Thursday, July 23, 2015

Sether in the Morff #28

Cover Page

No upper left box?  SACRILEGE!
Here begins 'X-2,' the second arc of SITM.  With the conclusion of the Dark One / Nebula storyline, a new threat emerges for the gang.

I always liked this cover page.  Just the three bros, chilling, leaning against stuff like all cool people did in the 90's.  

I've always wondered: are we wearing pants?  Our naked legs just lead straight into our oval-shaped torsos.  Are we just wearing weird legless onesies?  I think I pictured us wearing shorts, but never bothered drawing any more detailed clothing if I could at all avoid it.

Also, I hated noses.  I hated drawing them, and there was even something about them when I was a kid that I really disliked.  The fact that my characters are basically just yellow smiley-faces was a deliberate decision as much as it was based on my relative lack of artistic skill.  There's something about a noseless, hairless face I really liked.  The plainness allowed any expression to be amplified, and the symbolic or iconic nature of the face was like an empty vessel for my imagination, the better to allow me to occupy the fantasies contained within.  It wasn't until I read Scott McCloud that I was able to put these thoughts into words, though; this was all an impulse when I originally made these as a child.

Page 1

Getting a little snippy with the meta commentary.
Enough of that nonsense!  Back to the silliness!  We left our heroes to an unknown fate as they were caught in a massive explosion.  What has become of them?

Page 2

New power: force field.
Ah, lots of text = more chances for embarrassing spelling mistakes. The boys explain to the home team that they were almost killed by a bomb.  Seth says the person who rote the note signed it with the initial "R."  A mystery is about to unfold!

I remember being really proud of that fire in the first panel.

Page 3

EUREKA!
Zach dons his headphones, which signals that he's about to do some serious information retrieval.  For a moment he is stymied, before discovering what we knew all along: Radical Worm apparently has it out for our heroes. 

Big chunky computers!  Ah, the 90's.  

Page 4

Wot?  Wat?  
We cut to Radical Worm himself, who now has an Evil Dictator Chair. He's also received a wardrobe update, now clad in black with a stylish red cape.  He also has a sniveling minion who remains nameless. 

Note that the sniveling minion is clad in Earthworm Jim's exact freaking super suit.  Mmmmyep.  He gets zapped on the ass as punishment for his failure.  

Page 5

BLEED THROUGH!!  AAIIIGGH!!
We end with an ominous splash page.  Radical Worm has set his sights on Earth!  What could this mean for our heroes?  Oh dear!

This is a minor point, but the 'R' on the top of his chair should be  backwards if it reads the right way from the front.  DERP.

Irritating Back Page I thought was a good idea for some reason

Bwuh?

The back of the issue promises the arrival of a new character soon. Who could it be?  Are they friend, or foe?  They seem to have something to do with a blue skull.  I sure did like drawing skulls. Still do!

COMMENCE HIATUS

Sorry folks, but SITM will be taking a break for a little while.  There's still 12 issues to go, but I'm going on a little vacation of sorts for the next 11 days or so.  I won't have access to my computer, so no updates for me!

This seems like as good a time as any for an intermission, though.  X-2 has just begun, and a whole new cast of characters awaits us.  I hope you will return to join me in early August as I bring this mess to a conclusion.

ENJOY YOUR MEAL

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Sether in the Morff #27

Cover Page


Cylindrical Mysteries
This cover features the mysterious cylindrical object hurtling toward our heroes from the end of the previous issue.  Look at the little face in the upper corner!  He's all puzzled!  Derp?

Page 1

Dat table perspective. 
Prometheus seems really upset about this object.  Where the hell is the camera that's providing them with that visual feed?  That's a nice potted plant on the table.

Also, that red marker I used for the title must have been on its last legs.  I hope I threw it away shortly afterward.

