First of all, I know it’s been forever since I’ve posted on here, and I don’t blame any of you if you stopped following (in fact, I’m pretty sure there’s a subscription feature that lets you know when I’ve made a new post), but I just had to share a couple things that’s been going on despite the lack of CoH news that’s been thrown my way.
First of all, the Tales from the Golden Age of Hollywood fan comic book that I made which cost me $11 to print at Kinko’s was a big hit when I used it to build an indie comics network at a local comic art convention. Got some pretty neat trades, and just now I emailed my contacts to let them know that I’m still interested in what they have to offer. How did I accomplish this arduous task? I learned how to print comic books using graphics software and my printer (learning how to sequence my art and pages helped). I must have distributed over 45 out of the 50 books that I had printed. Hey, Paige Turner, I got one with your name on it.
But that’s not the reason why I’m posting.
Lately, I’ve been spending most of my time on DeviantArt, the website for artists of all kinds, and I managed to capture the attention of someone who is just as moderately big a fan of the Citizens as I am. In fact, he subscribed to me just to check out my stuff. So I’m sitting there, watching the 2011 Citizens cast doing the “99 Jokes Walk Into A Bar” routine, and as I’m reading the comments, I notice the icon of one of the posters looking awfully familiar. I checked out this person’s YouTube profile, scrolled down as far as I could, and to my surprise I find that he favorited this vid of the cabbie betting on horses named after park attractions (You probably have seen this before on this site, but I can’t remember):
My mind is honestly blown. All I can say now is thanks for liking my stuff, and if you want to see more, please subscribe to my YouTube channel, follow me on Twitter (this blog is connected to it), or check out past blog entries. I promise I will try to bring you more news when they come about. And to think, I was actually going to end this blog because I’m more busy with washing dishes at an airport’s food prep facility among other commitments and not with my own personal time.
This could be any kind of new CoH character, but it’s not because we all know Disney never accepts any ideas from anyone more creative than themselves.
No, this sketch came from the reaction I got from my original Tales from the Golden Age of Hollywood mini-comic that I had posted about earlier after showing it to several of my friends in person who liked it, including an art therapist at a community center in Brooklyn that I regularly go to. I told him about how I liked to create comic stories like this one, and he offered me some tips on how to create original characters and center stories around them. For instance, the sketch above represents my two main characters that I’ve developed, with inspiration from the original CoH, and I’ve already built a page-by-page breakdown plot of their first story. I think it came out quite good.
So who is this pretty girl and her dog anyway? Do you really think I’m going to tell you? I haven’t even thumbnailed the first 11 pages of story that I already have plotted out. Patience, blog readers. There are several projects I’m already involved in that require my time which there is not nearly enough of. This is just one of them.
Another thing; my sister suggested I join DeviantArt to showcase my art talents and try and connect with others who share my interests. Normally, I’d never register with an interactive-user site under the presumption that I’d be further enslaving myself to technology, but if it was suggested by an outside source then that makes it okay. I’m glad that I did, because I can see that there are in fact people who can make a profit off of art, especially in the genre that I’m best at. You see these type of people in Artist Alley at Comic-Cons everywhere, and this is what I’d like to do while I’m looking for a real job. So if you know of any “cartoonist colonies” out in the NYC area that are looking for talented folks to join their ranks, pass my name along, could you? I’d appreciate it.
First of all, I’m still not dead yet. I just don’t post as much as I did in the beginning when I first started this blog because, well, I just haven’t had any news regarding our favorite ’47 Thespians lately. I did, however, discover this compelling tweet from one Jess Furtado (code name @loveWDW5), and I couldn’t agree more with her sentiments. Let’s take a look.
