The Un-Iverse (PG-13)

Discussion in 'The Drawing Board' started by Fone Bone, Jan 19, 2017.

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  1. Fone Bone

    Fone Bone Matt Zimmer

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    Hey, Toon Zone. Been awhile. This is what I've been up to.

    I'm not getting any younger, and recent world events have turned Apocalyptic, so I'm kind of getting myself out there while I can.

    Warning: The artwork in this comic is extremely sucky and unprofessional. I sort of view the artwork of Gilda and Meek the same as Batman '66's "visual effects". They ain't good, but they don't need to be. You Get What They Are Going For. Imagine this project fully inked with straight lines, colors, and polish. It's kinda like the Creationist Museum. You gotta shut off yer brain, yer critical thinking skills, and Just Believe!

    My lawyers made me say that the story and artwork are all trademarked by Matt Zimmer. But if somebody actually wants to steal this, you probably have very low standards.

    UPDATE:

    I figured out how to post images on Toon Zone so you can just skip the links in the first 9 posts and start reading the actual comics themselves in post #10.

    Here we go. These are the first four primitive issues of Gilda and Meek:

    1. Gilda And Meek "Groundwork" (Un-Iverse #1)

    http://s347.photobucket.com/user/mattzimmer1/media/Un-Iverse/The Un-Iverse 1_zpskvp5reor.jpg.html?sort=2&o=0

    2. Gilda And Meek "The Otterman Cometh" (Un-Iverse #2)

    http://s347.photobucket.com/user/mattzimmer1/media/Un-Iverse/The Un-Iverse 67_zpsscnmgaar.jpg.html?sort=2&o=74

    3. Gilda And Meek "Don't Logic Santa" (Un-Iverse #3)

    http://s347.photobucket.com/user/mattzimmer1/media/Un-Iverse/The Un-Iverse 122_zpsbv9z3dtt.jpg.html?sort=2&o=133

    4. Gilda And Meek "The Woman In Sunglasses" (Un-Iverse #4)

    http://s347.photobucket.com/user/mattzimmer1/media/Un-Iverse/The Un-Iverse 175_zpsiacrul4q.jpg.html?sort=2&o=186
     
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    #1 Fone Bone, Jan 19, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
  2. Fone Bone

    Fone Bone Matt Zimmer

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  3. Fone Bone

    Fone Bone Matt Zimmer

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  4. Fone Bone

    Fone Bone Matt Zimmer

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  5. Fone Bone

    Fone Bone Matt Zimmer

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  6. Fone Bone

    Fone Bone Matt Zimmer

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  7. Fone Bone

    Fone Bone Matt Zimmer

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  8. Fone Bone

    Fone Bone Matt Zimmer

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    Question for The Drawing Board's Mods. I recently learned on another forum (Action Figure Insider) how to post Photobucket pictures into threads. I would kind of like to do that for The Un-Iverse, because Photobucket's website takes forever to load, and has a ton of pop-up ads, which probably makes it a chore for anyone here who might want to read it. Would the mods object to me posting the pictures in this thread? I ask because the franchise IS PG-13, and the seventh issue borders on R rated. But since all 90 issues are a complete narrative whole, I wouldn't feel right about posting one if I couldn't post all of the others. You sort of have to read the whole thing (and in order) for it to work. The Un-Iverse is not and never has been user-friendly. Are posting the pictures from "Skeletons" out of line? Or do I need to keep relying on links? Whatever the mods decide, I will abide by. Not looking to get banned.
     
  9. Fone Bone

    Fone Bone Matt Zimmer

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  10. Fone Bone

    Fone Bone Matt Zimmer

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    Okay, gonna post these issues as images in this thread. I don't wanna get banned for some of the PG-13 - TV MA stuff, but I asked twice about it and got no reply, and am going to treat the silence as an actual go ahead. I can't actually ask people to read and comment on a Photobucket album with all of the ads and spam on that website. If I actually want feedback, I gotta post it here.

