|is only ten letters long, but with practice and diligence, it can be coaxed to
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You've reached the LiveJournal of Rowan Lipkovits, renaissance man of letters about town. I don't maintain A Homepage (typically in its place leaving a link to a Google search of my unique name combination) (to say nothing of its frequent misspelled permutation), but this LJ most likely is the closest I get.
2012: Well, my print publishing career withered on the vine (writing: more fun than pitching to editors is), but presently I have two blogging projects elsewhere (you may have noticed things are a little sparse here these days): analysis of video games scanned from old comic books at videogamecomicads.blogspot.com and wholesale choose-your-own-adventure HTML conversion at turntopage4.blogspot.com! One more trip around the publication gauntlet once again, January 2nd 2013 interviewing Jim Munroe for the Society for the Promotion of Adventure Games, AND, IMPROBABLY, ANOTHER providing the cover story for the Sept, 2014 labour-themed issue of Memory Insufficient with an article about the 1980 BASIC program
I've hit up nearly everywhere else about this development, which I was probably foreshadowing here first, but it's fitting that I do bring the announcement here (chee, a word I'm typing all the time, which always gets misspelled (and just did here) due to keyboard conflicts -- I hit the "oun" in a cascade with fingers 4, 3 and 2, then "ce" with fingers 2 and 3 on the other hand, but it overloads at "ou", drops the "n", beeps instead, then keeps accepting the rest of the letters. I am a man who makes many annoucements. OK, my digression is total now.) as historical and oldschool news belongs on a primarily historical and quite oldschool forum!
My computer art group of the '90s, Mistigris, closed up shop after a final release in 1998. Now, after lying dormant for 16 years, we have just released a new collection of computer artwork in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of our first release back in October of '94.Because even most of its onetime adherents no longer maintain the period environments needed to enjoy the vintage forms of computer art, it has been added to the 16colours.net site so you can enjoy an art gallery of the pack's visual contents through your web browser. Do note, however, that the majority of the pack's nearly 80 meg filesize is digital music, to enjoy which you will simply have to download it and load it up in your favorite music player.
Because it is not available in plaintext anywhere else, for Google-ability I thought I might like to also include the full text of the artpack's infofile:
And, of course, the memberlist:Well, as it turns out, 1998 didn't work out quite that neatly, and we never quite made it to four years. But let's skip back to February of that fateful year of 1994... Cthulu: "You're such a liar! NO WAY did you log on to Digital Holocaust. The phone number isn't even public!" Creideiki: "Not public to lamers, at least! When I get home today I'll see if my new user application has been approved." Phalse: "But where did you get the digits? Private boards are only for couriers and elites!" Creideiki: "Easy, I told the SysOp that I was a computer artist." Zamfir Worshipper: "How do you think he's going to respond when he finds out that you're not?" Creideiki: "How hard can it be?" And so he, then I, joined NWA, which turned into iMPERiAL, which promptly collapsed in grand fashion. And then... Following what appeared to be, in the microcosm of the BBS-based computer art community, an eventful summer whose political twists and turns (NATiON! TRiBE!) would no doubt go down in the history books, the first Mistigris artpack, MIST1094.ZIP, was released in October of 1994, coordinated by me, a callow youth of some fifteen and a half years. (Yo Cthu, can we get a few more commas in here?) (Well, let, me, see, what, I, can, do,,,,,,,,,) (skipping lightly ahead past all the good stuff...) The final Mistigris release, M-9806.ZIP, was released four months shy of four years later, at which time the technological landscape looked considerably different from how the terrain would have been surveyed back in '94. Big fish brands in a small pond such as FidoNet, TradeWars, DesqView, Blue Wave and US Robotics would all be relegated to the status of historical footnotes in a matter of months; flourishing digital creative environments such as the Amiga had been diminished to boutique specialist niches and in the wake of Windows '95 and now Windows '98 (oh, and let us not forget OS/2, which was running our local train system up until a few months ago), MS-DOS was on its way there as well. Heck, ACiD even stopped releasing ANSI and iCE became best-known for its hirez exquisite corpses! Cats and dogs, living together... I interrupt this apocalyptic nostalgia for a moment of perspective: as of today, it's been 16 and one quarter years since the last (well, "most recent") Mistigris artpack release. Otherwise put, a child born on the day our final pack dropped would now be older than I was when we started operations. (And I've been missing the sweet spot my 35 artpack releases with Mist entailed for half of my life now!) M-9806.ZIP was an unassuming release, not apparently intended as the group's final swan song pack; a successor was ready to roll with a hopper full of computer art (a bit light on the textmode side, admittedly), and