The Disney Channel Rocks stage show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios took over for the High School Musical Pep Rally when that franchise’s popularity was winding down. Either that, or some “Einstein” suggested since Disney Channel had so many popular musical-themed properties like High School Musical, why not combine all their musical programs into one garishly-obnoxious theme park stage show with WDW College Program performance interns who look like teens bouncing around like Powerball lottery numbers to overpowering, neo-teeny-bopper noise that’s supposed to pass for music that’s “hip for young guests”. If this is supposed to entertain kids, I have very little hope for the future of mankind.
Now let’s take a look at what should be playing at Hollywood Studios instead of this eye-bleeding display of youthful puke-inducing mind-bender
I think we all know who wins here, right?
Several days later, after recouping from our extravagant adventure, Eugene, Artemis and myself decided to go to a diner to take our minds off of the events that had occurred during that time. This gave us a good chance for Artemis to get to know us better, and to learn something from our experience.
As we sat at our given booth, menus in hand, Artemis said to Eugene, “I’m sorry my Freedom Fighters had to dismantle your Time Hopper and lock the surviving notes from your grandfather away for safekeeping. You know, in case they fall into the wrong hands again.”
“That’s okay, Artemis,” Eugene replied. “I guess man was not yet meant to try and control the natural laws of time and space, and even if we could, the past could never be truly changed for any intent or purpose.”
I smiled. “Well said, friend. Well said.”
At that time, our waitress came by to take our order. “Would you kids like to start out with something to drink?”
I began to order a diet coke for myself when I looked upon the familiar face of the waitress. I stared in awe of her flaming red hair, her sparkling eyes, her shiny smile, her bubbly personality, and for a moment, I thought I was looking at someone I had seen before in another time. “Molly Coddler? Is that you?”
The waitress glared back at us, mouth agape. “Excuse me,” she intoned severely, “Molly Coddler was my maternal grandmother, and how do you know her name? That’s kinda creepy, mister.”
I turned beet red from embarrassment as I buried my head in my menu. “S-sorry,” I managed to utter in the lowest tone I could manage. “You just looked like somebody I knew, and… um, never mind. Just don’t spit in my food, okay?”
The waitress continued to look at me for a few seconds more until Eugene ordered two diet cokes for himself and me, and Artemis ordered an unsweetened tea. Once the waitress left, my two friends did their best to comfort me and help me forget about what I went through. Their efforts were noble, but when once you’ve experienced what I went through, it’s rather hard to forget.
As I could feel myself and the van drivers coming to, I looked through the small window to see where we were at, and it was very different. For starters, the sun was in the process of setting, and we were on a street that was unfamiliar except to me. That made me smile. Then my attention was drawn to my captors trying to make contact with their home base to report their findings. They were greeted by a combination of static and a pair of teenage girls talking to each other. Something was definitely up. I heard Agent Hechter suggesting to his partner that they check in on their “cargo”. This would be a decision they regretted making as I heard them step out of the van and into a struggle.
When the struggle ended, and the two agents begged for mercy, I could hear a familiar female voice sneering at them in reply. “You’re lucky I didn’t let my associate hit you with the big one.” That line made me laugh.
“Who are you?” I heard Agent Schechter ask frantically. “Where are we? What do your want?”
“Did you want those answers in any particular order?” the female replied.
“Just tell us what you want from us,” Agent Hechter pleaded
After a slight pause, the female said, “I want you to release your prisoner.”
“No way, lady!” declared Agent Hechter. “He gave himself up willingly.”
“Yeah,” piped in Agent Schechter. “We had a deal!”
The next thing I heard were a pair of guns being cocked for firing and the hum of some kind of electronic energy device. Somehow, that made the agents break down and agree to the lady’s terms with no tricks. I then heard the footsteps of one of the agents, I don’t know whom, get up and walk slowly towards the van to retrieve the set of keys. It seemed like the “no tricks” agreement was working until I heard the jangle of the keys in midair and the sounds of another struggle. This one was worse than before. My heart sank until I heard the rear door of the van unlocking.
