Category Archives: Internet Comics

I have no material.

Today’s blog is pretty bland. I don’t really have anything interesting to talk about, except perhaps this interesting Doctor Seuss bit.

Go on, read it. Thanks for drawing this, Ward Sutton. It was quite funny.

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Another Free Post Saturday

Here’s another bit o info about that thing I never wrote.

—-

The Netrunners
Some of the key figures that help out a lot in Genesis is the team of Netrunners.

What is a Netrunner? Netrunners are people who spend too much time on their computers, on forums and video sites, to try and find leads. Dedicated net squads are a key component in an overall strategy to find and report the news.

At Genesis, there are three Netrunners, which all have different skillsets that compliment each other.

Keith Quon
Age: 38

Keith was the first runner brought on board to Genesis. A graduate from MIT, Keith was one of the members of Assembly Aggregate that left upon the Janus buyout. Back then, Keith was simply a grunt runner, and not in any position to shape the direction of what he was doing. Oscar tapped him as soon as he started forming Genesis, and decided that he would be the lead in his new group of netrunners. Keith was more than happy with his promotion. He decided that it was time to reunite his old team, the Crimson Commandos.

The Crimson Commandos was a group of three players of the famous Starnet game Event Horizon, an online game populated by nerds and online ne’er-do-wells. Keith and his buddies wasted a lot of time back in college playing it, forging a relationship where they were knit so closely they could predict each others’ moves.

Keith had to get his two old roomies, Jim Codding and Ed Maris, back together. This was bigger than just some video game.

Of the three ‘runners, Keith is the one best acquainted with hardware and electrical concepts. He spent many of his formative years learning electrical engineering and programming. Owing much to his time at MIT, Keith often makes irreverent comments laced with engineering jargon. He only makes sense to himself or perhaps his fellow runners. Even they sometimes have problems understanding him.

Aside from spending copious amounts of time reading starnet forums, Keith has a large collection of inside contacts in many industries and governments. He often acts as a coordinator between the three runners, and has veto power over what tips they decide to pick up on.

In his spare time, Keith enjoys classical music and puzzles.

Jim Codding
Age: 37

Jim is a rotund, keyboard loving member of the Crimson Commandos. Jim is a bit of an old-school type, both in his lifestyle and in his input methods. He still uses old-fashioned keyboards and pointing devices instead of more modern speech recognition and motion controls. His conservative nature is often a liability, as he is willing to argue, at great lengths, about risks. Coworkers often rib him for being a pansy.

Jim’s one of the food lovers in the office. Him and Ellie differ on this in several ways. While Ellie is more on the production side of things, Jim is on the consumer side. He enjoys tasting various flavors, and often orders out things that the rest of the office wouldn’t ordinarily eat. He is very adamant on using natural and organic ingredients. His paranoia can know no bounds sometimes, and it’s not just with food. All of his computers have several layers of often ridiculous security.

Jim was a cryptography major at MIT and is the go-to guy for when codebreaking is involved. Believe it or not, it’s what he does for fun. Nerd.

Ed Maris
Age: 39

Ed is the third of the Crimson Commandos and their communications expert, specializing in satellite and interplanetary comms. The eldest of the Crimson Commandos, Ed graduated from MIT before the others, and went on for an uneventful career with the satellite manufacturer Cinquest. He worked there for fifteen years until he was contacted by Keith to join his new team of information overlords. Though the compensation wasn’t as good as working for a defense contractor, he couldn’t resist joining back up with his old college buddies.

You’ll find Ed often buried in his office, with his large screen multi-monitor setup watching the competitors’ feeds. Radios, televisions, computers all line his walls. He prefers the carpetbombing approach, watching the competition and attempting to react and maneuver around them. Thanks to his intimate knowledge of the satellite and gate communications systems, he’s the man to go to when needing to scope out what the competition is doing.

He spends most of his free time with his wife, Jen, and two children Rene and Brent. Unlike the other netrunners, he enjoys the outdoors and often takes his family on camping trips to go fishing and photograph wildlife.

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Free Post Friday, again

Here’s another character bio I wrote up for that thing that never went anywhere. It’s the primary rival of Ellie.