Page 2

*made, not 'maid.'  God dammit.
We return once again to the snowy area of the Morff, the 'Ice Lands.'  It's impossible to read, but there's a little arrow pointing that reads 'snowmobiles!'  Yes, those are snowmobiles the crew is rolling in.  I guess I thought they had tank treads?  

The 'ka-BLAM' noise as the object hits the mountain was a reference to the Nickelodeon show of the same name, Kablam!  I liked that show, in case you were wondering.  You're supposed to read it like the voice over guy did for the show.  "Kaa-BLAM!"

Anyway, it makes an avalanche.  

Page 3

Wackiness at critical mass!
Spelling mistakes aside, there's a lot going on in that first panel!  I loved 'chaos panels,' and loved to 'over do it.'  Amidst the avalanche are various easter eggs, such as a penguin, a skeleton hand, a snowman, and even Sonic the Hedgehog himself, who mutters 'The things I do for my reputation..."

There's also a 'commercial' for Good Year tires, for some reason.  I don't know why in God's name I put it there.  

Anyway, following the avalanche, the team climbs the rest of the way on foot.  "Look, it says something!" observes Zach.  Some of those 'S's' look pretty wonky.  It sounds like steam escaping!

Page 4

Boomb?
There's a little plaque on the cylinder thing that reads: 
"Dear Seth and his twits, this is a boomb! (sic)"
Signed, R

Who could R be?  What villain's name prominently features an R?  Surely, not Radical Worm?  (spoiler alert)

Anyway, the brothers three all feel like suckers before a massive explosion destroys the entire mountain range.  That's mushroom cloud #5 or so.  Woo!

That's also where I decide to end this one.  Four pages!  Deal with it!  Sadly, many of these later issues will prove extremely brief in duration.  I'm not sure why this is; perhaps I had a shorter attention span, or maybe I just wanted to rack up the issue count artificially.  

And in case you're wondering why there's marker bleed-through on this page...

Bonus Back Page

Sucker!  
I drew a skull and crossbones with a 'sucker' on it.  Just to hammer the point home, I guess.  

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Sether in the Morff #26

I should probably write a more robust introduction.  Meh.

Cover Page

Aw yiss.
Strap in folks; this is one of the longest issues of SITM.  It ought to be, since this is the conclusion of the 'first arc' of the story.  

I always really liked this cover page, even though it's pretty hard to make out what exactly is going on.  Seth is jumping out to reach some kind of handle on a space ship, jumping over a field of fire.  Nebula's castle burns in the background.  Nebula, Dark One, and Doom's Day can be seen in the background as well (not sure why Doom's Day is there, since he doesn't show up in this issue).  The Seth, Zach, and Jess symbols are orbiting Seth's head for some reason.  Also, a Dark One minion robot can be seen exploding, as well as the laser of the Robo Buster firing.  So busy!  But I get a good sense of epic-ness here.

I think I vaguely got the composition for this cover from the box art for the Sega Genesis game Strider. (<link)  The castle in the background, and the importance of the handle on the ship are reminiscent of it, and considering Nebula was heavily based off of the Grand Master or whatever his name was strengthens the theory.

Page 1

Crackle!
Let's see... the number of times that confining Seth have actually worked = 0.  Good job there, Nebula.  Just a cracker-jack plan.  

However, Nebula is having none of this.  He fires green lightning!  Look out!

Page 2

Well that was fast...
Seth and Nebula battle it out.  That third panel is Nebula's green lightning 'negating' Seth's energy blasts.  However, Seth gets a lucky shot at Nebula's orb, which apparently spells trubs for Mr. Skeletor Genie.  

Page 3

There's a shift to pen for the dialogue bubble...  Why?
Without the anchoring power of the orb, Nebula's skull explodes, his cloak crumpling to the ground.  Seth decides to take advantage of Dark One's distraction and book it.  I can't spell 'popsicle' correctly, however.