there was no clear indication that the wild ride had come to an end, that we would be delaying for not just one month, but for... huh, two hundred of them! So... It's been a while. Bear with me please as I exercise some deeply atrophied muscles. There were some Mist releases you may not have noticed or been aware of, as I did my part to maintain the viability of the Mistigris "brand" -- scouting for talent, making inquiries, logging consular appearances at demoparties -- for a couple of years following what had not yet been acknowledged by me to be its final conventional artpack release... at least, up until now. (Admittedly things have been pretty quiet on the Mist front since 2000 or so, making it understandable if you'd thought we'd gone down for the last time. You can't keep a good man down... nor us, it seems.) * artdisk-.zip - Mistigris "Best-of" anthology distributed on floppy diskette at a Living Closet event at the Church of Pointless Hysteria, July 23rd, 1999. There were a few problems with this well-intentioned attempt to marry a declining computer art community with a burgeoning live performance one: first, an attempt to survey highlights of nearly four years of releases (including exclusive "last chance for me to release these!" inclusion of several virtuous works I'd been sitting on for a rainy day) on a single floppy diskette biased curation toward the compact and minimalist; second, even the people who still had working floppy drives in that bold post-iMac world were disinclined to pop random disks found at parties into their machines, indicating that clearly I was attending the wrong kinds of parties. The original run was in an edition of some 15 or so disks, and I think maybe 3 of them were taken. For a time the anthology lived on in webpage form, then faded into cosmic background radiation when that free hosting dried up. The next few months will see a reissue of this highlights reel under its original filename (see above), for those interested in getting a refresher crash course in just why this retrograde dead end is so worth celebrating again. * prjct006.zip - "Mistigris World Tour" April Fool's release, The Project, August 1999. Humour has pervaded the artscene (perhaps inevitable while so insistent on reproducing Rob Liefeld's impossible anatomical mistakes) while its participants have simultaneously approached its intangible affairs with serious rigor, but rarely did we encounter an endeavour with a puckish sense of humour so ingrained into its DNA as the conceptual art series "The Project" by madASScow. (I know, with a name like that you'd expect a solemn kind of focus, but no.) When they announced a textmode special I found an opportunity to put to use a selection of fundamentally unusable naive ANSI art I'd perversely squirreled away for another April Fool's Mist pack that would never come to pass (or would it?), including the only material we'd ever released from one of the greatest polymaths who ever sojourned under our affiliation, Talonswift -- and the eminently cringeworthy early attempts at ANSI art created by your humble author before concluding that his poetry pointed to a more promising future. Speaking of which... * getready.zip - "Get Ready To Read", Cthulu's collected illustrated lits, January 2000. Following Israfel's fall from grace when ACiD merged with GOTHiC in April '94, there was no place for creative writing and poetry in the membership of the artscene's top-echelon ensembles. Because we could never do things the easy way, Mistigris found itself a refuge of sorts for the endangered form of creative expression (and critically, was led by a proponent of the form, who would be impossible for another group to poach), boldly forging onward in championing a possible future computer art scene where poems didn't have to end with a BBS' ridiculous name (or ANSIs be capped with a logo for a BBS' ridiculous name, for that matter) in order to be released in an artpack. This approach gave Mist packs a radically different texture from those of other groups, who remained largely unswayed by our vanguard example. For whatever reason, my rhymes and metres were tolerated and even requested (when backsliding to the simpering BBS-advertising mode), granting me the ability to appear, in illustrated collaborations, in releases of groups who would never allow me to join. There were a lot of these collaborations, commissioned with many highly-skilled visual artists, and of course I had the chance to work with more than a few Mistigris illustrators, being the ones I had closest at hand. By achieving the wider release and more prestigious placement, I hoped that the demonstration of the great work we were up to would stimulate greater interest in lit generally and Mistigris specifically, as its single densest quality hub, but it turns out that things didn't end up panning out that way. (Anyhow, this archive was the #1 download from Acheron in the month of its release! A big splash or a rapidly shrinking scene? You be the judge!) So, here we are. With the year 2000 out of the way, that just about brings us up to the present. I privately noted our 10-year anniversary to myself in 2004, but I didn't expect anyone else who had so enthusiastically bailed out on that world so relatively recently to have any tenderness for it yet; Mist had at that point only been put to bed for as long as it had been active -- the corpse hadn't yet rotted enough for flowers to grow over