Name: Suna Rondalmos (pronounced Soon-ah)
Age: 25
Species: Human
Occupation: Anchor/Special Reporter
Employer: Janus Syndication System
Born: Albany, New York
Current Residence: Gerod City

Suna is a special reporter and sometimes on-screen anchor for Janus Syndication System. One of the youngest to achieve this rank, she is one of the “star” talents at Janus… relatively speaking. She is Ellie’s rival and, for the most part, nemesis. Suna is quite attractive, and makes no bones about it. She dresses in expensive designer fashions to show off her physical gifts and impress the cameras. She is a little taller than Ellie, and a bit more model-ish in her build.

The way Suna talks to the audience is very different from Ellie’s. She doesn’t take her job as seriously as Ellie does, and often does not reflect the proper tone a situation requires. Her demeanor on-screen changes dramatically, like she flips a switch when the camera is on her. She keeps up an on-screen persona, much like if she was an actress performing the role of a journalist. Off-camera, her attitude is far different than the perky and cheerful one viewers are familiar with. She can be dismissive and overconfident, even though her actual reportage and investigative skills are not to the same level as Ellie’s. She has an annoying catchphrase that she uses frequently: “You’ll get it sooner with Suna.”

So if Suna is not as talented or personable as Ellie, how is it that, to a layman, she is the more successful journalist? Thanks to the monetary muscle and vast size of Janus, she is able to cover many more events, some of lesser quality. She has the resources and people under her to be able to help bring together a report faster, at the cost of some depth. Low hanging fruit is an apt quality to many of her stories. Nevertheless, she has won a few awards, though Ellie has always been critical of them, thinking they were rigged for her to win.

Suna is the one person that can make Ellie visibly angry with little provocation. Their history goes back a bit, as Suna was already employed by Janus when they bought out the Assembly Aggregate. Ellie came on with some seniority as she had been with a service longer than Suna. Ellie and Suna clashed quite a bit when they were both on the Janus payroll. Suna’s kiss-ass attitude with the higher ups annoyed Ellie, as well as Suna’s willingness to do easy work. After some time had passed from the buyout, Ellie quit, incensed at what she perceived to be a lack of integrity at Janus. Suna was very happy to see her go, and took much of Ellie’s responsibilities, although she never performed as well as Ellie. The two have never gotten along.

Suna grew up as an only child in the city of Albany, New York. Her parents, Arn and Sera Rondalmos, were your average middle class type, able to afford nice enough things and live in relative comfort. Her school years were rather unremarkable, a C student throughout most of her years . She eventually went to SUNY Albany to study communications, and did well enough to graduate at the end of the program. She started working for local Albany TV stations as a Go-fer, and was eventually absorbed into Janus when her current station was bought out. Suna was only 21 at the time, and was not really going anywhere other than doing the lowest level of work. It wasn’t until Henry Geier, CEO of Janus, noticed her doing the floor work at the Albany stations that he decided to bring her on to the national offices.

Geier reasoned, correctly, that most news could be delivered by a pretty face and most people would not care about the content and would instead check the news to see the on-screen “talent.” He had his subordinates place Suna into a field role, one that she had zero experience in. She managed to stumble through it, learning enough on the go to finally get some legs. Being surrounded by sycophants did not help, as she was reassured almost every day that she was doing fantastically great. Suna bought into this and started believing in what the promos said about her.

It was at this time that Janus merged with AA, and brought Ellie and other crew over. Suna never openly displayed her jealousy, but she resented Ellie for her status – she couldn’t see why this less pretty girl was getting more time than she was. Suna wanted her out, as did other people inside Janus who had a “not invented here” mentality. More and more degrading, fluffy stories were assigned to Ellie instead of hard journalism, and she finally quit under the embarrassment. Having won the battle, Suna’s thirst for power grew, and she managed to win the Investigative Journalist of the Year award while Ellie was away from work. Some say this was an organized effort by Janus to make it happen, but it has not been proven.

Suna currently does field reporting and the occasional in-studio work, filling in when necessary.

Suna’s brash arrogance, combined with her complete and utter reliance on those to help her, combine to create a person who would be totally helpless on her own. Some would openly call her a bitch to her face, but she does have a quick enough wit where she can shout down or berate a person instead of winning on actual facts. Her vanity is both a positive and a negative – she is very attractive but uses it completely for selfish gain, delegitimizing her in some eyes. In many ways she is oblivious to how her actions affect others, but she can be very catty towards Ellie and flirty with the men around her. Manipulation is not a force unknown to her, in fact she is quite skilled.

