sequential daze

Thursday, March 26, 2009

5.12: Understanding Terran Culture Support Group

The purpose of this scene will become a bit clearer over the next three pages - but I'm looking to refresh everyone's memories of a few characters and also expand the Magellan universe a bit more. Like I've mentioned, all of these characters have been seen at least once somewhere in the last 500 pages, this is a chance for some of them to get at least a few extra frames exposure, or even a few words of dialogue. It can be hard in a comic with so many characters to explore their backstory - for a few of them, like Fatima, the Zots, Chiq and Lyta that backstory is quite extensive I just haven't had an opportunity to tell it. Gifford is one of the few lucky characters to get a full origin tale.

Here's the cast info for the Understanding Terran Culture Support Group scene...
  • Jaqi Leffee: member of faculty; first significant appearance on page 4.149; teaches business studies and costume design.
  • Lyta: first year cadet; most notable appearance to date on pages 2.40 thru 2.44; she's a 'demi-goddess'from the realm of Arkan.
  • Gifford Foss: first year cadet; recently had his own origin story Reckless Hero; he's a Grorb goblin from the realm of Byron.
  • Chiq: first year cadet; he (yes... he) hasn't really had any notable appearances to date - but can be seen in the background of a number earlier scenes; he's an alien from the planet Pareya.
  • Jenna Zots: first year cadet; she also hasn't had any notable appearances so far but like wise has been seen in a few scenes; she's a Forn demoness from the realm of Fassique (a number of her people also live on Earth as refugees).
  • Briar O'Hennessy: second year cadet; glimpsed briefly on page 4.212; she's from the realm colloquially known as 'Centaur Ireland' since apparently it's almost the same as Ireland on Earth except everyone is a centaur/centauress.
  • Dane: member of faculty; briefly seen on page 1.19 (yes, a loooong time ago); it (genderless) teaches Xenology and hails from the planet Haaj.
  • Fatima Hussein: first year cadet; has had many notable appearances - like the one on pages 2.20-2.23 (which may or may not be relevant to the rest of this story...); she's a cephelamaid from the underwater kingdom PherNia (on Earth).
  • Polly Tenu: third year cadet; first notable appearance on page 4.161; she's a shape changer from the realm of Shlos.
  • V'reis Bol-lob Sier'v: third year cadet; first notable appearance was also on page 4.161; he's a phaser (ie. walks through solid objects) from the realm of Akti-itka.
  • Bif Zots: sixth year cadet; briefly glimpsed on page 1.16; like Jenna he's a Fassique Forn demon. They're cousins.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

$$$ for Fan-Art Competition!

Magellan recently turned 5 years old and with 500 pages under my belt as we start the 5th chapter I thought it was a good time to have a competition to bolster the fan-art stocks. I guess it's not technically fan-art if it comes in via a competition...? Anyway...

Magellan Comp-Art competition!
  • First Prize: $US100
  • 2xRunners up prizes: $US25
Paid via Paypal - or if you don't have a PP account I'll send you a cheque (but you'll have to wear any banking fees at your end).

Rules, requirements and regs...
  • Send your art - which can be of any Magellan character/s - to xmung-one(at)bigpond(dot)com. Include your name and email address.
  • Enter as many times as you like but you can only win one prize.
  • File format can be tif, jpg, png - nothing over 1MB thanks.
  • I'll publish entries as they come in. If you have a webcomic, deviant-art page or art blog, etc send the link with your entry and I'll link to it.
  • Competition closes 3 April 2009.
  • The winners will be decided by myself and a small panel of other prominent (non-bribable) webcartoonists.
  • Most awesome entry wins!
  • The judges decision will be final, no correspondence will be entered into, etc... plus by entering the competition you agree not to flame us if you don't win.
  • Have fun!
Any questions, clarifications, please post to this blog entry...


Friday, March 13, 2009

5.07-5.08... Robo-mat!

So now we make our way back to Magellan Island and the Academy... woo! Note also that the clock has been turned back three days from the events of the first six pages. Overall though we are now six months further along from the end of the Bad Karma storyline... all the cadets have been knuckling down with their studies - no doubt there have been dramas and problems along the way, some of those will be picked up on as the current story progresses.

I wanted to kick off with a robo-mat sequence. It's a pre-used environment which first featured in Chapter 4 so hopefully most readers will be familiar with it and its function. It's the principle tactical training ground for not just the cadets but graduates as well. I see it as a great way for groups to work on their team dynamics going up against facsimiles of various villains in difficult situations.

In terms of writing and drawing them, the robots themselves are fun to work with. The idea is that they are essentially blank templates that can be programed to fulfill any particular role and their parameters are locked for single exercises. They also work from a central computer rather than having their own individual core programing, they cannot function outside the Robo-mat - that security feature is intended to stop them from running amok, escaping and becoming robot villains. The robots outer casing is designed to - in most instances- replicate the qualities of a human body so punching one is like punching a person (don't let their shiny metallic appearance fool you!). While most of the robots are human-standard in terms of strength and vulnerabilities, some of the robot units are designed to mimic the strength and powers of other villains and heroes.