    Warning: I structure The Un-Iverse like a novel, so the first issue has about 15 pages at the beginning of titles, dedications, and a table of contents. It's kind of pretentious but The Un-Iverse is very tightly structured.

    Here is the first issue in images:

    Rating: PG-13 (Brief drug use)

    1. Gilda And Meek "Groundwork"

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    #10 Fone Bone, Mar 20, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2017
  11. Fone Bone

    Fone Bone Matt Zimmer

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    #11 Fone Bone, Mar 20, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2017
  12. Fone Bone

    Fone Bone Matt Zimmer

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    #12 Fone Bone, Mar 20, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2017
  13. Fone Bone

    Fone Bone Matt Zimmer

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    Linear Notes for Gilda And Meek "Groundwork" (Abridged, Spoiler Free)


    I wish that was better. But that is literally the best beginning I could do. I've been struggling with it since I was fourteen and it is kind of sad to realize that that is the absolute pinnacle of my talents in starting Gilda and Meek down their path. To be perfectly blunt, the better beginning to The Un-Iverse is "The Pontue Legacy: Prologue". Part of me wishes I could just move that ahead of this, but it would make no sense out of context, and it is precisely as awesome as it is because it occurs in the 9th issue, which is kind of the last place you'd expect it.

    The problem with The Un-Iverse is that there is no defining moment to kick things off. There is no Oceanic plane exploding on the beach, or Laura Palmer's body washing ashore. The best I can do is introduce the characters and scenarios and bring them together. That is why the title for the story I ultimately chose was "Groundwork". It makes no sense in the story itself, but the entire story is merely groundwork for the canon, so that's the title that fits. It is a story that promises cool things to come, without ever once being cool itself.

    Joss Whedon is famous for having sucky openings too so at least I'm in good company. But The Un-Iverse's biggest fault is that it doesn't actually start to get mindblowingly awesome until The Terran Wars. There is some great stuff here and there before then. But based on this opening you'd never guess it was coming.

    One of the weirdest things about Gilda and Meek is that the cast gels together instantly. It's not that there isn't friction, but it remains at the same level in the first issue as it does for most of the rest of the saga. They get into a groove scary quick. Maybe that's me being a impatient writer, and not wanting to do all of the work of slowly building them up into better characters. But what I've noticed from feedback from people who read my comic, is that when you immediately start off the story with the characters in their settled personas, the reader accepts them quicker. Part of that is probably because the people who read my comics already know me, and know what I'm all about. But the sense I always got from people who read my comics, is that they felt like they have been reading Gilda and Meek for years after two or three issues. Maybe it's not good drama. But it's good comfort food and a good way to have people REALLY like and understand the characters right off the bat.

    Look at WALL-E. Goes through exactly ZERO character development. But we love him instantly. Funny how that works.

    Yeah, I know in real life, a group of non-superpowered people getting together to fight off the forces of evil, wouldn't be as immediately competent at doing it and working together for the first time as my characters are. But it's a funny animal book. If I can't fudge reality a little, what is the point of even making a talking Piranha?

    One thing I love: we bring up the Healing Spell in the very first issue. That way it is not a cop-out whenever a character uses it in a life-threatening situation. By setting it up immediately, it becomes a tool rather than a crutch, especially since I still use it pretty rarely.

    Originally Gilda was going to flip out and throw a freaked-out tantrum upon seeing the picture of Gabrielle. Because she wanted to leave that part of her life behind for good, and thought the universe was screwing with her by bringing her back to the supernatural. And she'd run off to the airport to disappear forever before Meek finds her, and convinces her she can trust them, and she goes back to talk things out with the group. But it's the first freaking issue. If I show her freaking out now, people are going to think that what she's usually like. So I changed the idea to the fact that it is GILDA who has always known about the group, and it wasn't a random coincidence that introduced her to people who were close with a woman she was investigating. Part of me regrets getting rid of the scene of Gilda at the airport for two reasons. Firstly, Meek told Gilda in the deleted scene he found her by tracking her scent, and he wishes Bernadette would remember she can do this too, and that she seems to be ashamed she's a dog. And Bernadette IS ashamed she's a dog, and this would have been literally the only place I would have been able to "officially" say it outside of a linear note.