the grave. I began actively planning an artscene retrospective gallery exhibition this year, but though others have successfully pulled off the feat before and since, and though I was actively helping to run an art gallery in the interim, a decade has not been enough time for me to bring the dream to fruition. The 10-year anniversary of our final release, in 2008, was still too soon for people to look back with a tender glimmer of nostalgia, though perhaps with increasing age we've become more cognizant of what we've lost and left behind. I noted (and quite frankly I'm very confident that I was the only one who did) on my long-term radar in the spring of 2014 that this would, in an alternate timeline, have been year 20 on Mistigris' schedule for world domination, and decided to make some easy-pitch inquiries to onetime members with a six-month lead time. To my astounded delight, it's been just long enough such that people replied with fondness and interest. (Also with much incredulity that it would be possible, even were it desirable, for them to pick up the tools they had set aside 16 years prior, and with skepticism that the zenith of their youthful art had ever been anything worth sharing, creating or celebrating.) This well and truly ends with us fully up to speed: making and sharing computer art reminds me of joys from a previous life, but of course the greatest thrill has been reconnecting with these old comrades, most of whom have been off the radar for the better part of two decades and some of whose real names were never known in the first place! (which, to be sure, made looking them up on Facebook quite problematic.) Not all of the fifty-odd (and some downright strange) veterans of the '90s computer art trenches I'd rounded up were in a position to contribute to this artpack, but being back in contact with them at least opens the door. I only regret missing out on reconnecting with those I was unable to locate. (Lady Blue! Corinthian! Grinch! Skrubly! Are you out there?) ... The thing that prompted the creation and release of the artpack which you are currently enjoying was my ageing stockpile of computer art which had been curated, submitted, gathered and stored with the intention of being released someday in an artpack, mostly dating to the period 1998-2000. You may note that this archive here, the one that you are currently viewing, primarily consists of quite recent work, strangely enough. I wanted to release a Mist pack for the occasion and figured that I would finally discharge the pile-up of history on my hard drive (or as I like to put it, declare a general amnesty on all imprisoned works of art) -- basically I lined up my old cronies in hopes of finding an audience for the bygone and forgotten works among their onetime creators. But to my surprise and delight, many of them felt passionately about providing a demonstration of how hot their stuff is today. That makes for this awesome artpack you are currently enjoying, a respectable showing in this positively Blocktronic era. But I'm still sitting on the backlog. We considered lumping it all together, but opted against due to the risk of embarrassing confusion between My Art, 1998 and My Art, 2014. (One can really appreciate the depth of tone and maturity of theme in the newer work now that we see them side by side and can appreciate the wealth of life experience that has enriched the perspective of their creator. What do you mean, that's the older piece?) So do please keep your eyes open: in the very near future (not just "near" in the context of 16-year delays) I'll be releasing at long last M-9808.ZIP, the complete pack we never shared, then another -- containing at least a hundred pieces of never-before-viewed-by-the-artscene computer artwork. And then, who knows! There are archives and music disks like The Bells Of Yule (hm... sounds... December-ish) unobtainable today needing to be reissued (I'm sorry, but: it's necessary), plus I'm sitting on two complete uncoded e-mags and ten or so competitions worth of unreleased Blenders... and, who knows, having been reintroduced to the idea of working together, members of the Mistigris crew may take pleasure in resuming doing so. I'm going to optimistically propose another Mistigris artpack release of new work in one year's time, for October 2015. Do please look for M-9808.ZIP and everything that follows wherever artpacks are to be found. Uh... where exactly are artpacks to be found these days? On IRC? Did we reconcile with the administrators of the Hornet FTP site? I'll have to check up on Superunknown and Acheron. Just kidding! Of course, you're presumably checking this artpack out on sixteencolors.net or artpacks.org (you'll have to download the whole pack to enjoy the music, though!), and we're on Facebook, and many thanks to our fellow traveller mattmatthew for getting us set up with mistfunk.tumblr.com, where we can showcase Mistigrisian (OK, contest time: we need a better adjectival form... Mistigrudlian?) creations both old and new. (In fact, my main contribution to this anniversarial release will be going up live there, exclusively, shortly, because even if throwing mp3s in an artpack is no longer a big deal, I don't know if we're ready for digital video yet.) Lost but not forgotten, cthulu c/o tabnet.ca Turns out after all this time, I can safely report that I have no trouble returning to writing infofiles. (My problem is, predictably enough, stopping writing them.)