Instantly, I turned to the rear door to find a familiar, and friendlier face. “Eugene!” I wanted to declare until he held a finger to his lips to indicate quiet. He needed the stealth and the distraction of the outside struggle to free me from my cuffs and help me out the van where I found my captors holding the female, Artemis, in custody, handcuffs and all.
Agent Hechter had the Artemis’ hands cuffed behind her back while Schechter was in charge of the guns. “Just to warn you, toots,” Hechter said, “there’s going to be a whole bunch of answers we’ll be pulling out of you back at base.”
“And how do you expect to get there without your car keys and a direct route back to 1947?” I called out at them.
The agents looked ahead and found me standing in front of the rear door to the van, free and victorious. I thanked Eugene and Artemis for the rescue as I slammed the rear door.
Agent Schechter wasn’t too happy with my liberation as he drew both guns and declared, “That’s it! You’re going down! All of you!”
“And then what?” I smirked. “If you dispose of us, you’ll never find a way back to your time. Then you’ll have to adjust to living in the future with all our smartphones and tablets and laptop computers and hi-def TVs…”
Agent Schechter asked his partner what I was talking about, to which Agent Hechter asked me, “What exactly do you mean, ‘our time?’ “
Eugene and I directed their attention to the Time Hopper, and we explained to them how I got access to their time period and all the events that had happened up until this point. They still looked at us in disbelief and asked how we knew I was in their custody in the past from the future.
This time, Artemis spoke up. “Apparently, while the Time Hopper was in the custody of the Special Forces Agency in our era, there were some modifications made that could trace its users from wherever they were in the time stream. Nothing more but simple homing devices embedded into the holographic projectors the traveler would have on him.”
Eugene then spoke up, “Once we were able to track our friend here, it was easy enough to set the coordinates and send a beam of tacheon energy into the atmosphere and into your time period through an artificial thundercloud that would home in on the signal and zap our prize back to the present. Naturally, you and your truck just happened to be stowaways.”
As Agent Hechter released Artemis, Agent Schechter rubbed his forehead with his thumb and forefinger anticipating a headache. “Look, guys and gals, me and my partner just want to go home and get some rest before our brains become completely fried. Can you help us out? This time, we really mean no tricks.”
The three of us called a conference to decide the fate of the two agents out of time. Much murmuring amongst us occurred as the agents looked on hopefully. When we completed our conference, we turned to the agents, and I said, “Return to your van. You are free to go,” and I tossed them back their car keys.
Agent Schechter professed undying gratitude to us as he started towards the passenger side when Hechter halted him and said, “Wait a minute. I want him to throw the switch on that contraption.” The “him” in question, for some reason, was me.
I looked at them and asked, “Why me? Eugene here created the thing. I’m just the guinea pig.”
Agent Hechter crossed his arms. “You should know why. You’re the one who caused the mess in Hollywood in the first place. You’re responsible.”
Eugene placed a comforting hand on my shoulder and said, “His reasoning does make sense. No worries, I’ll help guide you through the process.” I shrugged and nodded in compliance as we both went over to the Time Hopper while the two agents got in their van. Artemis followed them and informed them not to reveal any of the events that had occurred during these past months.
After a basic rundown of the controls, I started to flip a few switches and turn some dials. As I did, the machine hummed with electricity and the cannon part started glowing different colors as it focused its aim on the van. While this warming up process happened, Artemis and Eugene stood by me, and once everything was all set to go, I pressed the big red button that fired the tacheon laser beam right at the agent’s van. We shielded our eyes from the bright flash of white light that emitted when the laser made contact.
As the light cleared out, we examined the area where the van stood from our position. There was nothing left but a charred spot of asphalt. The three of us breathed a sigh of relief knowing now that the proverbial weight on our collective shoulders have been lifted, and we could now go on with our lives in peace. However, our victory was short-lived as Eugene called my attention over to the chronal-monitor.
“Buddy,” he said, “are you sure you sent them back to 1947 Hollywood?”
“Yeah,” I replied suspiciously, “why?”