    The second way the scene being gone hurt the issue is that now Gilda tells Melcore she isn't carrying a gun because she just came from her office. That doesn't really make sense, does it? Gilda probably keeps a gun on her at all times, even at this stage of the game. The line she says now is "Guns are easier. But they caught me at my law practice, so here we are." But originally the line was "They caught me at the airport," which is a fabulous explanation as to why she wouldn't have a gun on her. Just the fact that I will unwilling to misrepresent Gilda's personality to the reader in any way this early on, sort of hurt the actual story a bit. But I ALWAYS err on the side of my characters acting in character. Always.

    Vic Puff and the cocaine: Another risk for the first issue. But that isn't the only time it's going to happen, and I figured it would be better to get the first time out of the way immediately. It's like ripping off a Band-Aid.

    You'll notice I labeled some of the harder to draw and identify objects in the story. That is an old trick that used to be used in old newspaper comic strips like Dick Tracy. It's an anachronism now, but I feel that since I am not a strong artist, it is important that the reader understand everything that is happening on the page. That is counterintuitive to most comics and cartoons. Most comics with crappy artwork don't draw unwanted attention to it. Sometimes they'll make meta jokes at the series' expense, but in the Narrative itself, they try to keep things "professional looking". And that is not me. That is not The Un-Iverse. At all. I am NOT the best artist, and I am not ashamed to help the reader out whenever I can't draw something right. I'm not embarrassed about it because The Un-Iverse is a rare comic book in which the artwork is secondary to the story and dialogue. Which is probably why it is also a really bad fit for the medium, and a bit of an abuse of the format. But I will not apologize for perhaps sacrificing some of the integrity of how professional the art looks, to make the story absolutely clear and accessible to the reader. That is and always has been my main concern.

    I think the riskiest part of the issue is that we start talking about demons before we show them. That is insane and pretty much unlike any genre project that ever existed. It is a really interesting, yet perhaps stupid, storytelling decision on my part, but the fact of the matter is each of these characters had been involved in the supernatural world before they met Gilda and they don't need to get their feet wet. I suppose I could have created a new character as a reader surrogate, sort of learning things along with you. But if I didn't bother creating parents for Bernadette because I didn't care about them, I'm not going to create an extra character the saga doesn't need just to help the first issue flow better. It's a comic book. Hopefully readers have read enough comics that deal with fantasy and the supernatural that they can accept the characters talking about it, without any proof ever having to be offered to anybody. Frankly, even if they can, it's still a bad storytelling decision and one of the reasons I don't like the first issue much. But Gilda and Meek have to start somewhere and this is literally the best way I could pull the characters together. Sorry about that.

    Artwork Notes: The artwork is a freaking mess. That's to be expected, as it was my first comic book in fifteen years, and I was trying to get used to drawing with my shaky hand again. But I assure you the later issues get better. Also terrible is that I decided to use printed letters midway through, and I had to cover up the written letters for the first half of the story. You can still see some of the written letters under the printed letters where I wasn't able to erase them all. I will redraw this issue eventually. But as if now it looks like a disaster.

    On page 20 (not coincidentally exactly when I finished redoing the written letters for printed ones) I regained some strength in my arm that the tardive dyskinesia often makes shaky. I started leaning in while I drew from that point on, and applied force from my arm to the pencil, which makes the picture straighter, and the lines thicker, darker, and more solid. It's almost like two different art styles in the same issue.

    That being said, the second half's artwork still DOES suck. I get better. I swear.

