Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Sether in the Morff Issue #8

SITM #8?

Wait, what happened to issues 3-7?  Sadly, they are lost to the sands of time.  I lost them back in the mid 90's, and never got around to updating and replacing them like I did with issue #1.  I couldn't tell you what transpired within them; I may have formally introduced my brothers to the Morff, although I doubt I actually did.  They probably were nonsense, like what you're about to read.  If the next few issues are any indication, it's probably for the best that the missing volumes are gone.  Prepare yourself for the darkest chapter of SITM artistically...

Title Page

Oh no...
I'm sorry.  I really am.  I don't want to look at this either.  Yes, for several of the earliest issues, I scribbled on lined notebook paper.  So begins the 'notebook paper, pencil, and crayon' period of SITM.  In case you have trouble seeing it, that is the 'Seth symbol' in bubble-form.  See the light shine mark?  That means it's a bubble.

Page 1

Double-sided for Her Pleasure
Are you ready for Bubble Trouble?

We begin in medias res, with Seth dodging(?) away from a new adversary of some kind.  I really hope I keep the splash pages to a minimum.  

"Wow!  Your wierd!" (sic) says Seth in surprise and alarm.  The bubble-entity helpfully replies with a reminder that he is not solid.  We're off to a great start with 2 spelling/grammatical errors.

And yes, the double-sided specter haunts these issues as well, truly making the notebook paper era the nadir of these comics by a large margin.

Page 2

Bubble Man goes into a villainous monologue, apropos of nothing.  I respond with sarcasm, apparently breaking the 4th wall.  You have to understand that this was the 90's, and attitude (or 'tude) was mandatory in a protagonist.  I had probably only recently discovered sarcasm myself, and gleefully inserted it where I believed it was appropriate.  A snide remark to the audience disparaging my bubble-foe seemed apt.  

The origin of Bubble Man is an example of double-plagiarism.  Not only is Bubble Man a boss from Mega Man 2, but the design of *my* Bubble Man was ripped off from the Sega Genesis game Vectorman, of which I was a huge fan.  Composing a character out of spheres was easy to draw, and I thought it looked 'hella dope.'  Thus Bubble Man emerged from my half-original imagination.

The video game Vectorman came out in 1995, which makes this issue of SITM at least that old.  I didn't own Vectorman until some time after that, but I do recall renting it from a video store.  The nostalgia is so rich and thick, I could spread it on a cronut.   

Page 3

Action!  Danger!  Bubbles!
Instead of fighting Bubble Man, I decide to leave for some reason.  I run toward the exit, which appears to be a pair of glass doors.  I guess I was fighting Bubble Man in a department store or something. However, Bubble Man fires a green bubble from his hand, which traps me inside.  Oh no!

I can't be certain, but the mechanics of this 'entrapment bubble' remind me of the Martian ray gun from the Sega Genesis game Zombies Ate My Neighbors.  Starting to see a pattern?  Basically, I would play a video game on my Genesis, fall in love with it, and inevitably ape it in my crappy comic books.  Mimicry is the sincerest form of flattery, or so I've been told.

Page 4

Trapped inside the bubble, I produce a... thing.  This somehow turns my body into clay, which prompts an awful pun.  "It's clay time" indeed.

The little remote-control thing pops up several times throughout SITM.  I'm not sure where it came from, or if I ever bothered to explain its origin.  It's a remote control that can transform the composition of my body.  In this instance, it turns me into clay.  I may or may not have stolen this from the Batman cartoon villain Clayface.  God damn he was horrifying.

Dat transform sequence though!

Page 5

Using my clay... powers, I turn my arm into a sharp point and pop my bubble prison.  Bubble Man's bubble is 'poped.' (sic)

I like to imagine the Pope reading this and his hat flies off his head in outrage.  

Page 6

The lined paper and previous page bleed through make this page hard to make out.  Using my clay needle-arm, I pop Bubble Man's legs (and feet).  Bubble Man is understandably upset by this.