Suna’s main job in the story is to act as a foil, rival, nemesis, what have you to Ellie. She could be considered the primary antagonist, along with her employer, Janus. It’s Suna’s competition with Ellie that keeps reminding Ellie to keep at what she’s doing, so that others have a real choice instead of the empty filler that is Suna.

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Free Post Saturday

I’m too busy today to write a real post. Have another old one instead.

Character Bio: Erik Lundgren
Name: Erik Lundgren
Age: 42 (earth years)
Species: Human
Occupation: Engineer
Born: Stockholm, Sweden
Current residence: Gerod City

Erik Lundgren is the technical consultant and lead engineer for Genesis News. He partners with Elena to ensure she gets the story every time. Erik is a tall but skinny Swede, and unlike his brothers Ulf and Simon, he was not much of an athlete. About six feet tall, Erik sports a fair complexion and some graying hair. Decked out with a pair of round specs, Erik spends most of his day behind his bank of monitors and computers, watching the developing headlines as well as his information sources.

Erik’s dress slants towards the conservative, often wearing collared shirts, slacks, and occasionally ties. What he lacks in style he often makes up with useful insights and timely help. Elena and Erik constantly chatter with each other via wireless link, and it’s together that they are able to consistently beat other news services to the punch with accurate, groundbreaking stories.

Erik grew up in the snow covered hills of Sweden, the middle of three children. A graduate of computer science from Stockholm University, Erik moved to Gerod City in the American Protectorate after graduating to join Azunon Systems, a major manufacturer of video processing systems. This is where Erik learned how to build quick and efficient automated video processors, skills which would serve him well later on.

At the age of 30, Erik left Azunon after nine years of service to join up with the Assembly Aggregate, the leading news provider of the solar system. For a time, Erik was stationed on Mars, in charge of working out kinks in the Martian bureau’s video aggregation systems. Erik completed this task with flying colors, and spent his time coordinating the video efforts. By the time that Bruce Daltrey had come in person, Erik had years of experience behind him. He spent the next few years working closely with Bruce and his recent hire, Elena Kalas. Working together, Erik edited together many of Elena’s best segments.

When Janus Syndication System took over the Assembly Aggregate, Bruce had quickly departed. In the vacuum of Bruce’s absence, Erik was approached by one of his fellow Mars bureau compatriots, Oscar Spencer. Spencer detailed to Erik that he was going to leave and start a competing news service, as he could not stand what Janus had done to the once respectable AA. Erik agreed, and left Mars along with him. Spencer founded the Genesis News Service on Earth, at the outskirts of Gerod City. One could never be too close to your competitors, he reasoned, since Janus had absorbed AA’s Gerod operations.

Erik came aboard as the lead engineer and video technician, and the Genesis service was soon nipping at the heels of Janus, despite the fraction of manpower. They needed something more, though – and that’s when he remembered the girl that always hung around Bruce. He told Oscar about Elena, and said that they needed a reporter like her.

Oscar agreed, and sought out Elena. Soon enough, she was in the building, and very pleased to see her old coworker again. Erik has spent the last year teaming up with Elena to produce the best segments for Genesis, and is a major part of their success today.

Erik’s personality is that of a know-it-all who often times burns himself thinking he has an answer before he’s examined all possibilities. It’s sabotaged their efforts several times, but more often than not Erik is correct. Erik is the “tech guy” and as such repairing gadgets and implementing new systems is up to him, though he does not have much of an inventive nature and tends to be conservative in his approach to solutions for problems. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is a motto he lives by.

Erik rarely goes on location and prefers the safety of his video banks. While one could rip this as cowardice, he prefers to think of it as best utilizing his talents. All of Elena’s video and stills captured by the ARC go straight to his monitors, where he arranges them with her reporting and interviews to quickly get coverage on the net and waves.

When not tinkering with his vast collection of failed films, Erik enjoys skiing and painting.

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Free Post Friday, Again

Here’s another post about that comic story I never wrote.

Name: Elena Kalas
Age: 27 (Earth Years)
Species: Human
Occupation: Field Reporter
Born: Seattle, Washington
Home: Gerod City, American Protectorate

Elena Kalas is a field reporter for the Genesis News Service. Her day to day task at her former employer, the Assembly Aggregate, was to get ratings – by any means necessary. Early in her career, Elena was more than willing to go along – after all, she didn’t know better. It wasn’t until her first partner and mentor, Bruce, disappeared in pursuing a story that she started questioning what exactly it was she was looking for.