    Friends' reactions to reading to first issue are to assure me I'm being too hard on myself, and that it's actually quite decent. But I KNOW it's decent. That's not why I'm hard on myself. It's because what is coming up is gonna be AMAZING, and this ain't gonna rate anymore after that. I'm not judging it as the only Un-Iverse project that exists, the way my friends are. I'm judging against everything I know that is coming up.

    One of the weird things about "Groundwork" to me is that, strictly speaking, its quality is no better or worse than my last crack at the first issue of The UnComix Saga, which was the continuity that sucked SO much, I quit the franchise for fifteen years in frustration. But the major difference to me here, and the reason I am completely satisfied with something so otherwise underwhelming, is that this version of "Groundwork" finally sets up interesting plot ideas and concepts that WILL eventually lead somewhere interesting, which the previous versions of "Groundwork" most assuredly did not do. This "Groundwork" has a b.s. detector, and sets up the idea that Gilda instantly and instinctively trusts Meek, while none of the other ones did. Which automatically means it has merit that it didn't used to. Even if this is not up to my current Un-Iverse standards, it does what it needs to do in a way the previous versions never did.

    UN-IVERSE FUN FACT:


    What are Spoiler Quotes?

    At the beginning of each of the 14 Books of The Un-Iverse, I will put a smattering of out of context quotes from some of the characters. Because they are out of context, some of them should worry the reader. Usually, they are the most memorable quotes from each book.
     
    #13 Fone Bone, Mar 20, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2017
  14. Fone Bone

    Fone Bone Matt Zimmer

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    2. Gilda And Meek "The Otterman Cometth"

    Page numbering gets a little messed up at the end. But these should be the correct order.

    Rating: PG.

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    #14 Fone Bone, Mar 20, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2017
  15. Fone Bone

    Fone Bone Matt Zimmer

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    #15 Fone Bone, Mar 20, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2017
  16. Fone Bone

    Fone Bone Matt Zimmer

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    Linear Notes for Gilda And Meek "The Otterman Cometh" (Abridged, Spoiler Free)


    My mandate in writing this story is "Make it FAR better than "Groundwork"." It won't be TOO hard because "Groundwork" isn't great. It's good, don't get me wrong, and it promises great things to come. But that greatness isn't actually present in the story itself. The Un-Iverse has never had a strong opening (it's ALWAYS been all about the resolution) and this version of "Groundwork" was literally the best I can do. What I hoped to do with "The Otterman Cometh" is to say to people "This is not going to be the same thing every issue." Issue 1 dealt with magical powers and demons. Issue 2 deals with superpowered villains in gaudy costumes. It is a MUCH more traditional comic book and it might surprise people because the entire premise of superheroes is completely divergent with the fantasy elements of the first issue. In doing so, what I want to do is build the world. And the more of the world I build, the cooler it will seem.

    Most second episodes or issues of good franchises are by necessity worse than the Pilot. The kitchen sink is usually thrown at the audience during the Pilot. But Gilda and Meek has never had that. But one of the few good things about the fact that the opening is unspectacular is that it means the stories will get better and better the more we weave in the continuity. "The Otterman Cometh" should build on the world in such an unexpected way, with its entirely different tone and premise, and raise questions that the first issue wasn't able to. How does the Piranha know Otterman? What is up with cats seeing fish as deities? etc...

    Most second episodes / issues let the reader know what to expect on a weekly / monthly basis because it is the first "regular" story. Well "The Otterman Cometh" almost plays like a second Pilot because it is so different. Augatha, the most important character in the first issue, isn't even present. What it says is you DON'T know what to expect. I think both "Skeletons" and "The Pontue Legacy" (not to mention "One-Shots") will be incredibly tough sells. But by doing different genre tropes in the first two issues, it won't make the unexpected nature of those stories unprecedented. It will ease readers into the weirder stuff. And it will have a sick helicopter chase at the end.