Page 7

His vague plans foiled, Bubble Man bounces upwards, breaking through the ceiling and shouting that he'll be back.  I end the issue by repeating the same lame pun I made two pages earlier, with the same spelling mistake, no less.  

I'm puzzled by Bubble Man.  Despite his threat, he never does return.  Even though he's made out of bubbles, he can smash through the roof of wherever I was fighting him by the power of his bouncing upper torso alone.  Despite this seeming resiliency, I was still able to amputate him with a clay needle arm.  

Did Bubble Man work for Dark One?  Or was he seeking world conquest on his own?  How exactly was I interfering with his plans?  It seems I had just stumbled into him at a Macy's or something.  Remember, I'm fighting to save the UNIVERSE, so Bubble Man might have been an avatar of Yog-Sothoth or something.

There.  That's canon now.  Bubble Man = The Lurker at the Threshold.  Half-Life 3 CONFIRMED.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Sether in the Morff Issue #2?

We're carrying right along, folks.  I'm committing to this.  At the risk of ridicule, sanction, and alienation, I will continue to electronically publish the Unvarnished Truth of this monumental work of graphic fiction.

I really need to do something with this blog template... spice it up a little.  I was sad to see Comic Sans wasn't one of the default fonts.  That's what this garbage deserves.

Title Page

So, this is probably the oldest of these comics, older than the issue 1 remake certainly.  I tentatively date this circa 1995 (I would have been 8 years old at the time).  Note the little rectangle in the upper left corner: that is where the issue number usually is, but I neglected to put one there.  This might not actually be issue #2, but I've arbitrarily given it that designation for my own sanity.

This was still back when I drew these things primarily in crayon, and the double-sided bleed issue is back in full force.  If it weren't for that, this is actually not too bad for one of my older cover designs.  A space shuttle with all-but-invisible pink wing-things hovers in orbit over a planet far below.  The blue suggestion of an atmosphere is a nice touch.  Behind the shuttle is the purple 'Seth' symbol, with a smaller one inside the 'dot' for some reason. I couldn't get enough of that dotted X symbol!  Hot dog!

The planet down below is the Morff, I believe.  For whatever reason, I imagined it looked like a giant, spherical brain.  I blame 'A Wrinkle in Time' for my fascination with giant brains as a child.

Page 1

Dictionaries are for losers.
Good lord, where to begin?  The title takes up half the page for no reason.  'Sether' is missing the last 'e', replaced by an apostrophe for reasons that baffle the adult mind.  The actual title of the issue is behind 'Seth'r in the Morff' to increase reading difficulty.  The word 'suspended' has been mercilessly butchered, and the missing 'p' in Space was shoved underneath the whole mess after I realized I had spelled it wrong.  You can't erase crayon!  "SaSpendea in Sace" indeed.

"A usawal day, Seth's being chased by space cycle's.  but somthing unicspected happend."


Realizing that there needed to be a character on the page, I cram a shitty depiction of myself running from what must be lasers, apparently fired from 'space cycles.'  Composition: 1/10

Page 2

A splash page!  If you can make him out in front of the god-awful bleed through, there is a Dark One Man firing some sort of gun-thing at me.  It makes the sound 'spaze!'  For all my inexplicable power, apparently a spaze-gun is enough to take me out.  I remember being really proud of that gun design.  You'll see it pop up from time to time.  I don't understand why it's not standard issue for the Dark One Men, since it's the only thing that can hurt me.  Maybe they're expensive to produce.  Clearly, I spent a lot of time as a boy thinking about the economy of the Morff.

Page 3

The Dark One!
So here is the first full-body appearance of the Dark One.  Another splash page, for some reason.  My vision was too grand to break these pages up with panels.  Those two lines sticking out of his 'neck' are his cape, because of course he has a cape.  He's basically a ripoff of Darth Vader.  I wouldn't be surprised if I thought they were saying 'Dark Vader' as a child, which makes the plagiarism even more blatant.