Page 4

Mask off = IT'S ON!
I guess with Nebula's death, the castle destabilizes and begins to fall apart.  The various minions are already fleeing as best they can.  Before Seth can get to an escape ship, he is blasted by the purple lightning power of DARK ONE!!!  And he's even taken off his mask!  What could this mean?

Well, we see that Dark One is just another yellow, bald person, just like Seth & co.  So he's human, I guess?  I never overtly state this in the comic, but this was supposed to be a Big Reveal of the following fact:

Dark One was actually my childhood bully, Matthias!  DUN DUN DUUUN! There was a strange, sick little boy who was my next door neighbor for several years when I was young, named Matthias.  While we were sort of friends, he also did a lot of fucked up stuff.  My parents hated him, and eventually forbid us from playing with Matthias ever again.  Not one to question my parents, Matthias took on a sinister quality.  He was the closest thing I had to a bully or enemy as a kid, so I decided that he was Dark One's 'true identity.'  

This makes Seth and Dark One's climactic showdown all the more thrilling, no?

Page 5

Same last words as his master...
Our duel lasts for... one page.  Dark One deflects a few of Seth's energy bolts with a purple shield-thing, but then Seth shoots the ceiling above Dark One, burying him under a pile of rubble.  Perhaps a call back to how Doom's Day 'killed' Seth?  Perhaps.  Seth sure looks dumb in that last panel.  He's like 'bwuh?'

Page 6

Ert!
Dark One is defeated!  But is he dead?  There's not enough time to confirm the kill, as the fire spreads.  It appears there are no ships left!

"Ert!" is supposed to be a tire-skidding sound.  I was very happy with the fire pouring out of the entrance to the castle.

Page 7

Salvation!  Victo-BRAAAA!
I guess 'BRAAAA!' was my go-to sound for rockets taking off?  Come on, Seth!  You can reach it!  I mean, you were able to magically fly to the top of the castle, so why can't you just magically fly to the rocket?  Or leave the castle under your own power?  I guess the limits of Seth's powers are ill-defined.

Page 8

Circuits again!
Seth makes a running jump, and grabs those handles at the last moment!  Below him, the fire consumes Nebula's castle.  The orchestral score swells!

Page 9

Dat 'splosion though.
Nebula's castle explodes in an awesome blue-white super nova thing. So cool.  The rocket flies straight into a plot hole, where Seth magically finds his way back home to the Morff.  Everyone is happy to see him.

Page 10

First panel = F--
That's a terrible first panel.  Zach looks like a deranged cactus.  Before Seth bothers to inform his brothers on what just went down, they are interrupted by Prometheus, who is on the computer.

Page 11

Spelling/grammatical errors: 3
Prometheus has detected an 'interplanitary object' heading in their direction.  It appears to be a cylinder of some kind.  I like my little text box at the end:
"Could this mean more trouble for the gang, or is it a flying soda can?  Find out next issue!"
Thanks, 10-year-old-me, I couldn't have wrapped this up better myself.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Sether in the Morff #25

I have a headache, so let's make this quick:

The Covery Doo


Need... ibuprofen...
This cover page is all over the place.  Seth runs from a giant flaming maniacal Nebula skull.  Various supporting cast members look on.  There's Dark One robe-goon without any legs (why?), while Dark One himself looks on menacingly.  I fucked up when I drew him, and colored in his head with black before adding his eyes.  It's hard to see, but I drew his eyes on anyway, the red marker just faintly visible as a slightly darker patch on his head.  Whoops!

Page 1

SPACE
We find Seth regaining consciousness onboard the ship what captured him.  See those weird designs on the ship?  Those are supposed to be circuitry.  I thought circuitry was a very futuristic, high-tech looking thing, so on the ship it goes.  

Look at all of those stars.  One of them is a Star of David!  HAHAHAH!!  I learned how to draw the Star of David before the typical pentagonal star.  I was very star-inclusive when it came to drawing SPAAACE.

