Wednesday, January 19, 2022

The First Story Part 1 - Ships, Snow, and TV Stores

The "bio-blurb"
(Click to enlarge)
The comic strip went simply by the name "Furble" for the entire run, and was attributed to "Marc". 

If you didn't know me, or didn't read the bio-blurb published along with the first strip, you wouldn't know who created it. It's something that, until recently, I never really considered. Although I didn't intend any level of anonymity (especially in a town of just over 600), I never did it for any sort of adulation, either. At the most, I simply hoped that I wouldn't get made fun of at school for what I was doing. And while it was never a major subject of bullying, it did happen. We'll get to that later.

The story starts out with Furble and FC crash-landing on Earth. The mashed-up exposition text in the first panel goes as follows:

"The alien Furble's spaceship is traveling through the universe exploring other planets for other intelligent (or unintelligent) life forms. The ship has just made it past Mars and the dangerous astroid [sic] belt and is now orbiting the planet Earth. But unknown to Furble and his companion, FC, it has entered the Earth's atmosphere."

Strip 1 of 166 - I think we're gonna crash!
As my penmanship was inconsistent at the best of times, lettering was a challenge. My first attempts at dialog were a mixed bag, as well. The decision to try and elide the word "systems" and the exclamation "yipes" is baffling to this day, but there it is.

Strip 2 of 166 - The ship gets the boot (never to be seen again)
The second strip serves three purposes: to trap our protagonists on Earth (for now), to establish the physical scale (our main characters are actually very small), and roll out the old "it couldn't get worse" joke. Always a winner (maybe). 

Strip 3 of 166 - It's a science joke, get it?
While I think I referenced a specific geographical location maybe once (beyond "the planet Earth") a wise person once said "create what you know," or words to that effect. So, I set the strip in Minnesota, at least in my mind. Of course, when I started writing the strip it was in the dead of a Minnesota winter, so there's going to be snow.

Strip 4 of 166 - There's a window there, even if you can't see it
I don't know who made the decision to ditch the fountain pen and India ink and move to felt-tipped pens, whether it was me, my mom (my de facto creative consultant), my editor, or a combination. But, the thin lines of the fountain pen simply didn't always translate well to the paste up process, which is obvious in the first four strips as lines disappear from various areas of the panels. While I wasn't able to be as detailed with the felt-tipped pen as I was with the fountain pen, it worked out much better in the long run.

The story continues next week...

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