I have further plans to somewhat diminish the splash we've just made of the reception of our unexpected and frankly unprecedented reunion pack by releasing the old and unreleased (and re-releasing the "lost") computer art from back in the day, for the sake of posterity, and then who knows -- with more likeminded people from the past on my side, perhaps my other aspirations for the gallery exhibition will be more possible. And maybe, just maybe, some of us may continue to make art together. 2 comments | post a comment. mistigris memberlist october 2014 . The following individuals have contributed to this collection: Bah, Kasha! looked back at her historical contributions to Mistigris artpacks and wrote a response to them. Her identity has been feebly obfuscated to protect the innocent. ... Bryan (aka haquisaq) somehow made it through the last 20 years alive. His more recent creative efforts include composing hardware-oriented chip music under the still equally stupid moniker "bryface". Notably, he has had the rare privilege of performing his music at chip music festivals around the world - including places like Japan, Europe, and Australia - alongside many of the global chip scene's foremost musicians. He also ekes out his days as a web developer for a creative agency, bikes and plays volleyball in his spare time, and eats three meals a day, sometimes four. bryface.bandcamp.com / soundcloud.com/bryface / @bryfacetron ... Cthulu warns: Don't get me started! After the computer artscene wound down, I took up performance poetry with the early poetry slam scene. My poetic "voice" was one of discontent and the persona was not healthy to maintain on a long- term basis, so I switched streams back to music and will have been fronting "the jug band of the damned" on an unruly accordion for 10 years come January. reluctance.livejournal.com / videogamecomicads.blogspot.com / @unwashedmass ... The very month Hallucigenia wrapped, Etana launched Keyframe Online, a a tremendous animation resource. "Red Haired Girl" is part of her 100 Faces portrait painting challenge at her homepage at tiltedwindmills.com ... Fille of Galza has been in the Mistigris sphere since the summer of 1999 -- that is, too late to ever share creative work with us, until now. Cthulu made a guest visit to the 22nd Galza artpack earlier this year and now Fille gets a chance to return the favour. Find him on Twitter as @filipdehaes ... Kevin Bryce wasn't "there" then, but he is here now. Hear more at soundcloud/kevtrax ... Livewire hasn't written a babble story like this one since Al's House of Meats closed up shop, but he's still got that wacky knack. ... We're thrilled to have successfully tracked down our elusive Australian member Maeve Wolf, a versatile visual artist with a portfolio at dashsharon.tumblr.com ... Nearly a Mist member back in the day, we were fellow travellers with Mattmatthew in TeklordZ. His guest art has represented Mistigris for years on Wikipedia, and we are pleased to share his unfortunate piece with Blocktronics. ... Melodia of Digitallusions was a sole proprietor music manufactory concern. In this release we are pleased to present lit from her for the first time in addition to two songs -- and keep your ears open for much more! soundcloud.com/empressplay ... Logoist extraordinaire, Platinum fought the gods of computer security to set us up a telnet BBS to act as a WHQ. House odds are typically on the gods. ... Better known in a Mist context working in a different medium under different handles, Psidream now releases drum 'n bass under the Nightfall imprint. ... Publius Emeritus II is a onetime Mist member who isn't hiding that effectively. ... Founder of EuphoniX, Sentience has given the music a rest and is resuming his explorations into every other creative medium. ... Formerly known as Silver Angel, Tillie continues to live and write in the 604 area. She's been published in Salacious Magazine, and will be featured in the upcoming Dirty Queer Anthology. Balancing being a queer, polyamourous feral leatherwoman and handling donations