Page 2

We meet at last!
Seth walks into a transparent pane of 'fiber glass.'  Look, I thought fiber glass was basically just a stronger version of normal glass.  I was young, and ignorant of the world.  

Seth and Dark One actually bandy words, for once.  I'm not sure this has ever happened so far.  I'm sure we're in for a rich, vitriolic exchange with clever wordplay.

Page 3

Exposition brought to you by Evil.
Dark One fills Seth in on the plan, even showing a little picture of Nebula in his dialogue balloon for some reason.  The page is cut off a bit again.  In the third panel, Dark One is supposed to be saying "Nebular, my master, who soon will have that spirit."  (referring to the spirit of Funkatude, keep up people)

You know, I don't think I even knew what a nebula was when I made this.  I had heard the word, and I thought it sounded cool, so I made it the name of an insane skeleton genie.

Page 4

Comin' comin'  ...  *sigh*
Seth is taken to Nebula's spooky room.  Nebula is supposed to be saying 'Come in, come in,' but I f'd that up.  Check out Nebula's skeleton hand!  So cool.

Page 5

I failed to spell 'continued' correctly, in case you were wondering.
Wasting no time, Nebula has Seth strapped into what must be the Robo Buster?  It sure looks different from when last we saw it.  I guess now it's just a table with a laser hanging over it.  

The operation: it will proceed.

Stuff will happen next time!  Look out!  Bloooogh!  (That auto-corrected to 'bologna,' which is also a fun word to say for no reason.)

MAKE THE PAIN STOP!  AIIIGH MY BRAIN!!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sether in the Morff #24

I didn't update yesterday, but I'm updating today!  Keeping you on your toes over the weekend; what will he do?  Blugh?  Glurff? 

I Have a Master's in Fiction Writing

Legs are optional.
Some sort of robot trubs are depicted here.  Nebula's insane orange eyes look on as Seth struggles.  Let's see what happens!

Page 1

Paris in the the spring.
Our heroes are just chilling.  Zach detects a comet 'nearing nearing' the bad lands.  Badlands?  

I thought chess was pretty cool when I was a kid.  I was never any good at it.  My grandpappy would play me at chess and Stratego and never let me win.  He was/is a crusty old asshole.  He's still alive because he goes to the doctor all the time, spending all his money so he can continue to cling to life as a bitter, lonely old shit.  I think he's mostly a cyborg at this point.  Thanks for the $10 Fandango gift card, gramps!

Where was I?  Oh yeah, a dumb comic I made 18 years ago.

Page 2

So much text, so much potential for failure.
That jeep rocks, apparently.  Drawing vehicles is hard, okay?  I could draw spaceships until I passed out from malnutrition, but drawing cars has always been a challenge.  That jeep looks like a smooshed rectangle with wheels sticking out of the side.  I like the tire tracks it leaves behind on the fucking grass, though.  

The return of 'cool special effects man.'  Running gags!  I guess part of this page is cut off?  Shit.  It's been a while since we've had a mushroom cloud, too.  This page gets a 7/10.

Page 3

Beep boop: robots.
It's not a comet!  It's a crashed space ship!  Oh no!  A bunch of robot guys jump out of it.

These are supposed to be robot versions of the standard blue, four-eyed Dark One Men.  Their heads sort of look like a black-and-white beach ball.  Yay?

Page 4

I hope we had insurance.
The robots proceed to THROW THE JEEP!  OH DAMN!  OH DAMN!  OH DAMN!

Seth has had ENOUGH.  He does that stupid-looking bicycle kick thing.  Clang!

Page 5

Just like the Gypsy woman said!
Seth then unleashes a DRILL KICK!  FUCK YEAH!  But the robots get a hold on him.  This is a problem!

