Saturday, May 30, 2015

And So My Robot Army Begins

Following last Tuesday's finale of "The Last Mechanical Monster," I offered readers a parting gift of everything they needed to build their own giant Art Deco Robots (ahem, out of paper) and invited them to share their results.

The first minions have reported in.

Friends O' The Feature Jim and Nancy O'Kane sent this photo of the Robot's papercraft plans displayed on their iPad. I wouldn't normally count that as an official "build"; however, in this case they were standing in front of Monet's "Water Lilies" at the Musee de L'Orangerie in Paris while on their honeymoon. So I think that counts. I also think, as I told them, they need to reevaluate their priorities. ("Hey Jim! Look behind you!")

What, they don't have scissors and glue in France?!

My daughters Robin and Laura were my very first minions, and remain among my most loyal. Still, it was a surprise to receive their transmission in my secret subterranean lab this morning.

What I need to explain first is that my girls are creative, crafty sorts who also love the Marvel superhero movies. They've gifted each other a couple of those incredibly detailed high-end action figures that so eerily capture the likenesses of the characters/actors that you're afraid they've trapped their souls. Possible spoilers for the next "Avengers" movie ahead:

That whole Ultron death-bot thing didn't work out so well for Tony Stark in the last movie, but I'm sure this'll go better.

A quick spray-coat of high-gloss candy-apple red and he'll be good to go.

You truly wouldn't believe how gleefully giddy these photos made me.

If you build it, I'd love to post a photo. The plans are here.

* * *

Quick Mentions: Lots of Facebook friends and real-life friends are supporting "The Last Mechanical Monster" by voting for it as Best Digital/Web Comic in the Eisner Awards. If you're pro in comics or a related field (bookseller, educator, librarian, journalist, editor) you can vote at eisnervote.com by Monday, June 1.

Also, pal Mike Peterson had some nice parting words for my comic at his Comic Strip of the Day site (see May 29th's post). Mike's a great essayist who's always worth a read.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Coda

After 16 months and 170 pages, The Last Mechanical Monster is done. If you'd like to catch up . . .

the very first page is here, and the very last page is here.

Also, the "Webcomic Archive" to the right will take you to any page you'd like.

But don't leave yet.

I wanted to do something fun to thank loyal readers of The Last Mechanical Monster for coming back twice a week, leaving critical and encouraging comments (both appreciated), and supporting the comic in many ways, including your Eisner Award votes (still a few days left to mark your ballots!). This link will download a PDF with everything you need to make your very own paper Mechanical Monster. Disclaimer: it isn't bulletproof, and it won't fly unless you throw it really hard.




So if you're ready to embark on a career of supervillainy and have seven sheets of cardstock in your arsenal, click on this link to download the big guy's schematics. One thought: some of the papercraft involved (cutting, folding, gluing, etc.) is probably more than a child would have the patience or skill to take on. It's really meant for grown-ups. Grown-ups who want a robot paper doll.

I designed it myself (really!), so the engineering might be a little rough. Feel free to tweak it. If anybody actually builds the thing, I'd love to post photos of your results here!

Going ahead, I'll certainly be sharing any news from the 2015 Comic-Con International and Eisner Awards, where we're nominated for Best Digital Comic. Also, there is a chance that The Last Mechanical Monster will see print. Conversations have been had but contracts have not been signed, so that's all I can say about that. Whatever comes next will be in full color (so I'd better get to work).

When I began posting in late 2013, I said that in addition to being a story I really wanted to tell, The Last Mechanical Monster was an experiment in process. Comics and webcomics have changed a lot since I did Mom's Cancer. I wondered if there was still a place for a simple comic drawn with black ink on white paper and posted on a free web platform, without HTML fireworks, animation, gadgets, gimmicks, portals, promotions or ads.

If I built it, would they come?

Well, "they"--and you--did. Thank you, thanks to the few folks who reviewed and linked to it, and thanks to the judges and voters who made it a contender for two Eisner Awards. You made my little experiment a great success.

I hope you enjoyed the story of Sparky, his Robot, Lillian and Helen as much as I enjoyed making it up. I'll miss them.



Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Page 170

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A few days ago, my wife Karen (who still hasn't forgiven me for Sparky) said, "Well, the Robot had better be all right, and he should serve everybody ice cream!" Her idea was so much better than mine that at the last minute I redrew this page (and a bit of the previous page) to make it so.

