Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The medium of action figures can be a harsh mistress...

Like everyone else, I wanted to be a comic book artist as a kid. However, I quickly realized my anatomy was, at best, sub-Liefeldian...which probably still could've got me a job in the 90's, but even so, I had to let that dream go. Still, that is very much why I love making the toy comics, as between the software and the toys, it's not too difficult to get a recognizable, and hopefully readable, end result.

That said, even putting aside my lack of Photoshop, etc; there are limits to what you can do with action figures instead of a pencil: even if I suddenly had a brilliant idea for, say, Optimus Prime and the Autobots fighting an army of Daleks in space, there is no friggin' way I could pull it off. Especially since I don't have any Daleks...and now you now why all my strips are dialog-based snark. (Pete over at Fanwank will sometimes drop effects that make me bite my fist in envy, yet claims they 're relatively easy. Maybe.)

So, every once in a while I'll have an idea that might not be bad, but is definitely impractical for the format. Or, at least, for my format: someone might be able to pull my halfbaked ideas off, but that would be more of a Lucasfilm-level production, like Toyfare's animated strips; whereas I'm at the Dark Shadows level. (Forget knocking the toys over, you have no idea how often I knock the sets over.)

Sometimes, an idea will be stalled because I don't have a figure for a character, or worse, because I have a figure that isn't poseable enough for what I want to do. The Total Justice toys I used in my first strip are basically only movable enough to wave their arms around, but it bugs me more that I didn't have a Superman figure in that scale. Worse, even with multiple Supermen from DC Direct, the Superman animated series, JLA, the new DC Universe one from Mattel; I don't think I have a single Supes toy without clenched fists. Maybe I just can't find one when I need it. Maybe DC doesn't want Superman to be seen handling...anything, I guess.

The point of all this buildup is all for a script for a short, aborted strip. I didn't even have a Doc Samson figure at this point, but while I still like the joke, it was beyond my means to produce. But, since I still can't upload anything, why the hell not? I rewrote it with enough description that maybe you can see what I was going for, and if anyone has ambition and a ton of Mego or Famous Covers figures, perhaps you could prove it can be done and show me up as a quitter. Enjoy!

(Peter, in full Spider-Man costume, is lying on the psychiatrist's couch, hands folded on his chest. Doc Samson is in the background, sitting with his legs slightly crossed and taking notes. Samson is dressed conservatively, probably a sweater, which would be comforting if he wasn't a hugely muscled man with a horrible looking green ponytail.)
PETER: I had that dream again.
SAMSON: (sighs, drops pencil on pad.) Which one, Peter?

(flashback, go to a slightly old school Ditko or Frenz look. Shot of Peter from the inside of his school locker. Flash Thompson, Liz, and other high school students can be seen in the background pointing and laughing. Peter has glasses, a shocked, embarrassed look, and is buck naked. Obviously, shadows or a locker door or something is blocking Peter's junk.)
PETER: The one where I have a big test that I didn't study for, and I'm completely unprepared, and I forgot my clothes.

(Samson is clearly trying to look sympathetic, but is having a hard time with it.)
SAMSON: Hmm. I can understand the underlying anxiety, but I thought you were a very good student. What test would you be unprepared for?
PETER: I dunno. Wood shop? Or home ec. Left alone, I eat a lot of things that start with "cup of." Aunt M--I mean, my "mom," is right to worry about me not eating.

(Still Flashback: Spider-man, still naked except for his mask and web-shooters, leaping at a very skeeved-out looking Doc Ock. One of Ock's tentacles should be blocking Spidey's naughty bits, and at least one should have a protective position, like it doesn't want to see that either.)
PETER: Anyway, then Doc Ock shows up and starts tearing up the place, and I have to go stop him...
SAMSON: Still...
PETER: Yeah. Don't ask where I was keeping my mask and webshooters. I don't wanna know.

(Samson, closing his notebook and standing up.)
SAMSON: Well, I think that's enough for today. I'll see you next week.

(Peter, shaking Samson's hand with a skeptical expression.)
PETER: Yeah. Hey, isn't this usually where you say, "We've made a lot of progress today?"
SAMSON: Ha-ha. Yes, usually.


Pete said...

(Pete over at Fanwank will sometimes drop effects that make me bite my fist in envy, yet claims they 're relatively easy. Maybe.)

They are! I'm telling you. Shoot me an email, I'll talk you through some tricks. It's addictive start learning how to do a few things, you start trying more...

SallyP said...

But where DOES he keep the mask?