    It builds the world and makes it seem a LOT more interesting than you thought it would be just based on "Groundwork". One of the hardest things for readers to put up with in reading the Un-Iverse is trying to believe that all of the things that they dislike like "The Humans" and "Narf-Narf and Chirp" actually MEAN something. But it is because they do that it improves the Un-Iverse's conclusion in "The Terran Wars". You don't expect all of those annoying things to have the impact on the canon that they did. The Un-Iverse might be a VERY tough franchise for some people to tolerate some of the detours (putting five "One-Shots" after "The Pontue Legacy" will easily be the riskiest thing in the franchise). But The Un-Iverse isn't built for the beginning, and not even so much for the middle. It only REALLY starts kicking butt at the ending. Since it's 90 issues long that may be a bit more time than most people who only think something is so-so would put into it. But for those who stuck with it from the beginning to the end, they will swoon with pleasure. It is a continuity freak's dream. And the biggest thing I wanted to do with the second issue is BUILD on the continuity of the first, which will automatically make it better. If the first 8 issues keep getting better and better, I will have done my job right. We should detest the detour of "The Pontue Legacy" and "One-Shots" if the first 8 issues are successful. But "The Pontue Legacy" and "One-Shots" will make Gilda and Meek SO much better in the long run. The Un-Iverse is designed for people with patience. That's a tough sell in a binge-watching era where we want everything NOW, but I am not going to change the best thing about The Un-Iverse just to make it more commercially viable. If the structure of the story means it can't be published, I'll accept that. But I'm not making it worse just so it can be published. That sounds counterintuitive to what an author should strive to do, but as of now The Un-Iverse is strictly a hobby, and not something I NEED to happen. And since it isn't something that will determine whether or not I will be able to put food on the table, I'll be able to stick to my principles on the subject.

    To be perfectly blunt, I had expected that to be better than it was. But there are a couple of things in the canon I needed to stick to (to help in the long run) and it slightly hurt this version of the story. It's good, and I think better than "Groundwork" by a lot (which was Mandate #1) but I was hoping for "Great", which it is not. However, because I made the story choices I did here for both Otterman and the Agency, the entire canon will be better off. It concerns me that this isn't better right NOW, but because it is the way it is, the entire output of The Un-Iverse will be.

    The story functioned a LOT better when Otterman was the straight up villain of the piece. But since I tightened the continuity of Otterman receiving his powers, killing the Piranha village, and the Piranha getting amnesia and being found by Dr. Raggleworth, it no longer makes sense for Otterman to have sinister motivations at this point of the saga. Which hurts the story, and makes the battle at the end seem pointless and something he and the Piranha should just talk out. A lot of superhero slugfests are the same way, so it's not like this isn't standard superhero comic fare, but I personally hate that stuff, and hate that I not only had to put it in the Un-Iverse, but in the second issue too. But it helps Otterman's arc in the long run. Which is more important.

    Frankly, the Narrator pointing out it sucked REALLY helped the story. The issue might have seemed a LOT worse than it was, if the Narrator hadn't just made a standard superhero slugfest interesting for the first time ever due to his embarrassing honesty. And I think that meta moment is FAR more interesting than the actual fight, which is why I included it. And because I did, the fight no longer seems terrible. Which is good.

    But all things considered, there is ONE way this issue is markedly better than "Groundwork", and it's a big one: I actually explore the psychology of the characters for the first time ever. And The Un-Iverse is always at its best when I do that. I didn't have much opportunity to figure out what makes these characters tick in the first issue, and this one is all the better for it.

    On another note, I imagine Gilda doesn't take a gun to an aquarium for the same reason one wouldn't take one to Church.

    In an earlier draft, Agent Barracuda punched Bernadette in the face for making fun of him. And I would have normally been perfectly willing to say that Barracuda is precisely the type of ******* who will punch an 8-year-old girl in the face. Except, it's the second freaking issue. There is a difference between being provocative and giving people an entirely wrong impression about what the franchise is about. If Agent Barracuda debuted in the 15th issue, he'd punch Bernadette. Not in the second.