at a church/homeless shelter, Tillie can be found at @echnoidsymmetry on Twitter and on the book of face. [Ed's note: Tillie is currently crowdfunding to be trained as a doula. I just wanted to mention it because it very likely is something that has never been said in an artpack before. If you wanted to support the campaign, that would be cool also.] ... Tarot violated Finnish law in order to present us his submission, a remix of an ANSI from 1997, replacing F3 blocks with hot, burning fire combusting through a ceramic matrix. (That's what we like to refer to as extreme textmode art.) He can be found at facebook.com/joakimraaka ... Another music machine, Theodoric got a little confused when the scene shifted (rocking the Amiga, his scene got rocked a little earlier than the PC kids'), but shaking his head he picked himself back up and has kept on keeping on. Find more of his compositions at soundcloud.com/theorica ... A former Mist member in disguise, Whazzit graces us with an ANSI-illustated story... and a "Gus". (No, "Gus" is not the mascot of the Gravis Ultrasound.) ... Another former Mistigris member from the very beginning, WI has been jazzed to discover that we didn't all go away forever. (As are we, one supposes!) ... Zinc, aka J-Ray, has been active in many different art forms since his Kosmic / Impulse Tracker days. After experimenting with rock and folk music, he formed a three-piece live electronic band called Catscam, and continued making music using live instruments. He pursued a career in Graphic Design, and dabbles in visual art, slam poetry, calligraphy, and even dance. J-Ray is now a competitive dodgeball player, part of the Vancouver Asian Film Festival executive, studying Korean, and obsessing over ampersands. www.j-ray.com / soundcloud.com/catastrophic-error / Instagram @DesignInVan ... Thanks to our guests for the use of the fabulous Mist logos they made for us before the full scope of our torpor was widely understood: header by Grymmjack of Polyester, footer by rz and tr, and the fabulous salvaged FILE_ID.DIZ by mega! Thanks also to the following folks for emerging from retirement to join us, if not in submitting artwork to this release, at least to act as moral support. Here's hoping we get a chance to thrust more of their work to prominence again sometime soon! Adri, Ay Lektriq, Coyote, Crowkeeper, Da Vinci, Eoanya, Eto, The Extremist, Flyingfish, Foolish Bird, The 4th Disciple, Freaq, Genocide Kitten, God Among Lice, Hacker Joe, Halaster, Happyfish, Ice Cream Emperor, The Itchy Swordsman, Jake Blues, Konami, Kyo, Mavrik, Melkor, Mr. Flibbles, Mr. Wrong, Nitnatsnoc, Otnoo Ishphoo, Ozero, Pannekoekologist, The Pope, Sephiroth, Soul Blazer, Talonswift, Tincat, Tzeentch and Weird... ... And everyone else we couldn't reach or mobilize in time! Hopefully we can find a way to work together again someday! If you were part of Mist in the past (or wished you had been!) please don't hesitate to look us up! OK, what else do we include in these things? . mistigris distribution sites . (you're kidding, right?) The Screaming Tomato . (ITS) DOW-NNOW The Jade Monkey . (RIP) BBS-SING Dreams of Dark, Enchanted Lizards . (WON) TAW-AKEN Canopic Jars . (NEV) ERL-IVED Greets to Blocktronics, Galza, and ... OK, I'll bite -- who else is releasing artpacks in the new millennium? Hats off to TABNet on their 21st: almost dead, but impossible to kill! Cheers to all -- anyone who sees this has got to be all right by us, you weirdos!
Now that it's all up and posted here, I've been going back and adding navigational links to ease & facilitate reading, enjoyment, and contemplation of contributing to this incomplete masterwork. Furthering such user-friendliness, here's a guide to all of the pages, in sequence, all in one place!
We close this series with further notes hidden in the back pages of the binder. First, the brainstorming that yielded the Segue Piggy's tremendous knitting of Mac and Clipboard Girl: revealed, the notion that with sufficient thought, really their partnership was an historical inevitability.
