, it might be their problem. If a whole bunch of people identify the same problem, it's definitely mine. Thanks, editors!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Page 121

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Page 117

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I have a little story about this page, but I can't tell it until the entire comic is done. Remind me.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Page 114

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This page and the next are two more images that I envisioned from very early in the story and couldn't wait to write and draw.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Page 111

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Happy Halloween, all! Y'know, a Mechanical Monster costume probably wouldn't be that hard to make.....

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Page 104

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Mark Evanier is a comics and television writer whose blog is a daily stop of mine. I've met Mark a couple of times but can't claim to know him; however, in many posts he has heatedly declared his hatred of cole slaw. All cole slaw everywhere. Panel 7 is my version of "But you haven't tried mine!" which Mark says never works for him either.

This is a good slaw--I've never had a restaurant slaw approach it. Light on the mayo, sweet and tangy. Try different vinegars to shake things up (apple cider vinegar is good). Also try adding fruit: grapes, diced apple, sliced banana.

The dressing is handed down from my Aunt Norma, whom I like to imagine learning the recipe at her mother's knee on the South Dakota dairy farm she grew up on after it was carried across the prairie by covered wagon. More likely she found it in "Good Housekeeping" magazine in 1965. I'll stick with my version of reality.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Page 102

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Time to pull out your ol' red-blue 3-D specs! The effect works for me, though the colors sometimes turn a bit funky when I upload the JPEGs to Blogger.

Working on Smell-O-Vision for the next page....

Friday, September 26, 2014

Page 101

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Page 99

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As was Page 98, this page was originally scripted to supply dialog that, after drawing the art, I decided wasn't necessary. There's a kind of ruthless minimalism involved in making comics. At least the way I try to do them, it's all about distilling scenes/characters/actions to their essence. Streamlined. Even bits that may not seem to advance the story have a purpose--pacing, atmosphere, character development, sometimes just a breather. Sometimes they're not intended to pay off until much later. At the same time, room for text is always at a premium. I can't tell you how much time I spend trying to pare words and even individual letters, often just because it looks better. Comics are Words + Pictures, but if I can get away with no words I will. If you miss them, they'll be back next Tuesday.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Page 98

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Today's and next Friday's pages turned into a sort of experiment. I originally scripted dialog for each page, then as I put it together I decided the dialog wasn't necessary. I though the art conveyed all the necessary information. We'll see if you agree....

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Page 96

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Larry Cruz of Comic Book Resources' "Robot 6" wrote a very nice little essay today about the "Mechanical Monsters" cartoon, and concluded by mentioning this webcomic (favorably!) as well. I think Larry's analysis of the original cartoon's appeal is right on, and especially appreciate his careful reading of my comic. He concluded that the inspiration of the Fleischer cartoon is "a testament to the power of art and how something so perfect can leave a lasting legacy that transcends time." Nice.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Page 92

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Sorry today's was late! Operator Error; hit "Save" instead of "Publish." Clearly I will not be building giant robots anytime soon.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Page 91

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Page 84

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Well, no Eisner Award for "The Last Mechanical Monster" this year, but I had a terrific two days at Comic-Con International in San Diego waiting for the results. Here's the view from my seat:

In addition to seeing friends and having fun, I had a couple of Comic-Con conversations that hinted that "The Last Mechanical Monster" may have life beyond a humble webcomic after all. Many thanks to all who voted for me, and everyone who reads the story.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Page 83

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Tonight I'll be at Comic-Con International in San Diego, learning whether "The Last Mechanical Monster" has won an Eisner Award. I was going to joke that the (probable) alternative would be like being crushed beneath the steel foot of a giant robot, but it wouldn't. I'm grateful for the nomination, glad to be seeing friends, and just happy to be making comics and participating in the whole thing. Still, today's installment seems somehow apt; if you're inclined, wish me luck!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Page 81

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Friday, July 11, 2014

Page 79

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Back to color for this page because I think it's needed to help tell the story, especially the last three panels as Lillian stares in wonder, clicks off her flashlight, and goes to bed. I've gotta say, she handles it better than I probably would.