More stories should end with ice cream.

With this page, The Last Mechanical Monster is done. But please come back tomorrow for some final thoughts and a special gift to thank you for reading, commenting, and supporting my comic.

--Brian


Friday, May 22, 2015

Page 169

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As I commented yesterday, this is the right side of a two-page spread (already thinking ahead to print). The Blogger template doesn't really make it feasible to post an image that wide without making the type too small to read, but here's what the whole thing looks like:


New readers and Eisner voters! Thanks for dropping by, I appreciate it. If you'd like to catch up, I recommend beginning with my story's Preface before going on to Page 1. It's a pretty quick read.

You can use the links above to navigate, or click on each page to advance to the next.

And if you like the story, please come back and tell a friend. Thanks!


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Page 168

FIRST      PREV      NEXT      LAST


New readers and Eisner voters! Thanks for dropping by, I appreciate it. If you'd like to catch up, I recommend beginning with my story's Preface before going on to Page 1. It's a pretty quick read.

You can use the links above to navigate, or click on each page to advance to the next.

And if you like the story, please come back and tell a friend. Thanks!


Friday, May 15, 2015

Page 167

FIRST      PREV      NEXT      LAST


New readers and Eisner voters! Thanks for dropping by, I appreciate it. If you'd like to catch up, I recommend beginning with my story's Preface before going on to Page 1. It's a pretty quick read.

You can use the links above to navigate, or click on each page to advance to the next.

And if you like the story, please come back and tell a friend. Thanks!


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Page 166

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In the previous page's comments, reader Royce Day linked to his own take on how he thought The Last Mechanical Monster should end. His short story does a nice job capturing Lillian's voice and includes a character I couldn't. My only hesitation in recommending it is that it might be better than what I've got planned. As I replied to Royce, as far as I know I've never been fan-fictioned before!

* * *

New readers and Eisner voters! Thanks for dropping by, I appreciate it. If you'd like to catch up, I recommend beginning with my story's Preface before going on to Page 1. It's a pretty quick read.

You can use the links above to navigate, or click on each page to advance to the next.

And if you like the story, please come back and tell a friend. Thanks!


Friday, May 8, 2015

Page 165

FIRST      PREV      NEXT      LAST


New readers and Eisner voters! Thanks for dropping by, I appreciate it. If you'd like to catch up, I recommend beginning with my story's Preface before going on to Page 1. It's a pretty quick read.

You can use the links above to navigate, or click on each page to advance to the next.

And if you like the story, please come back and tell a friend. Thanks!



Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Page 164

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There's no point being coy about it: Sparky is really, truly gone and I'm sad (and my wife's still mad).

Now I want to tell you a story I promised back on Page 117 . . .


I had a very hard time beginning work on that page and spent a few days fiddling around and procrastinating. I couldn't figure out why. There wasn't anything particularly daunting about the art or writing, yet I couldn't bring myself to sit at the drawing board and put ink on the paper.

Then I realized: it was the start of Sparky's last day on Earth, and I just didn't want to kill the old villain! I knew that once I drew that page, his fate was sealed.

Being the Grim Reaper is a tough gig.

My original idea for Page 117 was that Sparky wouldn't sleep at all, tossing all night wondering whether his lifetime ambition had been misguided. I changed my mind at the last second and let him fall asleep. It seemed somehow important to have a clean break between all the other days of his life and his last. I didn't want him to face his Robot already exhausted. A three-hour nap wasn't much but it was . . . merciful. I owed him that.

* * *

New readers and Eisner voters! Thanks for dropping by, I appreciate it. If you'd like to catch up, I recommend beginning with my story's Preface before going on to Page 1. It's a pretty quick read.

You can use the links above to navigate, or click on each page to advance to the next.

And if you like the story, please come back and tell a friend. Thanks!


Friday, May 1, 2015

Page 163

FIRST      PREV      NEXT      LAST


New readers and Eisner voters! Thanks for dropping by, I appreciate it. If you'd like to catch up, I recommend beginning with my story's Preface before going on to Page 1. It's a pretty quick read.

You can use the links above to navigate, or click on each page to advance to the next.

And if you like the story, please come back and tell a friend. Thanks!