Mac -> Needs mags from Paris, so must eat lettuce from Hamburgers -> CAN'T PRODUCE STARSHIPS.
And finally, my own master list of open questions -- which predates the final few pages by quite a bit. Here the onion structure of the plot is revealed, with every layer of unanswered question revealing a new layer of also-unanswered question.
Questions in comic + plot problems that need to be answered:
Sadly, I failed to elaborate on the inherent problems resulting from Sheepfrog growing up into the Darth Vader-esque character -- likely some species of time-loop causality; disturbance in the force caused by Paris' destruction throws Soapfrog's calculations off, diverts them to Princess Insipid, where SF is impregnated and gives birth to Sheepfrog, who matures, flies the starship back in time, and prevents Mr. Blackjack from destroying Paris... thereby preventing the circumstances that bring the Sheepfrog's very conception into being. Thereby not yielding any savior of Paris, thereby causing Soapfrog to be diverted to Princess Insipid, thereby... well, you get the idea. I'm sure it could be got around with 5 minutes of thinking, but loops are fun so why would we want to? Maybe we could end up with an Age of Apocalypse-style alternate timeline. I suppose that depends on the hypothetical future contributors.
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After some shrewd negotiations with a friend who wanted to contribute to the collaborative comic but couldn't figure out a way to make sense of the knot it had wound itself into, we settled on a very satisfying compromise: just draw the end, and subsequent contributors would just have to figure out how to get from point X to point Y. (No doubt via an entirely new alphabet in between. Greek letters, perhaps?)
Soap Frog: Behold! the utopia ~ PENS-ance!
It manages to both answer the question posed in the comic's very first sentence and include Soapfrog, which means it closes the book on 95% of the business contained in the colossal sodden work. Still, worryingly, it can't help but end on a question ... but that's a whole 'nother comic!
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We've got some stationary elements, but is it enough?
ONCE I WAS A PUBLIC OFFICIAL...
Relatedness isn't a matter of black and white: you can be more related and less related. This is pretty related for an unrelated contribution, but it would be pretty unrelated for a related one.
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Another floating page from the artist of the previous extra -- conversely, this one has a very straightforward and obvious home in the extant comic, but putting it there will simply be a matter of pacing.
Little does the squire realise that Shakespeare is no longer on Stratford-on-Avon, but situated somewhere in the domain of Princess Insipid. Of course, who knows how long it will take him to get back there anyhow. I suspect the route back may well be less direct than his trip there.
I also found a first draft of the loose blank verse:
Nice copping of a Shakespearian lingo, down to the notorious "long s".
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At some point I found myself at an impasse, the climax-upon-climax making adding a new, relevant, page overly intimidating for new artists, but outright unrelated submissions officially forbidden. So I suggested that suggestions didn't necessarily have to happen chronologically -- new pages could be inserted between ones already written, to expand the roles of minor characters whose ships had sailed and flesh them out with side-stories. This is obviously one, though where it is going remains unclear.
Cabin Boy: "Dread Cap'n Wood! The keel haulin' be ready for your inspection sir! Arr!"Hook hand, check. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, check. The only question is, what has to happen to the plot to put the squire and the Dread Captain Wood on the same vessel? Is this a glimpse into the return voyage, pitting enemies together for tension-fraught mutual aid? What could compel Cap'n Wood to work with the very squire whose quest he previously found to be worthy of ship-smashing?
It's a mystery. Like the episodes in Pulp Fiction, it clearly takes place at some point in the chronology, but the piece of paper itself was found in the back of the binder. Maybe the squire and the DCW have a history predating his employment by Shakespeare? Does the DCW perhaps have a squire of his own? Or is he speaking to someone else, but revealing his preoccupation with the dark work of the squire? I hope someone can get to the bottom of this pressing matter.post a comment
Because making a whole post for ever fragmentary piece of marginalia might not be totally worthwhile, I've taken the unprecedented liberty (because, let's be frank, LiveJournal needs all the posts it can get) of bundling together a few wordless pieces of errata for this individual post, discarded sketches or semi-semi-relevant scraps I'd hoped could be harnessed if needed. First up, some fetching sketches of Clipboard Girl:
Flipping through the worryingly large quantity of blank pages in the back of the collaborative comics binder, I came across the following illustration someone had made, perhaps burying a rejected first draft or homesteading by laying claim to a page in the comic's future and ensuring that someone, once they got to page 50 or 60, would be confronted with needing to work a clown nose (Shakespeare's, presumably) into the plot.
