Sorry gang, no comics for this week. I am preparing to teach a new class this fall and I’m really excited about it, but it is taking a bit of time to get ready and I want to take my time and make sure I do it right. I’ll be back next week with brand new comics and a surprise for you all later in the month! Thanks for your understanding.
Work is starting to ramp up for me here a bit so for the time being I’m moving my update schedule to every Tuesday and Thursday. This will hopefully help me to keep producing comics at a high level of quality as well as help to stave off my inevitable heart attack for another few months at least.
If you love Robot Pirates and you can’t get enough, please consider becoming a Patron. For as little as a buck a month you get access to a private patrons-only blog where I post tons of cool behind-the-scenes content as well as access to a live stream where you can watch me draw the next day’s comic live! Check it out here!
Mad Max: Fury Road is a Masterpiece. It is a tentpole of film making that stands among the very best films ever made. I say this knowing full well that I sound as if I am drifting into the realm of hyperbole. Truth is though, very few films have ever surprised me and stuck with me in the way that this film has.
I won’t turn this into a long, gushing post about my thoughts on the film. I will however point you to the latest episode of the Geeks of Steel Podcast where I get into a pretty deep spoiler-free discussion of the film and the effect that it has had on me. I will also say that this film is a much needed wake-up call for fans of action films. For the past few decades we’ve been gently lulled into accepting big, splashy, ridiculous CG effects and have completely forgotten just how much emotional and visceral impact the real thing can have on us. And having just seen a 70-year-old director who has not made an action film for 30 years come in and do something that directors half his age could never conceive of, I am truly inspired and invigorated as I continue in my own humble pursuits.
I implore everyone to please check this film out while it is still in theaters. It has had a bit of a sluggish showing in the box office thus far despite it’s critical acclaim and I really want to see hollywood encouraged to make fewer films like Transformers 4 and more films like Fury Road.
My friend Adam Huber of the absolutely amazing comic Bug Martini and I do a weekly podcast where we nerd out over the latest in geek culture. This week we dissect the Batman V Superman and Star Wars teaser trailers. Check it out!
So this is my third go at re-launching a comic effort under the title Robot Pirates. Admittedly it’s been a bit of a rough take-off so far.
My first comic Robot Beach was a huge learning experience. With that strip I really cut my teeth while discovering what works well for me and what doesn’t. I ended it after three solid years of effort. Ultimately I was very happy with the strip but it just wasn’t what I wanted to do day in and day out.
I took a lengthy break before deciding to give it another go. This time I’d try something different. Completely different. At first I thought that I’d put together a strip without a specific theme. The idea was that whatever joke crossed my mind, I could simply crank that out as a strip for the day.
The problem was that without a strong theme, it all just fell flat. That’s not to say that this type of comic can’t be done. There are a lot of comics out there that try this same approach. Many of them much better than mine (see: Perry Bible Fellowship) But what was I bringing to the table that was fresh and unique? Nothing.
Later I became enamored with Kris Straub’s horror comic Broodhollow. He masterfully combines a simple, cartoony style with a deep, engrossing story that twists and turns. His comic oscillates between light and playful to dark and twisted with the flip of a page and it is brilliant. It inspired me to try my hand at this kind of storytelling. I wrote a lengthy story set in the same universe as Robot Beach and started producing pages.
It was pretty to look at but ultimately I got bored with it and if I was bored, everyone who read my strip would have been bored as well.
So yeah, I put a lot of effort into stuff that went nowhere. That effort was not wasted however. I learned what I was good at, what I wasn’t good at, what I enjoyed, and what drove me crazy. I became a better artist and I picked up a few tricks that I get to use in the comics you see now. Best of all, I’m now working with confidence knowing that I tried my hand at something different, and ultimately arrived (somewhat full circle) at the approach that works best for me.