Explosions and ammunition in the robo-mat are all simulated. The central robo-mat computer will calculate the effect of various impacts and blows so as to referee the session - it will declare if a cadet or robot participant is 'killed', 'injured' (and to what degree) or rendered 'unconscious' - the cadet then becomes a non-participant in the exercise. For example, we see Bill being declared unconscious for one minute - something which the robo-mat calculated would have been the likely result of a real encounter between him and a bazooka rocket blast - any other cadet probably would have been 'killed' or at least severely 'injured'. It's still possible for cadets to be injured during a robo-mat exercise of course, should they fall or get in the way of their own team mates actions than anything is possible but obviously all effort is made to ensure safety.

I should also mention that this is a good way for some cadets to learn how to minimise their powers - plenty of 'human-standard' robots have had their heads blasted, ripped or otherwise knocked off by cadets - something they would need to avoid doing in real life situations.

Once this sequence finishes in a couple more weeks we'll be catching with more more cadets...


Thursday, March 05, 2009

5.06: There be monsters! (Character genesis/evolution)

I mentioned a few posts ago that both Good-Guy and the monsters being used in the Chapter 5 opening sequence had their origins in a comic I was working on many years ago... 1993 to be exact. This was pretty early in my days attempting to be a cartoonist and certainly in the dim dark days before the internet had any real accessibility (they might have invented Netscape v1 by then but I don't think so)... so this early effort has remained unseen by other eyes... until now that is!!

I don't know if it's ill advised of me to share this early art, story and character design, but what the hey, I'll do it anyway. In those days I was big on scratchy detail, worked in B&W and only had the attention span to enable me to produce two pages before I lost interest. Actually it was less than two pages - as you'll see some parts of the two pages remain incomplete. Oh, well! Also, I've censored out the names of the characters... I'm not sure if I'll be using those names in this version of their story and I want to keep my options (and any potential mystery about their names) open.

Finally, you'll notice this story starts in the countryside and in very early musings about this new Magellan story I had considered doing the same. But the story became something much, much more than the 1993 version could or ever would have been and for that reason it's been moved to the city.

Anyway, there are three characters in the 1993 story that bear some passing resemblance to three of those in page 5.06... I have modified and evolved their appearances for Worst Field Trip Ever - quiet extensively in two cases. For reasons unremembered, the fourth character in the 1993 story was never drawn and I've indicated where he was meant to have been with some grey shading in a couple of the panels. At any rate, that fourth character hasn't made it to Worst Field Trip, the fourth one in today's update (the ssspiky one) is a new character. Enough rambling - here are the pages...
Whatcha think?? I should stress (very, very strongly) that despite assertions by the farmer, the characters aren't necessarily 'aliens'... and I can assure you that, unlike claims made on page 2, the updated characters definitely won't have gained their appearance/powers through the consumption of 'radioactive beer'...!

My favourite part is that 'Captain Good-Guy' has a yellow pages listing under 'Superheroes'. If you can't read the small print it says: "No crisis too small! * From catastrophe to cat in a tree!! * Prompt service * Package deal!!" I still think the 'from catastrophe to cat in a tree' is pretty witty. Other superheroes listed include Captain Dynamic, Captain New South Wales (oh brother!) and Duperman.

OK - moving on...! The next update will take us back to the Academy on Magellan Island. I'm pretty sure you're as excited by this as I am... despite the recent Mindmistress/Rochelle story it seems like ages since we were there last - it's certainly been some months since we saw Kaycee last. That will be remedied from next week!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

5.05: I love the Photoshop Warp tool!

Today's update (5.05) features Oz Magellan's Good-Guy (aka Jacob Twain... I did give him a slightly different name in an earlier blog post but changed my mind - I'm fickle like that). His power is light based and as we'll see over the course of the story it has some interesting properties.

The GG symbol Good-Guy uses is a very basic affair I cooked up in Illustrator (ai). Despite its simplicity though it's a total bastard to draw and make it look right - so I decided that, in most instances I'd be drawing his chest blank and importing the ai file into photoshop and merging it with the artwork. Nice in theory but only when Good-Guy is standing straight and direct to the frame like he was in page 4. Page 5 was a whole different challenge. When he's side on or stooped over not even the distort tool in Photoshop (which gets the symbol to more or less the right overall shape) can make it look like it's really a part of his uniform.

Thank you Photoshop warp tool -it really helps to make it the symbol look as if it is form fitting and figure hugging. I might need a bit more practice but essentially it worked a treat on page 5.

See below...

I'm pretty sure they use this method for the Superman "S" symbol - I could be wrong but it looks like it to me...