These robot guys were basically me stealing yet another idea.  Does anybody remember the beginning of the second season of Power Rangers?  Or whatever/whenever it was when Lord Zed replaced Rita as the main bad guy?  The Putties, the bog-standard minions that the Power Rangers dispatched effortlessly, were replaced by 'upgraded' Putties with a big 'Z' symbol on their chests.  They were tougher, and could only be destroyed by punching them in their big, obvious weak point (the Z).  So upgrading the toughness and threat level of the minions was an important step for upping the stakes in my tiny, impressionable mind.  

Page 6

Braaaa!
The robots toss Seth into their ship, and blast off.  Zach and Jess regain consciousness too late to help me.  Oh-no!  What ever will become of Seth?  All of the answers will be revealed in time, child.  Now go and play with your coon hounds.  Don't forget to chop down a massive tree as some sort of rite of passage.  WASH THE INTESTINES! FUCK THAT MOUNTAIN LION!  ARRRRGGHH!!!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Sether in the Morff #23

What was the name of Godzilla's idiotic son?  I watched that awful movie many times when I was young, but I don't think it ever worked its way into SITM.  Where was I?  Oh yeah:

Cover Thingy

This is one of my favorite covers, actually

What's this?  A skeleton hand holding a glowing amalgam of the various symbols we've seen?  What could it be?  READ ON:

Page 1

Prosis?
We rejoin Dark One as he lands his cruiser in Nebula's castle, hovering in the madness of the Pandimensionality.  I honestly don't know what that dialogue thingy says.  'Landing process' is my best guess.  

A number of colorful, caped gentlemen seem to be waiting for Dark One and his retinue. 

Page 2

Bro grabs.
Scythe and Dark One engage in some sick-nasty Bro Grabs.  I like that he apparently has a sense of camaraderie with his fellow black-cape guys.  Glad to see I finally spelled Scythe's name correctly. 

Look at Radical Worm!  He's an ice-cold killa!  What a magnificent Thug Bastard.  God, this page is awesome.  I rock.

Radical finds the various flavors of Dark One clones to be weird.  We're right there with you, bro.  When I made this, I think I just wanted to have a bunch of 'lesser Dark Ones' standing around.  My adult mind has come up with this justification: these are the various servants of Nebula, each tasked with subjugating a different dimension.  It's CANON NOW ASSHOLES!  

Page 3

Oh dear!
Scythe leads Dark One to a dark room, where a glowing orb rests on a pedestal.  Emerging from it is a giant, flaming, screaming skull.

Page 4

Nebula!
Ah, here we have our first good look at Nebula.  Apparently he's some kind of grim reaper skeletor guy.  

I believe I had recently watched Disney's Hercules when I made this.  The way Hades would go from calm and collected to FUCKING PISSED amused me greatly, so I did the same thing for Nebula.  He also sounds like James Woods, for the record.

Nebula's design is also heavily based off of the main bad guy from the Sega Genesis game Strider.  The Grand Master (link, had to Google it).  He was this black-cloak clad, cackling, energy-firing, creepy-fingered guy who I thought was MAD WICKED DOPE.  HNNGH THE FEELS.

Page 5

OH JESUS FUCK!
Dat splash page, though.  Apparently Nebula does not like the Spirit of Funkitude.  Looks like Seth is caught in the middle of some sort of trans-dimensional hate-crush.

Page 6

You got a little something on your face, there, Radical Worm.
So apparently Nebula's plan is to shove Seth into some sort of devious-looking, James Bond villain contraption.  Because that worked so well last time...  *sigh*

These poor assholes don't even realize they've already lost at this point.  Spoiler alert.

Page 7

Nebulolz
Nebula enjoys a well-earned villainous monologue, followed by a hearty Evil Laugh.  He's a bad egg!  I hope he gets what's coming to him.  DERF.

We'll rejoin the Three Stooges next issue.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Sether in the Morff #22

You ever get that feeling where you eat too many M&M's?  That's how this issue of SITM should make you feel...  IN THE WRONG ORIFICE!!! 

Shmover Shmage


Your hatred gives you focus.
Ooh, this cover implies that everyone's favorite motivation-less villain, Dark One, will feature heavily.  What secrets shall be revealed?