The guy he's talking to is saluting, in case you couldn't tell.  In the background, my unconscious body is being brought to a space shuttle.  What could their nefarious plan possibly be?  It certainly wasn't spoiled in the title, that's for sure.

Aside from some spacing/kerning issues, there's no spelling errors on this page, at least.

Page 4

Let's keep the splash page train rolling!  I can tell by the page bleed through that there will finally be panels soon, though.  So here, the shuttle is firing off into space.  The entire bottom of the shuttle appears to be a gigantic rocket engine.  The sound effect isn't capitalized, which implies it's a half-assed sounding rocket.  'braaaaaaaa!'

This visual was stolen from Sonic the Hedgehog games.  I was a Sega fanboy, back when the console wars actually mattered.  Starting with Sonic 2, the Blue Blur would routinely get launched into space for reasons.  I loved these sequences, and shamelessly stole them for my own comic endeavors. 

Watch this video around the 5:40 mark.  That was where my mind was.

Page 5

Finally, "panels."
I awake to find myself stranded in orbit, with rapidly depleting oxygen.  The danger and suspense is immediately resolved by the arrival of a poorly-rendered red space ship that fires purple lasers at the airlock.  Logic suggests that this would lead to my demise as I'm blown out into space, but trust me, salvation is at hand.

I've already established that I can fire 'sonic blasts' out of my hands, and you will soon witness even more insane displays of power.  Getting stranded in a shuttle in space is hardly an inconvenience, let alone a danger.  However, for purposes of this issue, I guess getting launched into space is a bad time.

Why didn't Dark One just murder me while I was unconscious?  Who can truly understand the mechanizations of his villainous mind?

But who, oh who, is rescuing me?  READ ON:

Page 6

And we end strong on yet another splash page.  The shorter bloke in red, dear readers, is my younger brother Jess.  You'll see him pop up in subsequent issues from time to time, usually slightly shorter than me and clad in red.  That symbol on his body is the 'Jess symbol,' similar to the dotted X on mine.  It appears to be a slightly-frowning face.  I'm not sure why I chose this as Jess's symbol... perhaps it speaks of a mild reluctance or disappointment on my part, like I sort of resent including him on these insane adventures.  

Jess, if you're reading this, I'd like to formally apologize for your symbol.  It sucks.  I don't know why I didn't make a better one.

Now, you may be wondering how Jess arrived in the Morff, if I was sucked through a magical refrigerator portal.  Well, I don't know, or remember.  If I bothered to explain it at all, it was probably in one of the 'lost' issues.  Both of my brothers are in the Morff, actually.  I have an older brother, named Zach, who will show up later.  Jess can at least have some small satisfaction knowing he's the first to show up in this train wreck of a comic series.  

I don't know where he acquired a red spaceship... I'm guessing Doc and Prometheus had it hanging out at the 'Seth Base.'  Note that the airlock has a doorknob, and is shaped like a regular door you might find on a house or in a hallway.  Top notch ship design.  A+

So ends this, the earliest, unnumbered issues of SITM.  Sadly, 6 pages is a pretty robust size.  Many subsequent issues barely run half this length.  God, I hope I leave the double-sided crayon ones behind soon.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Seth Comics

Sether In the Morff Issue #1

An Introduction

When I was a young lad, I created a series of horrible 'comic books.'  Composed on printer paper with Crayola markers, pencils, and crayons, then hastily stapled together, these documents are a unique window into the mind of an over imaginative ten year old.  Despite all my moving around during my twenties, I've kept these ancient documents with me, crammed in a few folders and occasionally perused once in a blue moon.

I have decided to dust off these comics, remove the aged staples, and scan them into my computer.  These cherished childhood memories take up a humbling 40.7 MB, but hopefully they will provide more than 100 GB of Laughs & Chuckles for you, my dear readership.