The three of us looked at the co-ordinates only to find out that the 1 and the 9 in the year field were transposed, accidentally sending Agents Hechter and Schechter into the far distant future where no one in our time could predict what may occur at such a far-off date.
Both Eugene and Artemis face-palmed themselves. “Well, look on the bright side,” I said offering a positive view, “at least they won’t be bothering anyone else in either the past or the present, and the zombies will have fresh brains to munch on.” Both of them shot me a dirty look that I could only reply to with, “Um… they’ll make good slaves for the robot rulers?”
It would appear that the Time Hopper had some adjustments done while in the custody of the Special Forces Agency, as I conveniently and safely landed in a deserted alleyway between a bakery and a clothing boutique. Double-checking for complete privacy, I switched on the personalized holographic projector that Agent Artemis of the Freedom Fighters gave me which gave the appearance of a 1940′s vintage apparel for a person of my type. Now, fully prepared, I was ready to find out what happened to my friends and the events that occurred since my last appearance here.
I hadn’t been around 1947 Hollywood much, especially since I lived in the 21st century and had a distinct identity, whereas here I was only known by the label of the clothing I wore upon my arrival, so it was expected that my memory on how to get to the studio would be a little foggy. I did my best to find all the information I needed to get to my destination. When I arrived, I found that the studio entrance was all bricked and boarded up, as if it had been closed for months. I just stood there, staring in disbelief, when I was distracted by a familiar Irish brogue.
“Sad, isn’t it, lad?” I turned around to see Officer Paddy O’Furniture beside me, wistfully looking at the grand edifice where the greatest motion pictures were made, now just a shadow of its former self. He didn’t recognize me at first, but he did tell me what happened to this studio when I asked him. “The two agents who were after this odd visitor made good on their threats to deport Francesco Fettucini back to Italy and shut down the studio should it release the film we were working on with our visitor operating the camera.”
In my mind, this started making sense. I started to get deeper into the investigation. “And what of the other studio staff? Molly Coddler? Erich Von Bootstrappe? Dewey Deckham?
“All gone, I’m afraid,” replied Officer O’Furniture. “Molly’s a waitress over at the diner on Sunset and Park, Erich’s doing dinner theater until he gets a better acting offer, like that’s ever going to happen, I’m not so sure what happened to young Dewey. Seemed like he disappeared when…” Then the cop paused and slowly turned to me. “Say, how do you know their names? Who are you?”
He looked closer and began to recognize my face. Upon the realization, his eyes grew twice their normal size, and he started to scream from panic. I tried to calm him down. “Listen, sir, I understand that you have every right to be confused, but I need you to understand that I am here to set things right again. The only way I can do that is if I have your complete and full cooperation. No tricks. Do you understand?” Once I got his nod of approval, I revealed my plan to him.
“You’re listening to KSUN, the sunniest spot on your radio dial! Next up on our Hit Parade… Ladies and gentlemen, we interrupt this program to announce a special bulletin that has been handed to me. It would appear that we have a guest who wants to deliver a message of great importance to the whole city. Go ahead, sir. The microphone is all yours.”
“Attention, citizens of Hollywood. My name is Buddy Branderson, but you would more likely recognize me as Tommy Hilfiger, the strange visitor from another time. Some time ago, my presence here in your time had caused a chain reaction of events that have impacted some, if not most of the citizens here in Hollywood. Therefore, I have returned to set it right by announcing my re-surrender to Special Forces Agents Hechter and Schechter. However, there are certain criteria to my surrender that must be strictly adhered to. They are as follows:
- “One: You must reopen and restore the Bigtime Motion Picture Studios back to its original working order.
- “Two: You must rehire all actors, crew, and other staff, including director Francesco Fettucini, re-imported back from Italy.
- “Three, and this is the most important criteria for my surrender: You MUST release one Dewey Deckham from your custody. Don’t ask me how I know you’re holding him, it just makes sense that you would be.