Mostly out of laziness, I would just draw Dark One with a black marker and not bother 'filling him in,' but he's supposed to be clad entirely in black; here we have a rare example of how he is 'supposed to look.'

Page 1

Before cell phones.
So Dark One is the main character of this issue.  How refreshing!  We join our antagonist as he receives a call from someone named 'Scyth.'  (Scythe?)  I thought the word 'scythe' was cool when I was a kid, so why not have it be the name of a green-eyed friend of Dark One?  

Anyway, Scythe mentions that someone called Master Nebula wishes to see Dark One.  This name alone is enough to fill Dark One and Scythe with a certain amount of trepidation.  Zounds!  We learn here that Dark One is merely a servant of some as-yet-unseen master!  WHO COULD IT BE?!?  Calm down, and read on.

Page 2

'Ready,' assholes.  The word is spelled 'ready.'
Dark One immediately orders Radical Worm to prepare the cruiser for departure.  As is tradition with most Dark One vehicles, it resembles his head/face, a tradition inspired in large part by Dr. Robotnik, Sonic the Hedgehog's nemesis.  

When I was extremely young, even younger than I was when I made these comics, I distinctly remember mispronouncing Dr. Robotnik's name.  I called him 'Dr. Robokiny.'  I don't know why I did this.  It's still better than 'Eggman.'  Yeah, I went there.  

Page 3

Like a G-6.
As the cruiser flies away, we get a nice panoramic shot of the Morff and its environs.  That giant curly mountain was probably ripped straight out of The Nightmare Before Christmas.  That movie was, and still is, one of the greatest films I've ever seen.

I think that teal structure in the lower left is Bubble Man's domain.  He's still alive, remember!  Too bad we never actually go there.

Check out the interior of Dark One's cruiser!  Swanky. 

Page 4

All aboard the Magic Schoolbus?
Let's pause for a moment, so that I can explain what the hell we're looking at here.

The pilot of the cruiser says "Entering pandimensionality."  The cruiser then enters a swirling vortex of color and giant, floating blue letters.

What is going on here?  The standard answer to this question, at least as far as SITM is concerned, is, and always will be: plagiarism. 

I had a book called 'I Left My Sneakers in Dimension X,' by Bruce Coville.  I bought this book because it featured a giant orange alien monster on the cover, and the title was irresistible to a spastic little boy of my sensibilities.  Google it if you want a plot synopsis, but in that book, Dimension X existed alongside the various other dimensions of existence, the totality of which was called the 'pandimensionality.'  I always envisioned the Morff existing in Dimension X, it being the coolest-sounding of dimensions.  That is why Dark One's cruiser seems to be 'leaving' the blue X in that last panel.

So yes, the pandimensionality exists in SITM.  Remember in issue #1 when Seth was told that the fate of the universe rested on his shoulders?  Well, this applies across all dimensions as well.

We are approaching the end of the first 'arc' of SITM.  The stakes are about to be raised!  Get pumped.

Page 5

Spelling mistakes: exist.
The cruiser approaches an ominous-looking castle floating in the middle of the Pandimensionality.  This is apparently 'Nebula's Castle.'  Oooooh!  Whoever this Nebula guy is, he apparently is a Big Deal.

The issue ends here, for no reason.  The next issue could easily have been part of this one, but I felt like ending on a nice, suspenseful 'to be contenued' (sic).  You'll have to wait another day to finally meet Nebula.  Tough cookies!

Fun Fact: the design of the castle was inspired by Greedy's Castle. It was the final level for a Sega Genesis game called Ristar, which I loved.  God, I loved so many Genesis games.  About the only one I didn't really like was a Taz-Mania game, featuring the Tasmanian Devil of Looney Tunes fame.  That and the Lawnmower Man game.  Both of those sucked pretty hard.

Also, fuck the Carnival Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 3.