    Also in an earlier draft, I had the Piranha lose control and go into a berserker rage against Otterman. And again, my cooler head prevailed, and said that was a REALLY bad idea while I was still establishing his personality with the reader. Just because I knew it was over the line and out of character, doesn't mean the reader would see it that way. Why would they? They've only known the character for an issue and a half. He's a blank slate to them, and I should only show him doing something out of character after he's been well established. I decided that like Gilda flipping out in the first issue, it had to be changed so as not misrepresent him to the reader. Now his and Otterman's fight makes a lot less sense, but that has been true in general since Otterman became an outright hero in my latest draft. This is what happens when your characters are all good guys. Conflict feels forced. And nowhere is this more true than in the second issue.

    Donna Demented appears to be epically trolling Meek in her first ever scene, and rubbing his face in how stupid he is. It is pretty much a case of her being as deliberately outrageous and provocative as possible, and STILL that dumbass doesn't get it.

    To be fair to Meek, she doesn't seem to raise alarm bells for Vic Puff and Hank either. But we already know Vic Puff is an idiot. And Hank? As nice as he is, let's just say Bernadette's constant berating of his lack of intelligence didn't come out of nowhere.

    The fact that proper animals in The Un-Iverse actually have watches, and use phones, money, and paper, shows that any non-vegetarian in The Un-Iverse is pretty much a monster without either realizing it, or realizing it, and not being able to admit it. Otterman is right to be plagued with guilt. But he feels guilty for the wrong reasons. EVERYONE is sentient in The Un-Iverse. Himself included before he got his powers. If he was truly sorry, he'd be a vegetarian.

    I love that as remorseful as Otterman is, as bad as he feels for killing the Piranha's family, he's pretty much fed up with the kid by the end of the story. I love that. And he's right to be. The Piranha is pretty much recklessly putting his and Otterman's life in unnecessary danger, all so the Piranha can be an emo Mary Sue. Otterman saves the Piranha's life several times during the helicopter chase and that goes completely over the Piranha's head. Bernadette Anderson may think Wesley Crusher sucks, but the Piranha learned everything from his playbook.

    I also like that neither Gilda or Bernadette are frightened by the hostage situation. The messed up thing is Meek isn't either, and he's pretty much a coward usually. That's okay, because he's still a hero who will ultimately do the right thing. But I like that Meek having to do the right thing is a constant struggle. And I especially like that it isn't with Barracuda and Renald. Part of the subtext of many of the villains in Gilda and Meek is that they are in actuality no hot stuff. Renald and Barracuda are two prime examples of that. They don't even scare Meek while waving a gun in his face, and they aren't even afraid to use it. They are both particularly sucky villains, even for me. If they don't impress Meek, that simply means they aren't impressive.

    Putting a "No Smoking" sign in the restaurant while Vic is chomping on a stogey, was I hope a none-too-subtle way to hint at precisely the kind of bunghole Vic is. He doesn't always need to be snorting coke for me to do that.

    Gilda hints to Agent Barracuda at the end that if her friends were not present, she would have killed him. This is not just tough-guy talk from Gilda. It is true.

    Gilda telling Bernadette she would never ask her for more than she was comfortable with is Gilda at her most nurturing.

    The page numbering in this story gets a bit hinky in places but it's in the right order.

    I like this issue a lot.

    Un-Iverse Fun Fact:


    As a kid, I misspelled Bernadette's name "Burnadette" until I learned the proper spelling.
     
    #16 Fone Bone, Mar 20, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2017
  17. Fone Bone

    Fone Bone Matt Zimmer

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    3. Gilda And Meek "Don't Logic Santa"

    The pages numbers for this are also kinda wonky but it's in the right order.

    Rating: PG for actual content, PG-13 for adult themes. Kids probably shouldn't read this one.