“Once again, I will only surrender to you if you give your word that these criteria will be met. This shouldn’t affect you in any… (pause) Hmm, it would appear that I am being summoned for a phone call. Excuse me. (longer pause) It would appear that the Special Forces has made a request of their own to keep all the possible paparazzi away from the radio station upon your arrival. Personally. I don’t care about the paparazzi, so you can take care of that as you see fit. All I’m concerned for is the safety and well-being of the fine citizens of Hollywood.”
“Ladies and gentlemen, in all my years of broadcasting, I had never been witness to such a display of selflessness in all my life. This young man has great courage to come before you, the listener, to present his case and give of himself willingly. I salute you, sir. Godspeed.”
The tension around the broadcast studio was so thick, you could cut it with a knife, or in this case, a heavily armed squad of Special Forces Agents keeping any and all onlookers at bay. Even the paparazzi couldn’t get within five hundred yards of the perimeter without getting arrested and having their cameras confiscated. I remained cool, calm and collected as I emerged from the building, facing the van that would take me to my final destination.
The agents opened the rear of the van to show me that they kept at least one-third of their word by releasing my friend, Dewey, who raced towards me and embraced me in a gesture of good fortune. “Oh man,” he proclaimed, “am I glad to know you’re still alive. You wouldn’t believe what they did to me. First, they–”
“Save it, friend.” I said as I patted and rubbed his shoulder. “The nightmare has ended for you, and for everyone.” We embraced again as Agents Hechter and Schechter waited for me to officially surrender, clutching a pair of handcuffs. “Give my regards to Molly and them.” I gently whispered into Dewey’s ear, then I acknowledged the agents that I was ready.
Dewey just stood there amidst a crowd of agents and onlookers as he watched me raise my wrists together to be restrained by the cold, metal chains of restraint and be led into the back of the van. A single tear ran down his cheek as the agents shut the rear door of the van, got into the driver’s cab, and slowly departed down the street, into the sunset. He knew deep down that he and his work-mates would never know quite a unique individual like Tommy Hilf… err, Buddy Brander… Oh, whoever he was, he was one-of-a-kind, and it was sad to see him go with such a pair of mystery G-men.
Agents Hechter and Schechter, on the other hand, didn’t have any strong feelings toward their prisoner. In fact, they were both proud. They laughed amongst themselves, mocking me and my situation. I wasn’t fazed one iota. In fact, I began to half-smile a little when I saw from the view of the tiny window in the back of the van, dark clouds slowly gathering ahead.
Agent Schechter also noticed this and turned to his partner saying, “Hey, did the weatherman say anything about a thunderstorm?”
Agent Hechter shook his head and asked why. Schechter pointed ahead at the oncoming dark clouds glowing with purple lightning. The clouds grew thicker and thicker. Its purple lightning bolts flickered and discharged unnatural energy that was suspiciously headed for their van. The two agents did their best to evade the lightning bolts, but it was no use. No matter where they turned, the mysterious lightning followed like a heat-seeking missile.
Then suddenly… KA-THOOOM!
After 100 posts…
Looks exactly the way I wanted it to be
Writing has a definite presence over the black/white art
Genre definitely a change from the major publishers’ superhero genre that feels the need to progress the characters
Smaller than a standard comic book (almost zine-sized)
Back cover inks look too “jagged” as opposed to the other scanned artwork (I blame digital inking)
Cost under $11 just for one printing
Trimming artwork to the bleed edge and re-stapling it would cost more and be more complicated
I’m kinda proud of this first edition considering how my last attempt at a printed comic was just reprints of some webcomics that I had done for my own amusement. This book has actual short stories in an actual universe with actual characters with actual personalities. I definitely put a lot of effort into the creation of this product, and it shows.
Next step: Re-writing the CoH universe from an original perspective with original characters of my own creation.
P.S.: If you want your own copy, let me know. Kinko’s holding the file for 30 days only.