So come, join me as I examine my oldest extant creative works.  I plan on giving them the proper critique they deserve, now that I have so much more wisdom and experience.

Title Page

Oh God...

Here it is.  The title page that begins the series.  First, an explanation about the title:

My name is Seth, first of all.  I don't know why, but I thought that taking on an 'er' to the end of my name was somehow... good?  Cool? My family may have on occasion called me 'Sether' as pseudo-nickname, out of affection.  I may have selected 'Sether' to distance myself from reality; to remind my readers that the events within were fictional, and that I myself did not possess superpowers, etc.

The 'Morff' is the name of the dimension where the story takes place, I think.  Clearly, I meant to write 'morph,' since I enjoyed the Mighty Morphing Power Rangers like any red-blooded boy in the early 90's.  I thought the word 'morph' sounded cool, and thus chose it for a prominent role in the title of my comic book series.

Note that the printer paper has browned with age, and that it is in crappy, wrinkled condition.  Proof of their horrific age!  Sadly, I did not keep track of the actual dates I made these things.  This was probably made in 1995 or 1996.

Page 1

The horror begins...
Oh God, my eyes!  What are we even looking at?  I made the awful mistake in many of these early issues of drawing on both sides of the paper.  This means that we have to struggle with marker bleed-through for the first stretch of this travesty.

This first page is a fantastic example of all of the problems we will have to deal with, over and over again throughout this whole adventure.  First, there was no flesh-tone marker available to me, so I aped the Simpsons and chose yellow as my default flesh color.  This has faded slightly with age, so now many of the main characters will be difficult to see.  That first 'panel' depicts a yellow-skinned, purple-clad stick figure about to open up what can only tenuously be called a refrigerator.  Note that his head blends in with the bleed through on the opposite page, making him look more like a disembodied torso hovering over a pair of purple ovals.

Aside from some kerning issues, this page is relatively free of spelling errors.  Note that I didn't bother to erase my initial mistake when I wrote 'hungry,' just making a bolder U over the A that was originally there.  I was a busy man; I didn't have time to erase things, damn it!  I would crank out one of these pages in a few minutes, then let my spastic young attention span distract me with something else.

This page introduces us to the 'spirit of funka tude,' directly ripped off from the video game 'Toejam and Earl: Panic on Funkotron.'  That game featured a Spirit of Funkitude, the entity from which the life-giving Funk flowed.  I loved that game, and thought the concept of a Funk-spirit was cool, so I appropriated it and shoved it into this mess.  The spirit is supposed to be gorging itself on snacks in my refrigerator.  Note the green rectangle: it's supposed to be a visual pun.  'Eye'-scream.  Ice-cream.  Get it?  Why am I doing this?  

Page 2

Action!  Mystery!
So, I open the fridge, and somehow this activates a magical portal, which sucks me inside.  I become a purple... comet-thing.  This made perfect sense in my brain at the time.

I was very obsessed with symbols and icons.  That little X with the dot over it was my personal symbol.  I couldn't tell you what it signifies other than that.  It sort of looks like a person, I guess?

Page 3

In Hell, Seth.  In Hell.
The portal deposits me in this... place.  A strange cityscape sprawls out before us, including what appears to be a green... fish?  And a potted plant, for spice.  (The green thing is supposed to be a spaceship or hovercraft of some kind.  I enjoyed designing vehicles!  Poorly!)

This image bleed-through is really bothering me.

Page 4

This is an attempt at humor.  Zany!  So here we are, in the Morff.  Fun fact: my handwriting has barely improved from these toddler-scribblings.  

We are introduced here to 'Dark One men.'  These are the rank-and-file goons of our antagonist, Dark One.  Truly, I revolutionized villain-naming with that one.  They are blue... humanoid things.  They have four eyes, and those are supposed to be bandoleers of ammunition across their torsos.  I thought bandoleers were the coolest thing ever when I was a kid.  Those black smudges they're holding are guns, of course.  