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    #17 Fone Bone, Mar 20, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2017
  18. Fone Bone

    Fone Bone Matt Zimmer

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    #18 Fone Bone, Mar 20, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2017
  19. Fone Bone

    Fone Bone Matt Zimmer

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    Linear Notes for Gilda And Meek "Don't Logic Santa" (Abridged, Spoiler Free)


    Only the third issue and this will probably wind up one of the most subversive stories in the entire canon. If it was broadcast on television it would spark letters and boycotts if I pushed it too far. What I am saying with the story is something I NEVER seen anyone else ever have the courage to state: the myth of Santa Claus is damaging to children.

    Not merely because it can destroy a kid's trust in his parents, but because it asks kids to shut off the logical thinking parts of their brains and "just believe". That way lies Creationist Museums.

    I'm also pretty much calling b.s. on "Arthur Christmas" and "Prep and Landing", which were two truly painful attempts to attach plausible explanations to the Santa Claus myth. Aside from the "explanations" simply raising more questions and not answering anything, it is entirely unnecessary. If it cost $80 billion dollars to make a CGI movie so parents can lie to their kids for one more year, maybe there are some actual children's charities that would appreciate that amount of cash. Because they certainly aren't returning quality film product with that investment.

    This story says that it is GOOD for kids to question Santa Claus. People who tell them not to are bullies. It is GOOD to apply logic to anything anyone tells you at any given time, even if it's someone you love. And I am fully aware that I have to be delicate enough to say what is going on without actually outright stating that Santa Claus doesn't exist. But hopefully, even without me saying that, kids might get the message anyways. Like I said. Subversive.

    I think the main reason such an easily disprovable lie as Santa Claus has existed so long is because parents love the idea of smugly demonstrating how much smarter they are than their gullible kids. Yet, the parents are asking their kids to not use critical thinking skills in a crucial moment of their development. Who is really the stupid one in that relationship?

    I bet a lot of people would claim the story is anti-Christian, and part of the secular War on Christmas, but I dispute that. Christmas is NOT about Santa Claus, and people pretending whether or not you wish somebody Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays is important, are not people you should be looking to for guidance on being a good Christian. I think Gilda's whole mindset during the holiday (aside from sometimes going a bit too far) is admirable, and she has a far better measure of the holiday's worth than Santa does. Without Gilda, there could be a point that the story is anti-Christmas, but she's right there, and offers the "pro" perspective quite nicely, thank you very much. There IS a War on Christmas. And Santa is the dude waging it.

    I find it VERY ironic that Santa Claus not only exists in The Un-Iverse, but that Gilda of all people is his biggest fan. Santa is the granddaddy of all examples of adults b.s.-ing children, and it is weird that the Anti-b.s. Queen has to learn this for herself. Which is exactly why the story exists.

    Do you know what the absolute toughest thing about the story was for me? Keeping straight where all of the characters were. Everybody seems to be on the move during the entire story, and I have to make sure certain characters are in the same place for a scene to happen. And getting them there and pairing them off with the right person was a pain in the neck. If everybody seemingly switching dance partners for no reason seems a little random to you, that's because it was.

    I love that Gilda plays along with Bernadette's thought experiment regarding the Piranha's adorability and horrible behavior. This hints to me that they both share the opinion that the Piranha is somewhat insufferable in his unending cuteness. Of course, they would never say that to him and hurt his feelings, but this seems to be an instance of them sharing a private joke at his expense with him being oblivious to it. I have always maintained that if Bernadette were just a WEE bit nicer, she and Gilda could become great friends. They have more in common than they don't.

    I also think it's cool that Gilda was worried about her appearance as a teenager. Gilda as we know her possesses little vanity, but EVERYONE at that age worries about that stuff, and it would be weird if Gilda wasn't concerned that she wasn't shapely as she was growing up. What is appalling is that Santa not only disgustingly revealed this private thought of Gilda's, but did so in front of her friends, and in as leering and sexual a manner as possible. I'd probably want to wash my hands in scalding water after that too. Santa sucks.

    Although the fact that Santa knows so much dirt about people is one of the very few real clues that he may be legit. There are just as many clues that he is a fake.

