I know I geeked out about the new art style in Friday’s comic blurb, but I’m excited again – it’s Kite and Mule-bot’s first colour strip! I’ve been doing some thinking recently about where I want to go with the story for these two adventurers, and got so excited that I wrote two K&M scripts in one day. This was the first – the other will pop up in good time. By the way, if you haven’t encountered these guys before and you want to do a quick catch up, the link above will do you fine – just scroll down to the bottom and start from there.
A wide shot of Kite and Mule-bot standing in a seemingly endless corridor, with banks of cyberpunk-style servers lining the entire wall surface. Kite is kneeling to investigate one of the machines.
“How is this stuff still working with all the people gone?”
“ARE YOU SURE THEY’RE GONE?”
A much closer shot of the two. Kite glances over to Mule-bot.
“I haven’t noticed anyone - have you?”
“NO. BUT NO ONE NOTICED ME BEFORE I MET YOU.”
This strip is what I think of as a “tennis ball” piece. Isaac wrote the gag, then I rewrote it (keeping the punch and basic idea intact) and passed in back to him for the art. We don’t work like this all the time, although it happens a lot more than it used to. I’m actually really excited about the space that IZS is in at the moment. We all have the chance to tell jokes/stories that we’re interested in, the site has undergone a bit of a redesign, the strips have colour now (Just look at those fucking city lights. Look at ’em. Love it.) and we’ve got several more exciting projects up our sleeves. All this before we’ve even reached our terrible twos.
I leave you with this piece of sage wisdom from Izak – he raises a good point, sorry mums:
A crime scene investigation unit has arrived at a crash site. The person in charge starts giving out orders.
“Okay, so we’ve got a two car collision, four of the occupants injured, one dead on arrival.”
“Martinez, check for skid marks.”
“Sir… he’s clean.”
She then baked a bluebird pie, which may not have been the most slimming choice, but was certainly the most satisfying option.
Today’s strip features a real life Disney princess, Miss Charlotte Cake. Seriously, we barely had to change a thing to transform her into today’s diet-oppressed protagonist. I’ve been looking to work the characterful Charlotte into a comic for quite some time; it was just a matter of finding the right opportunity. Sorry you had to get cake slapped. Those woodland creatures may look cute, but they’re little nazis at heart.
Edit: Here’s the original uncoloured version. I redid the comic in colour for Instagram.
A bluebird is fussing over a disney-like princess. The princess is unenthused by all the fuss.
“You have to be perfect for the Prince!”
The bluebird slaps a slice of cake out of the princess’ hand. The princess looks about ready to shank a bitch.
“Too many calories!”
In the race to develop bigger, more complex brains to outpace our evolutionary competitors we somehow stumbled into self-awareness. This is widely viewed as a positive move but the capacity for reflection, introspection and imagination isn’t without serious drawbacks. Stress, depression and existential ennui all come out of being saddled with a mind that got a bit ahead of itself. Dragged kicking and screaming out of its animalistic pinpoint focus on the present, the human brain has a tendency to become mired in misery and indecision. So to quiet the howls for a little while, we turn to alcohol, to THC, to oxytocin, serotonin, adrenaline and other assorted hormones and chemicals. They don’t fix anything – how could they? But as long as we don’t depend on them to function, they can calm our lost and bewildered brains long enough for us to take a deep breath, face the madness within and without, and carry on.
Matt and Kristof sit on a couch with console controllers nearby. Kristof is taking a bong hit while Matt has an intoxicatedly contented expression and a beer in hand.
Caption: We all have our drugs.
Becky and Izak are in bed, sharing a tender post-coital embrace.
Caption: They’re just ways to escape.
Zara stands in a gloriously idyllic natural setting, arms extended, basking in the beauty of it all.
Caption: But everyone needs an escape now and again.
This is not the first time giant sentient insects have made an appearance in IZS. You may scoff at the ridiculousness of it all (with some justification) but I believe there did actually used to be cockroaches the size of small dogs running around primeval forests. The warmer climate allowed for all kinds of massive creatures to live and thrive and insects were no exception. Imagine trying to shoo one of those out of the kitchen. This, more than any other incentive, should spur us to fight global warming. Ask yourself – are giant cockroaches really the future you want for your descendants?
Bed creaking noises and lascivious sounds are coming from behind a closed door.
