“And look, I ordered steak, which is expensive. That, my imported beer and my suit must show how successful I am.”
So I thought about making this post earlier but thought I should wait until today’s page.
Since the soft reboot that started with Fer coming on board, every character has been, in some way, inspired or based on a person I knew. Fer and David, obviously on us with some key differences, Alice was originally introduced because I had a girlfriend at the time I started the strip, and then kept her around for the dynamic. Mike was a combination of two editors I’ve worked with. Julia is a PG version of a writer friend who has a wealth of model stories and a mouth so dirty Tarantino would be shocked. Chloe was inspired by a weird first date I felt I had to put in the strip. Greg and Vanessa are multiple people I’ve known, both personally and through industry gossip, who had too much ambition with too little resources and no one to say no.
Molly is also a combination of people. Me, some people I knew, and a bunch of horror stories I’ve heard online. She’s someone who just gets shit on constantly. For some reason people ignore her or put her second, but it’s always unconsciously and never meant with malice. Because she’s meek and rarely stands up for herself, people always assume she’s willing to go with whatever and when she does reach her limit, she’s brushed aside because she’s gotten to a point where she’s so used to being disregarded she takes it as inevitable.
Her flinching whenever someone calls out to her was from a friend of an ex who acted like that any time he heard his name. He used to get yelled at by his teachers and parents for any odd behaviours caused by his autism. Her skills with art and props come from stories of people fighting depression by just burying themselves in their work. And her mother favouring Chloe comes from an ex I’m glad didn’t last long who played favourites with her nephews very openly. Not being outright hostile, just showering one in presents and junk food while the other got his basic needs and proper discipline.
I think she’s someone we can all recognise and empathise with, either because we’ve known someone like her or just from watching Meg get shit on constantly on Family Guy. Or maybe you are her, in which case I’m sorry to hear that.
I’m glad she’s been getting a good response and I hope that positive outlook continues later on.
Hmm, I should talk about the story we just finished.
Back in 2013 just as Fer was wrapping up chapter four, he let me know that he’d be too busy to get started on the next chapter right away so I just wrote an outline for chapter five and left it at that. We uploaded Paul’s stuff and then when that got near the end, I realised I needed to get back to work.
After seven pages, I hit a major writing block. Even though I had the next bit planned out I couldn’t get it to work.
Originally the lack of money wasn’t supposed to come out into the open until later, around chapter six or seven. Instead I wanted to give the ladies of LWI a bit more screen time so I had planned for them to have a girls night out with a few hints that the honeymoon was over for Mike and Chloe. But I couldn’t make that work and I was running out of time, so I decided to cheat and threw in Ethereal High.
That ended up changing everything.
With nothing else feeling right, I brought forward Mike’s shady dealings and had the crew realise he was dooming them. The cast was also expanded to feature Greg and Vanessa, wanting to do some stories with a more successful comic since I had some stories in mind that required a bigger property. That was also altered, since originally the movie project would have been Mike encouraging the cast to translate Emerald Justice to the screen, hoping to skim the budget to pay back everyone they owed without David knowing.
Mike breaking up with Chloe was always planned, though she would be less sympathetic. I was dating someone at the time who had grown up in a rich household (Well, rich compared to most people I knew) and had a hard time understanding my lack of funds or that I couldn’t just take time off work to go on a holiday on a whim. It was near the end of our relationship and I was just getting more and more frustrated with her. I’m glad I cut out that stuff, it wasn’t fair to her or Chloe. Painted her in a much worse light than what had actually happened.
Something also changed? Molly was supposed to come in around chapter six. Her bit with redrawing the pages was in my head since chapter four. But with the different direction there was no real way to include her in the story until later on. When I got to the break up I realised the perfect way to bring her in by making her Chloe’s sister instead of some random art student Mike pulled off the street.
Am I happy with how things turned out? Yeah, I think this will work out better than my original plan that kind of stayed similar to book 1. And now book 3 will have more focus on the newer characters in a different situation. It was always planned to be the movie book but this time with a fresher take than the same old, same old.
I hope you enjoy it. And that you liked the previous comics.
Until next time.
I probably should have done this a month ago when Blip shut down but it wasn’t until this page came up that I remembered this (I write the scripts way in advance and sometimes forget them).
Back in early February 2009 I was linked to a top 10 list of dirty jokes in Animaniacs by a guy calling himself the Nostalgia Critic. I decided to check out his website, That Guy With The Glasses, and found a host of other critics like the Nostalgia Chick, the Spoony One, Linkara, Marzgurl and plenty others. The idea of reviewing didn’t really appeal to me since I felt all potential topics were taken but I couldn’t help but wonder just how they made their money since most of them were doing their shows full time. Eventually I learned that they had ads that sometimes didn’t play on my PC for some reason.
In 2010 I noticed a lot of the comments had obviously watched the whole video but were commenting as soon as it went up. I was trying to get myself known as a fan in hopes of spreading LWI to a larger crowd, though mostly failed at that. Trying to get in an edge, I went to blip.tv in search of early episodes and found that you could do more than reviews. You could do original programming (I knew of Red vs Blue’s existence but was not aware of how big it was).
Because I had just finished a course to enter a field that was not hiring, I felt bad about asking my parents for money to learn film, so I figured much like photoshop and writing I could teach myself the basics. My sister had a digital camera that could film so I reckoned I could borrow that when needed. And I assumed I could find actors for free since most of the shows I watched had a volunteer cast. And I was unemployed at the time so there was no need to worry about a schedule. But, with all this, I never filmed a second aside from some vlogs floating around Youtube.
The problem? I couldn’t work out a premise to write that I could feasibly shoot.