This contribution is frustrating, as it obviously shares an important theme -- the mighty pen, and all that follows from its power -- with the story's central narrative, but at the same time, only contains thematic rather than narrative echoes: it's about the same thing, but it isn't the same thing.
AT SCHOOL, EVER JUST WANT TO JAM YUR PEN INTO YOUR TEMPLE?Also: gross! But -- good use of highlighter for colourful contrast, something hitherto unknown over this comic's 30-odd pages.post a comment
Here terminates our narrative to date. Back on-track, but only one panel into the page before petering out...
The Development of SheepFrog
There is more, of course, but if you treat what we have hitherto seen as a continuous narrative (not that it is), none of the remaining fragments have clear and obvious hooks where they join up with what has thus far transpired. Some parts, as you shall see, clearly belong to the story's final act; others are b-sides and out-takes, practice sketches rejected for different approaches. Being basically unable to draw, I retained them as I found them, secure in the notion that if I couldn't produce the drawings needed to finish the comic, I could at least write an ending around the existing art fragments. Well, that didn't happen, but perhaps you can incorporate them into your upcoming contributions? The process begins here on this page, and specifically on the remaining untapped 75% of it.4 comments | post a comment
ONE panel after explicitly stating how the Segue Piggy would usefully fill people in with the plot, the following artist opts to hamstring that option and destabilize one of the few factors in this thing stabilizing the chaotic plot. Well, that's what I get for associating with contrarians!
Segue Piggy: hello.Rowan once more attempts to lure subsequent contributors into picking up the long-dormant Dr. Ha-and-Larf thread, potential sources of exposition to replace the now out-of-commission Segue Piggy, but thus far, to no avail.
I apologise for the array of realistic porcine mammaries. Another regret: succumbing to the easy western influence of superhero comics. There's no good reason Dr. Ha should have a Bat-signal.
But to combat regrets with affirmations: I dig the drop of snot hanging from the pig's snout in the mystery panel, and the vomiting modern art works pretty well. And the way the "o"s in "BLOO" are pig snouts? Inspired.5 comments | post a comment
This exchange cracked Jen up. I gather that it's basically Essence of Rowan, distilled and bottled: part of its ineffable me-ness is my simply being in the situation in the first place. I have to say that the choice of growan as my e-mail prefix has proven to be a major tactical misstep, and led to more misdirected mail than I ever could have imagined: legal documents, medical records, invoices, and the ongoing saga of Greg Rowan's overdue library books in Australia's Gold Coast (he likes to take out Led Zeppelin fake books and then keep them out a little bit too long.)
Lynn Johns <email@example.com>
I'm not filled with hope: many of the e-mail addresses are @aol.com, and immediately after firing off my message I was notified that at least six of them are invalid right off the bat. If they can't be bothered to remove six error-bouncing addresses from their list, what hope do I have?
I only hope I'm not driven to escalate my campaign of list-removal with disruptive tactics. Would that I could just tell my e-mail provider "send all messages containing the word 'football' into the trash immediately", I wouldn't require the cooperation of these well-intentioned AOL users. 6 comments | post a comment
Genius is fleeting, and then it's left to the schlubs to pick up the pieces. To wit, our superstar artist took off here 75% of the way through another page of sheer brilliance, and the task fell to me to finish it off. I did what I could, but the best I could do was kind of like gliding an engine-stalled airplane into a controlled crash landing.