    Here's something interesting about Santa's Elves: There are only five of them. I realized pretty early on I didn't need more than that. Sure, Santa is supposed to have hundreds. But that's hardly more plausible than five. Both ideas are ridiculous. Five distinct elves are easier to read on a page than hundreds of interchangeable ones. So there.

    The Elves' names (which with the exception of Sidney's are not spoken in the story) are Sidney, Floyd, Mackintosh, Gary, and Jean. Sidney is the short, white one with black hair Santa deals with. Mackintosh is the fat one with hair covering his eyes and a big nose. Floyd is the one with the red scruffy beard, red nose, and whose eyes are hiding under his cap. Jean is the beautiful blonde female elf. And Gary is the bald elf with a gray beard and hair and glasses.

    Notice that Gilda and Meek let Bernadette stay up the entire night. They are terrible parents. Doc isn't any better for letting the Piranha do the same thing.

    The exploding house and the group flying through the air as Doc counts down a camera timer is the first legit action sequence of the saga. There was a fight with Gilda and Melcore in the first issue, and a somewhat longer one between Otterman and the Piranha in the last one, but I hope that when people see Gilda and Meek crashing though the window while the Piranha lands on the tree, and then FLASH!, they'll think "Cool!" for the first time ever. It's actually pretty well-timed and boarded (for me at least). Part of that is because I have used a similar sequence in every single version of The Un-Iverse's Christmas story in the past. I've had the practice to work it correctly. The end gag of everybody turning out to have smiled for the camera as the picture is revealed in the last panel is straight from "Christmas Blues", as written when I was fourteen. Whether Santa is evil or not, the Piranha makes a perfect Christmas star in EVERY continuity.

    Funnily enough, that joke used to be MUCH funnier when Gilda was obsessed with Christmas stars. But in this version she simply decks out the Gargoyle instead of grousing about it. But she used to think the star on the top of the tree was the most magical part of her childhood, and the one thing about Christmas that shouldn't be negotiated about. But then, I realized Gilda did NOT have a magical childhood in any way, so that idea was bogus. Still, if Gilda had made a bigger fuss, the Piranha being the perfect Christmas star would have been a bigger deal and funnier than it is now.

    First hint in the saga that Gilda used to be outright evil when she was working for the CIA. And Bill isn't overselling it. That is what was happening.

    I love that Bernadette is smiling during every second of the explosion scene. You know she loves it.

    Bernadette stating she is against the death penalty because it is against her religion means she is not only a religious conservative, but an ideologically consistent one as well.

    I like Bernadette saying that she'll take her coal and like it because it implies Bernadette would rather have the freedom to misbehave rather than Christmas presents. I almost wish I had had that kind of fearless conviction as a kid.

    The Automatic Toe-Picker is one of the oldest things in the canon. I created it in the second issue of my initial run of Gilda and Meek comics. Hint: There is a specific reason I still decided to include it here which will be revealed in an upcoming issue.

    The page numbering got epically messed up in several places. I am not sure how long the story is now, but I think I have everything in the right order.

    I love that Gilda extends her crazy Christmas decoration fetish to her top-secret CIA Black Ops file room. Truthfully, I probably shouldn't have done that, as it make Gilda seem MUCH less scarier than she should in that moment. But it's hilarious because it shows exactly how committed Gilda is to the bit. Just know ahead of time that the scene of Bill the Blue rifling through Gilda's files was originally going to be spookier than it ultimately was.

    If you think about it, Gilda decorating that secret room is probably the most ridiculous thing she does in the entire saga. I mean, nobody goes in there but her, and I doubt she goes in there very often, but she totally decked it out anyways because she loves Christmas so much. THAT is commitment.

    UN-INVERSE FUN FACT:


    There is nothing fun about Santa.
     
    #19 Fone Bone, Mar 20, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2017
  20. Fone Bone

    Fone Bone Matt Zimmer

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    Gonna upload some more later tonight. Stay tuned.
     

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