Now, working with the closely knit band of rogues at the Genesis News Service, she has status as a crack reporter – and complete editorial freedom. Elena continues to unravel the mystery of Bruce’s disappearance and expose the corruption and incompetence infecting the solar system.

Elena is the youngest of three children from August and Sonya Kalas of Seattle, Washington. Her parents were accomplished musicians and performed frequently in the Seattle area. Her eldest sibling is her brother Mark, while her sister Eva falls in the middle. When Elena was the age of fourteen, the Kalas clan moved from Seattle to Gerod City, where she still resides to this day.

Elena wanted nothing more than to be a chef. However, this dream was not to be, as she flunked out of several culinary schools after finishing her primary education. Sullen, Elena decided to move on to her “plan B” – becoming a journalist. At Gibbons University in Gerod, Elena completed a four year program of communications and journalism. When her final semester wrapped up, she was placed as an intern in the Assembly Aggregate, under the tutelage and watchful eye of Bruce Daltrey. Bruce was the chief editor of the Mars News Bureau of the AA, working in tandem with men on the ground at Mars to keep both planets linked.

After a few years on the linkups, Bruce had taught Elena much – how to interview, how to pursue a story, and how to write far more effectively than she had learned in college. Then the day came when Bruce was transferred to on-the-ground operations at Mars. He would not leave without a team to join him, and one of the lucky ones to join him was his star pupil, Elena. She soon found herself on a gateway ship to Mars, and started to come into her own on the goings on of Mars’ capital city of New Rome. Having never been away from Earth before, interplanetary travel (which was now routine at this time) was a new experience for Elena. She spent three years, until the age of 25, working the floor at the office of the Mars Bureau. It was there where she met an expert engineer and video editor, Erik Lundgren, and the two forged a lasting working relationship.

It all came to a halt one day when Bruce received a tip about a potential big story relating to the main employer of Mars residents, the Beniot Corporation, a leader in mining and manufacturing. It was something so big, that it could bring them down, as Beniot was well known for abusing its workers and exploiting the Martian landscape. He immediately went to his supervisors for clearance to go on site, as he usually does – only this time he was denied. As it turns out, the Assembly Aggregate had just sold its interests to the largest news bureau in the system – the Janus Syndication System. They told Bruce to back down. He did not, and left the building ranting and raving about “the maniacal bastards.”

He was never seen again.

In the wake of Bruce’s disappearance, things began to change with the swift takeover by Janus. Many staffers were let go, and a skeleton crew operated the Mars branch. Quality of work suffered, and directives from on high made the work more and more unappealing, skipping hard investigative journalism for easy viewers. This was not unlike Janus’ Earth operation, which was the leading news provider even before purchasing AA. With the impressive AA network under its control, Janus became more than just a news service. It controlled many segments of media and entertainment, and with an army of lobbyists, also gained a significant foothold in the governments of the system.

Elena found herself back on Earth shortly after Bruce’s disappearance, and started work at the main bureau for Janus. Without the assistance of Erik, who was still on Mars, she found her job both boring and taxing. This did not last long, however, as her former style reminiscent of Bruce was not welcome. When she refused to cover Kitten Escapades IV in lieu of exposing a major case of incompetence by a zoo tycoon’s failed attempt at genetic engineering, the hammer came down hard and Elena found herself on the street without a job.

This state didn’t last for long, though, as she was contacted very quickly by Oscar Spencer of the Genesis News Service. Spencer, a former friend and compatriot of Bruce, had formed his own competing news service in the wake of Janus’ consolidation within the industry. Elena took him up on this invitation and ventured to his hidden compound on the outskirts of Gerod. After entering, Oscar was waiting right there for her – and by his side was Erik. He had put in a good word for her, and Oscar sought her out immediately to join their team.

Now that Erik is reunited with Elena, the two are now back to what they do best – ferreting out the truth, and now taking Janus down a peg. They continue Bruce’s legacy while trying to find him and complete their team of crack reporters. It’s more than just the news, now – it’s a philosophy that their competitors lack. Instead of manipulating the populace, they report the truth, and only the truth, and look good doing it.