"Yourr in are territory!"  (supposed to be 'You're in our territory!')


Page 5

In the first panel, one of the Dark One Men aims a pistol at me.  Yes, that was an attempt at perspective drawing.  A blue circle for a fist, attached to an 'arm.'  The gun apparently is a barrel attached to a square.  It's a laser gun, so it doesn't need to make sense.

Faced with violence, I then reflexively unleash a 'sonic blast.'  Clearly, the Dark One Men know what's up.  It's a blue laser... thing.  Apparently it's painful, or else causes the target to make a pirate sound.

I should mention that this was not the original Sether in the Morff Issue #1.  There are several missing installments; at some point I lost or misplaced many of the original comics.  At some point I decided to remake them to fill in the gaps, but I only got around to remaking the first one.  The scary thing is that the missing ones were likely even less coherent than what you're looking at right now.  

Page 6

Powers!  Of course!
The surviving Dark One Men fire their lasers at me.  I like that the righthand-most gun has a red dot and a sideways cross on it (no doubt some manner of poorly illustrated switch or slider).  

I easily dodge the laser fire, realizing that I have 'powers.'  Yay!  That was easy to figure out!  Look how pleased I am.  

Page 7

Death count: 3
Realizing I have 'powers,' I then extend my leg, enlarge my foot, and smash the remaining Dark One men horribly.  I am then transported or teleported in a bolt of purple energy, although it looks more like a purple tree leaning to the side and shouting 'whoa!'

This page pretty much sums up the entirety of Sether in the Morff:  "Don't mess with Seth!"  This is just a 40 issue, barely-legible power fantasy from my addled prepubescent mind.

That's right.  There's 40 of these goddamn things.  Buckle up.

Page 8

Supporting cast!
I am transported from the city to a small complex, which resembles a half circle and a rectangle with the 'Seth' symbol on it.  I am then introduced to two of the supporting characters: Prometheus and Doc.

Prometheus is an H.R. Giger alien that wears a teal dress, speaks English, and is non-hostile.  I was obsessed with the Alien franchise as a kid, even though the titular creatures scared the crap out of me.  I had Alien toys, Alien video games...  I was too scared to watch the movies, though.  I guess Prometheus came from a desire to have an Alien as a 'friend.'  The fact that he is named Prometheus is particularly mystifying; how was I to know that in almost two decades a 'pseudo-prequel' to Alien, directed by Ridley Scott himself, would come out bearing the same name?  Clearly, the name 'Prometheus' has some sort of power in the collective subconscious, connecting it to the Aliens of cinema fame.

Doc is a giant, orange, anthropomorphic 'Seth symbol.'  I honestly don't know what he really is, or what he was supposed to be.  He was supposed to be a dispenser of exposition, the 'smart home base guy.'  He would give the heroes vague direction.  The Zordon to my Power Ranger, if you will.

I take the time to introduce these two characters, but promptly forget to include them again for several issues.  So enjoy them while they last.

Page 9

This is all the exposition you get.
So here Doc explains that he has been 'faghting' (sic) Dark One for years.  We get our first look at Dark One, who apparently is a black oval containing two drops of blood.  (That's supposed to be his head.  He has glowing red eyes.  Spooooky.)

Then Doc tells me that he needs my help, for the sake of the entire UNIVERSE.  That's the stakes, people.  It's up to me to save EVERYTHING.  The last panel is an attempt to add some drama, as I stare off into the middle distance, realizing the enormity of the responsibility thrust on my shoulders.  

So ends issue one.  If you're not absolutely hooked at this point, then clearly you're dead inside.  

What horrors await?  What trials and challenges will face our noodle-limbed protagonist?  Action, romance, drama, intrigue... all of these, and more, are highly unlikely to grace the subsequent issues.