“Oh, that’s good. Mmmm. Yeah, that’s just right.”
We can see someone from behind, reaching toward the doorknob.
Someone flings open the door to their bedroom and stands gobsmacked. A giant (human sized) termite has sheepishly been caught in the act - of chowing down on the bed.
“I love your wood.”
an alternate take of the final panel
Izak came up with the initial concept for this strip and floated it to me. And then I kind of rewrote it, far more fucked up. Sorry, Izak.
Half the scripts I write for Izak Smells these days tend to be a bit more tragic than comedic, but sometimes it’s fun to take a break from dark shit and do something ridiculously absurd.
Oh, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidence. Really. No, really.
A doctor is delivering a prognosis to his patient. On a table is a human heart, attached to a rat with big cute pleading eyes.
“The good news is we’ve managed to grow a replacement heart for you - on this rat.”
“Right... So what happens to the rat?”
“Oh, the rat dies.”
The patient is chatting up some girls at a party. He has a hole cut out of his shirt, and dangling from his chest is the rat.
“but I couldn't bear to see the little guy die. So now we do everything together. Isn’t that right, Aurelius?”
Outline of two people having missionary sex. There is something rat shaped between chest and breast.
“Ooo, gently Aurelius!”
There is something poignant about the life of a creature that only exists in its adult form for a day. All a mayfly really gets to do is stretch its wings, breed and die. There’s no time to make up for missed opportunities – just a minuscule present moment to be alive. Human lives often seem far too short but at least we have enough time to make a few mistakes, waste a little time, and still – hopefully – end up with something worthwhile by the end.
There’s nothing quite like faith to make everything seem like it’s all going to be okay. It’s far from surprising that faith (whether in be in a god or karma or the ability of the human race to conquer its foibles and become something better) is such an integral part of most people’s lives. Comfort, security and a sense of purpose – what else can offer that kind of emotional value? In its absence we are no more lost, but the impact of that yawning void is far greater.
For those of you who never knew you wanted to see our plucky protagonist Kite in full 3D colour, take a look below at Izak’s Elite Dangerous character model, designed to be as close to Kite as possible:
Kite and Mule-bot sit in the dark by a campfire. Kite might be rummaging around inside Mule-bot for her gear. Stars can be seen in the sky.
“I THINK WE’RE LOST.”
“Hey, I’ll get us out of here. Have a little faith.”
Those weren’t stars. Pull right out to reveal that they’re in a cavernous room that is covered, walls and ceiling, in blinking and glowing nodes and circuitry. The glow of their campfire is all but swallowed by the surrounding blackness.
“FAITH IS THE BEST AVAILABLE OPTION. BUT WE’RE STILL LOST.”
They came, they saw, they got the fuck out. While Bill may not have been the ideal inter-species diplomat, at least he presented the alien visitors with a fairly accurate representation of humanity on an off day. I sometimes think that if we ever do get to meet another race of creatures, we’ll be stuck in that ‘first date’ sort of nicey-nice fakeness for a good while before each side figures out that they’re just as dickish as each other. Maybe it’d be better to just let out those metaphorical farts right at the start and move on from there.
An irascible old man sits on his porch, can of beer in hand, shotgun across his lap.
Caption: Bill had never been comfortable with human contact.
Zoom out to reveal that his house is under a transparent dome, on a small asteroid.
Caption: He went to some lengths to avoid it.
Zoom out again to reveal a part of a mothership too big to fit in the frame, launching an alien landing vessel down to the asteroid.
Caption: Bill was not the best candidate for first contact.
I was talking with my wife the other day about what it would be like if your consciousness persisted after death, but was only able to look in the direction you were facing when you died – forever. She thought that eventually you’d go mad and create your own fantasy world to live in, which I guess would be a sort of redemption. I still find that concept of the afterlife terrifying though. But the worst thing would be if you ever emerged from your dream, coming to full cognisance of your situation. There are times when sanity, not madness, is the enemy.
A medieval royal banquet - the court fool is entertaining the nobles with his antics. The king calls out,
“Fool, entertain us with one of your witticisms!”
The fool recites the words with a rictus grin on his face.
“Nothing terrifies me more than brief moments of sanity.”
Everyone is distinctly discomfited.
The fool resumes his jolly tumbling and antics - the crowd applauds cheerily and returns to their joyous feasting.