I suffered from an overly grand imagination back then. Every comic had to be an epic long runner. Every novel had to span eight hundred pages. And every idea for a show had to require a budget beyond what a Sydney kid living on Centrelink could afford. Elves, vampires, zombies, ghosts, magic. Nothing sounded good to me unless they had one of those elements and I could not reign in my ambition.
Eventually I came up with an idea that could work, but it was years later so I was too little too late. The window had closed and Blip was reportedly paying much less than it had been. I made a go of reviewing comics to get on TGWTG but they closed submissions and my new PC could not handle rendering the files. A few folks on the Misfile forums and I got it in our heads that we should do an animated fan series. I wrote the first two episodes, we were getting ready to record some voices for it, but then we discovered no quality animator was going to give us the time of day on the meager budget we had scraped together.
When I look back, I feel like I screwed up the perfect chance. It was the heyday of ad supported video content and I should have grabbed it while I had the opportunity to get in on the ground floor. Even though I know I would have sucked as a director and had no clue how to edit a video together, I sometimes look at these people earning their living by creating reviews or original shows and I kick myself a little. Even though I stopped going to That Guy With the Glasses after so many people I liked left and I know many of them had to give up the shows and get day jobs. Even though I know so many people are now screwed because they relied on Blip because their videos get content ID strikes on Youtube.
So as many of you have noticed I don’t blog that often. It’s mostly because I forget about it but the other main point is I just don’t have much to say that’s new that I think you guys would care about. Otherwise it’d just be “Books are still for sale, welcome new readers, job was same old, same old,” every week. Or me talking about the comics I read (Got Lazarus Volume 2 today. Great series, go check it out). My life’s been boring since my last break up.
I used to blog more, the old site before the wipe had a number of posts, but I recently read a few old ones and realised how bad I am at conveying my opinion. And it’s gotten me into trouble in the past. Hell, once or twice I’ve sent questions to people on tumblr, but when I read the answer I realise what I asked sounds nothing like what I meant, so the other person usually doesn’t give an answer to what I wanted to know. And I’ve written columns before, only to immediately want to go back and start from scratch because I realised how I should have phrased something.
And I know I’m not the only one who does this. I’ve seen other famous folks online receive negative feedback to blogs and comics, only to lash out at the commenter that they live in a fantasy world. But when you read the original post, you can tell where the comments are coming from. Usually that reaction is just from the author not wanting to admit they screwed up though, but sometimes you get an apology or edit.
So, rather than make an idiot out of myself, I’ve decided I should keep quiet unless I’m absolutely certain about what I’m saying. I’d rather spend the time used typing up these words trying to make a better comic.
Because after all, that’s why you guys are here.
Hope all is well with you.
Last Friday, Paul’s final strip for LWI was uploaded after they were all wiped from the site back in 2012.
Early last year, Fer managed to get a lot of work for his art and needed some time off to take care of that. He still managed to get the LWI trade finished, and you’ll get to see those new pages starting this week, but we needed something to fill in the gap. I had initially been wary about uploading Paul’s work because it was nearly 300 comics and doing them in one go was not all that appealing. But I did get a few messages and posts asking when those comics were going to come back because that was when a lot of my fans got into the comic. So Fer’s break ended up being the perfect opportunity to finally get it done.
It’s kind of hard to say how I feel about the old strips. I still like the art, but when I printed the first fifty, I cringed at the writing. A lot of it felt stale and bland. Paul would reject strips back when we worked together and after looking back at those scripts to compare, holy crap am I glad he kept me from making an even bigger idiot of myself. He also took out excessive dialogue that helped the flow better in some cases. Sure, he’d cut corners here and there, but the guy was busy and it’s not like he saw any money off of this. That would be my main regret, that I never got to compensate him for all the hard work he did. Unfortunately I didn’t get anything either so there was nothing to pay him. We expected it would and I think if we had gone through with our Image plan it could have happened, but I never had a pitch that interested him.
I also expected it to go on forever, even though around strip 200 he told me he was leaving that year. Instead of wrapping up story lines I instead set up new ones. But surprisingly it all worked out since most of the villains were unintentionally had written endings. Helena is living as a human with Becky, Nell is dealing with Drae, who is dying of an infection, the toaster never got its hands on the magic wand, and Hannibal is stuck under the house. When I pitched the idea to Paul back in 2008 there was actually a reason for all this weird crap that I explained to him, but it actually works even without the explanation. I am glad Paul gave me the final five strips when he brought me crashing back to reality with the news he was leaving. He could have just said seeya and left me in the lurch, but he didn’t. And he had given me fair warning far in advance, I was just too dumb not to listen.
Now, there’s one last thing I need to address. I said that Paul and I did 300 strips together, so why are there only 277? Well that’s because back when LWI first started, I was the artist. It was actually an experiment to finally get me to make my own comics. However, I can’t draw so Paul came in. And when we got the LWI website, I elected to not upload those strips because I felt they would turn off newcomers and didn’t feel that they added much. They introduced some of the cast, but you don’t really need them to enjoy the comic.
Instead of uploading them, I have decided that after a few art courses to help me and some more practice comics, I will eventually round up the 300 number by writing and drawing a prequel detailing David’s car accident, how he got Helena the cat and Hannibal the robot, how Alice became his roommate and of course, how David decided to get into comics. Actually it’s more likely I’ll get someone else to draw it, maybe Fer if he has the chance, but for now the plan is that I will tackle it in a year or so.
So that’s about all I have left to say. Thank you always to Paul for his hard work for almost three years, I could not have gotten this comic where it is without you. Thanks to Fer for taking over after him. And of course, thank you for sticking with us for so long, even during the down times and hiatuses.
Until next time, take care.