Wednesday, September 7, 2022

The One with the Comic Dump (or The One with the Other Missing Strip)

This week is a bit unusual. I'll explain what I mean by that.

By this time in the life of the comic strip, I had been doing it every week for nearly two years. I admire myself for sticking with it for that long. As a life-long ADHD neurodivergent, it can be hard for me to stick with one project for any length of time, although I don't think I was as bad at it back then as I am today. The fact that I've stuck with this weekly blog this long proves that I still have some self-control.

Anyway, by this time, what I once thought was a limitless well of inspiration and ideas was slowly revealing the bottom of the pit, and I was having difficulty coming up with coherent ideas for the stories. If you've stuck with me to this point in the blog, you know what happens when I run out of story ideas: I revert to the dreaded gallery strips. Only I went off the rails here.

Below are ten gallery strips that were published within three months, and one that wasn't. They were interspersed with a grand total of 3 story-related strips. It is shocking on a creative level.

I'll say this up front: I'm not proud of this. Not in the least. That is why I wanted to save you, the reader, the chore of slogging through these to weed out the on-going story, and do a comic dump here this week.

Below is the dump of ten (eleven) gallery strips, with the original lettering, because on some level I'm very disappointed that these exist, at least in this concentration. I'll still give commentary on them, but just know that next week it gets better. And after that, the creative damn breaks and I hit another stride thanks to, of all people, Pat Sajak (more on that later).

Strip 103/166 - The armies charged the opposite way! Get it?

If you can't read it (or choose not to try and decipher it) the text of the last two panes is as follows:

"The armies were about to charge..."

"But something went wrong."

Bunker Hill / Flunker Hill, it's a weird choice, but here we are. I'm fairly certain that, even charging the correct direction, this is not how the actual historical battle went. But, I wasn't there, so I could be wrong...

Strip 106/166 - I mean, they have been drawn now, so technically...

In model building, especially models used for miniatures in movies and television, there is a term called "kit-bashing" where you take a basic model shape, and you start adding elements from various other model kits, some completely unrelated, to your model to create something entirely new. That is essentially what has happened here. Take the original Furble character and add bits and pieces (or take them away in the case of the last pane) to come up with something new and weird. Interesting? Maybe. Funny? Probably not as funny as it was in my head.

Strip 107/166 - Furry dinos instead of feathers, right?

The only thing that I can really say about Prehistoric Furbulian Animals is that there apparently isn't a lot of genetic diversity throughout the history of the planet. Furry dinos, leads to furry balls with antennae, leads to furry bipeds. It's a wonder the gene pool hasn't collapsed already.

Strip 108/166 - With apologies to Hammer and Toho

Truth be told, I'm actually kind of proud of this one, simply for the design of Furblzila, spelling not withstanding. We've already established that Furbulian entertainment closely resembles Earth entertainment for some strange reason, so it stand to reason that characters like these would exist. Not sure how Toho or Akira Watanabe would react to it, but I like it.

Strip 109/166 - Relevant current events, because that's what's cool

If you are of a certain age, you remember the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Or, at the very least, you've heard of it. Yet another attempt to refer to relevant current events in the strip. Humorous, but not funny, probably.

And, yes, in retrospect, I realize what the intergalactic cruiser resembles. Believe me when I say, such things were the furthest from my nerdy mind at that point.

Strip XXX/166 - This strip removed by the editor

Here is the second missing strip from the Furble canon. This one, however, only existed on my original boards. The editor felt that it wasn't appropriate, and decided not to print it. At the time, I wasn't happy, but in hind-sight, she was 100% correct.

The strip was another attempt to be relevant using current events. It was a gallery strip that talked about businesses on Furbulia. I honestly don't remember what the first two were, but the third one was the "Ted Kennedy School of Driving." Shockingly tasteless, hugely inappropriate, I fully admit that now. It's good that it doesn't exist, but I'll still own up to making the mistake of trying to get it published.

Strip 110/166 - Furbulia Paranormal on the History Channel

I have always been interested in the paranormal, even though my thoughts on it have shifted from naive belief to healthy skepticism over the years. These three are among the most famous paranormal concepts around. 

The "Lock-Mess Monster" is a bit difficult if you don't realize that the little boxes at the bottom of the pane are a bunch of locks, or a "mess" of locks. A stretch, I know.

I do like the idea that their UFOs are actually our spacecraft, however.

Strip 111/166 - Oof. That's the comment.

I'm kind of surprised that this one got printed. 40-ish years removed from World War II and Pearl Harbor I guess gives it some leeway, but it's still a bit on the tasteless side. And I won't even talk about how the spaceship seems to morph shape between panes.

Strip 112/166 - Are you tired of these yet? Because I am.

I'm not sure why I leaned so heavily on the idea that Furble's people were, to put it bluntly, morons. I mean, they developed space travel and advanced AI, so they must have been able to do something right. Yet, every other reference has something to do with them being idiots about one thing or another. Just another odd creative choice that I didn't really think all the way through at the time.

Strip 114/166 - Again, they are in this strip, so...

A extension of the "kit-bashing" from before, but this time it's technically attribute-bashing. 

Abnormble actually looks kind of horrific in retrospect.

It's probably good that we aren't seeing Halfurble in profile. Could be messy.

And Flatble, well, I guess if you lose anything under the refrigerator, he's your creature.

Strip 117/166 - The light at the end of the tunnel is near!

We've come to the final strip of the comic dump, plays on popular-ish shows at the time. Perfect Strangers was a popular sitcom that was part of ABC's TGIF lineup on Friday nights. That's Incredible! was a reality show that had actually gone off the air a couple years before this was published. And most people know about Geraldo Rivera's talk show, Geraldo, where he was famously hit in the face by a chair swung by a guest, sending ratings through the roof. Unlike the chair, none of these landed.

And that's it. The silver lining is gallery strips only appear a couple more times for the remainder of the run of the comic strip.

Next week, we're back to a more normal entry. See you then!

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