Soapfrog: "THaT IS A bURDeN TO BE RELieVEd of, FOR SURe. DO YOU tHInK THAT WE STILL HaVe tO WEAr-"
The smudging of the soft graphite is criminal; this should be one of the best pages in the comic, not an angry cloud. I dig the classic Shakespeare portrait and the size mismatch between him and the frog; the sheep's emergence from the clouds is also inspired, as is Soapfrog's lettering. As for the rest, I just tried to follow the bold lead and draw which characters as I was capable of drawing (Clipboard Girl is right out! She does not suffer from any old war wounds), letting their personalities guide the way. I'm still quite pleased with my Shakespeare and Soap-Sheep lines, and the little accent I threw in to the baby's pupil. As for the sheep portrait, I'm sorry. Maybe I should have done two panels of Mac.4 comments | post a comment
The story has delivered two dynamic pairs both experiencing what could be described as "rising action" simultaneously. This is a technique TV programs and movies like to use, of giving you a bit of what Team A is up to, then delaying your gratification by swapping on over to Team B. It's true that for most of this comic we've been fecklessly swapping between teams W, X and Y without every revisiting them (or, admittedly, much of interest happening to most of them). But now things have really come to a head...
Soap Frog's pain-writhing throat is brilliantly rendered, and zir androgynous jewelery is amazing. Shakespeare's look is classic, plus through scanner magic I can get a glimpse of an earlier, more cartoony version of Shakespeare. And look, a return of that classic "SPLOORTCH" sound effect, last observed at the Isle of Great Sex. (Is this denoting the birth orgasm?)
And wouldn't you know it, here comes Team B, joining Team A, for what will assuredly be a grand culmination of some sort...2 comments | post a comment
And now the masterful plotter shares a page with the supreme illustrator, yielding a sublimely absurd and narratively climactic gestalt.
What artist A did with the characters, artist B did with the little visual accents -- drawing on the grinning sun and religiously revelatory Beck from long-forgotten establishing pages for little background nods. Both artists stick Mac's arms on backwards on the front, as is traditional, but only the second makes it look normal. Also, it's handy to sidestep the "how" of Mac's starship creation: here you go, it's Mac, creating a starship. Since you were wondering. (And note how the space
agency has reorganized its acronym somewhat.)2 comments | post a comment
It takes something of a genius to pick up a half-dozen loose threads and weave them into a natty tapestry, but that's what this contributor does -- adding nothing, only expanding on material of various usefulness introduced by previous contributors, fleshing them out in a personal and stylish way until they become interesting enough to all be useful. It's like the old "how do we get there from here?" hipbone games, some people can just perceive potential connections where there really are none, and free-associate themselves toward a more narratively satisfying future.
MEANWHILE, CLIPBOARD GIRL... IS SAD.It's just beautiful, like watching a pile of bones rise up from the ground to form a skeleton, which then performs a merry jig for your amusement. Any reasonable person would have just seen the bones as inert and defunct, but the one way to make them dance was hypothesized and executed superbly.2 comments | post a comment
Making for the exception that proves the rule, a new contributor to the comic actually picks up on a lingering plot thread instead of just throwing in whatever two cents they were able to scrape together!
Soapfrog: "Will, you never pay any attention to me anymore."I dig the Herriman-ish comix diction, though admittedly it does go a bit far. I am, basically, ecstatic that the central narrative (well, the first fork at least) has emerged again, like a drowning swimmer coming up for the fourth time... it allows me to overlook the dysfunctional stereotypes of hormonal pregnant people in loveless relationships, haw haw. (Of course, Syccy is the baby-daddy, not Shakespeare.)post a comment
Sometimes you just have to grab the submissions by the horns and wrestle them back into line.
In English, for those of us who don't speak Jay: "The girl by the window."The disagreement over the translation was already covered in the last post: is it a girl or a demon, Japanese? Less ambiguity here would be appreciated. I added the window behind the girl here (the girl with whom I started the comic initially!) to tie it in to the previous page, then added the clown nose for further thematic ties, ultimately going whole hog and adding in Dr. Ha and Larf, two potentially rich avenues of plot furtherance I felt had been unusefully left behind. But the thread resolutely refused to be picked up.
"The old war wound" is a reference to some old Monty Python sketch, used by me before (in the b0nkmeet ANSI review, notably) to explain why a drawing purporting to be of someone looks nothing like them.
Dr. Ha and Larf are crawling all over whatever it was they planned to build on the site where they are first encountered. From the looks of things, it's some sort of cosmic listening device.1 comment | post a comment