Elena’s personality is a bit reserved – dry wit, book smarts, and resilience. Though she has outgrown most of the naivete she displayed as a youth, the disappearance of Bruce served only to harden her investigative resolve. Her straightforward, smooth-talking conversation can sometimes be interpreted as being an ass, other times it’s cutting through bullshit. It depends on who’s on the other side!

Elena’s job fills two roles – both a writer and field reporter, and she will go on location to delve into a story. She relies on her agility and senses in action, and is not very physically gifted. She makes up for this with some gadgets supplied by her engineering contacts. Her segments are recorded by an airborne robotic camera, or ARC unit. It can record both three-dimensional video and take high quality stills. She is equipped with high heeled rocket boots, which grant her a limited ability to fly, or jump very high. Lastly, she is equipped with prototype nanomachine-bonded clothing, which allows it to change shape and allow a full environmental seal, permitting operations underwater or in hostile environments. With the addition of an oxygen tank, she can venture into pure vacuum, though this is used only in emergencies.

Technology skills are not Elena’s forte, and she often relies on the help of others, particularly her “home base” partner Erik Lundgren. She knows enough to navigate Starnet, the system’s internet of the future, but for any heavy lifting (e.g. hacking, information gathering, etc) she is dependent on Erik’s talents. She remains in constant communication with him via wireless connection.

In her off-time, Elena enjoys dead-tree books, trying (and failing) to cook, and the antique harpsichord left to her by her parents.

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Free Post Friday

That’s right, this Friday you’re getting a post, ABSOLUTELY FREE! What a bargain!

Since I don’t really have much to talk about today, I’ve decided to share some artwork for something that’s never going to happen.

Ellie Character Sketch

Ellie Character Sketch

The story of the comic centered around a character named Ellie, an interplanetary space journalist. The idea was that she would fly around, doing cool space stuff and taking down THE MAN. She would have cool accessories like rocket high heels and nanoparticle clothing that could adapt into a spacesuit.

Basic Character Sketches

Basic Character Sketches

Here’s a few character profile images. Clockwise from upper left: Keith, one of the information guys. Erik, Ellie’s partner. Another sketch of Ellie. Then there’s some takes on Oscar Spencer, the guy who runs the news organization that they all work for. The little robot dude is Ellie’s flying video camera doodad. The fat guy is Jim, one of the smartest info guys.

Jim's Pizza Order

Jim's Pizza Order

This is just a little vignette of Erik and Ellie eating a pizza. In the future, pizza is not as hot of a food commodity as it is today, but Jim loves pizza and likes to bring it in to the office.

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:effort:

I just don’t have it in me to really write a good blog post today. Not quite sure why. Oh, I’ve got some topics to do. Finish up the DKC2 track reviews, write up a few restaurant reviews, maybe chat about some photo taking stuff. But alas… I just don’t have it in me today. Sure, maybe I could even talk about intercomics. To be frank, though, I haven’t really kept up on the ones I like lately. Just another one of those effort things, you know? But I did read K.C. Green’s newest short story, the Anime Club. It’s actually a different direction than he usually goes with his self-contained strips. He’s doing a full on story, and it’s got some great characterization. Now there’s some effort.

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Stupid Internet Comic Stuff That Pisses Me Off

Dear people who make internet comics:

When lettering your comics, please pay attention to the following helpful tips:

Have your balloon’s tail point at the source of your sound. If someone is talking out of their butt, sure, point the tail there – but otherwise if their mouth is doing the flapping, aim the tail there. If you’re sloppy about doing this, you will lose the creative possibilities of tails pointing elsewhere because your visual logic will not be consistent. You’ll also look like you’re lazy.

Don’t let balloons cross panels unless you have good reason to. If all of your balloons cross panels, your lettering will look less integrated into the artwork and more slapped on, which visually distorts your strip. You also, once again, lose the creative tool of having balloons or sound effects cross panels for emphasis.

You’re an artist — and lettering should be part of your art. Don’t crowd the page with walls-o-text and make sure you leave a proper amount of space when thumbnailing your strips to include the lettering in your design.

English reads from left to right, and keep this in mind when designing your panels and lettering so that you do not end up painted in corners when it comes to laying out your lines and balloons. Your strips already go visually top-left to bottom-right, so keep this in mind when drawing your scenes.

Peace and love, me.

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