This comic came out of something Izak said when describing what the two of us are like when drunk. It was just one of those remarks that can be easily passed over but the poetry of it grabbed me and wouldn’t leave me alone. So naturally I twisted it into an existential crisis, because of course I would. I really like the work Becky did on this one – it’s a deceptively difficult piece to pull off as all the emphasis is on the facial expressions but I think she nailed it.
A parent is reading a bedtime story to their child. The kid is doing their damnedest to stay awake, but they’re losing the battle.
Caption: Life is just one big exercise
A 20-something is standing around awkwardly at a party, holding a drink. Others around them seem to be having fun, but they’re overdrunk, isolated and uncomfortable.
Caption: in desperately holding our shit together
An old person sits in the sun. They may be asleep or dead, we don’t know. A book they were reading has slipped out of their hand to lie on the ground.
Caption: before finally succumbing to sleep.
Ah, caffeine. The one drug you can proudly boast about being addicted to while at work. Imagine if it was anything else. “Man, I just can’t function without a line or two of coke in the morning.” “Whiskey helps me get through the day.” “I don’t feel like myself until I’ve smoked a joint.” I mean sure, those are all valid points – just don’t expect a scheduled meth break anytime soon.
A creepy looking necromancer gazes fondly at a woman’s corpse lying on a slab. Candles and occult paraphernalia surround her.
“We will be together again my love.”
The necromancer starts to magick something into existence.
“By the strength of my arcane powers”
A filter coffee jug appears in the necromancer’s hand, and he pours black coffee from the jug directly into the woman’s mouth. Her eyes bug open.
“and this mystic elixir!”
Just imagine the fun you could have being old, without all the infirmities that go along with advanced age. It’s almost like being a baby again, except with the added bonus of self-awareness and the ability to purposefully terrorise your carers. What a hoot! It’s no wonder Bogdan gave up his drafty castle and pale virgins for a taste of the real high life.
A vampire hangs upside down in an old folks home, surrounded by the aged and infirm. He has a self satisfied grin on his face, and something is dripping from his pants into a resident’s meal.
Caption: Sick of endless luxury, Bogdan tried fitting in with folks closer to his own age.
“Nurse! I have shat my pantaloons.”
Poor dude. I mean, without his horse he’s just that weird looking guy with a really weak chin.
In other news, we’ve just signed up for the Hamilton Zinefest – it’s the first fest of the year to open for entries and we’ve been brainstorming how to create a bigger, better stall for y’all. We’re planning to have all sorts of new and exciting merch for you guys to check out, so if you’re in the area (come on, Auckland counts as “the area”, right?) pop in to Creative Waikato on May 13th and say hi! There are always loads of super talented creators at these fests, so even if you hate us (why are you still reading this?) you’re pretty much guaranteed to have a good time.
The headless horseman and his horse in couples counselling. The horse is awkwardly propped up on the couch, not anthropomorphically sitting, and it does not look impressed.
“Listen to me: you are not defined by your relationship with this horse.”
“Well, you say that…”
It all started out as a misunderstanding, which turned into a mistake, which progressed into planetcide. After Ergalon lay in ashes, Galag soon discovered that it occupied an uncomfortable position as something more than a mass-murderer but somewhat less than an interstellar scourge. Sensibly realising that changing the past was not an option, Galag decided to add another planet or two to its resume, thereby escaping its semantic limbo.
On an entirely different note, we’re in a book! The very talented Z.R. Southcombe has pooled the intelligences and experience of several talented writers and illustrators (including, inexplicably, the Izak Smells crew) and created a book designed to aid and inspire those new to the joys of writing. It’s called I Am a Writer and it’s out now! If you’re keen to get hold of a copy, this is the best place to go – and if you order during the month of February 2017, you can use the code iamawriter to get 20% off.
Izak and Kristof are watching a gigantic tentacled monster tear apart a city. Izak points excitedly.
“Oh shit, it’s Galag, Destroyer of World!”
“ “World”, singular?”
Obscene and gory destruction is raining down all around them as they calmly converse. Izak now has his phone out.
“Yeah, he’s new to all this.”
Close up on Izak’s mobile phone screen. He’s just added an S to the end of Galag’s title.
“I know, right? But I’m updating his wiki now!”
Home isn’t a place. But you can still find your way there. This is the second of two strips based on the poem Prayer to the Sands (included as a bonus in the transcript below) which I wrote with my wife in mind, just before I asked her to marry me. The first is called Hope, and both of them were executed with utter aplomb by the talented Becky Hunt. I often push Becky and Izak quite hard on the art front and they always rise to the challenge – I’m privileged to work with such talented and tolerant artists.
And my wife’s pretty cool too, y’know, I guess…
Rain lashes across and lightning forks down. The kitten gazes wide eyed out at the storm. The robot forms a canopy over the kitten’s head with its hands and smiles wide as the storm drums on its weathered metal.
Prayer to the Sands
In the waste of the world the still one hulked,
Dun hued and pitted with rust.
A grey gaze sifted the sun stained rock,
slid over the grizzled scrub.
A prayer to the sands keened slow from its mind,
the sigh of a dying thing.
Let the light fall now from my too charred frame,
come cover me now with your warmth.
May the din and the scorch of the earth
fade away, as my iron returns to the dust.
Who can say if the soft sands heard,
if the wind was mindful at all?
But as the world wound to the cusp of dusk,
the still one lifted its head -
a mewling escaped from the age dead weeds,
a cry from the shade locked stone.
And in the last shafts of a dirt drab day
a shape coalesced from the dark.
Crusted fur and wide round eyes
deep with doubt and need.
For just a moment neither moved,
as hues slid off to drown…
Then padding fear-bold through the dim
the creature shifted close,
nosed tentatively at the bulk
and slipped inside a gap.
The still one sensed the life warm form
curled soft inside its plate,
and prayed once more to the sliding sands
to rule over its fate.
Let the light rise gold on our flesh and steel,
be kind to us now on our way.
May the din and the scorch of the earth
fade away, as we take our first steps toward home.
This strip, and its follow up (titled Home) have been in the pipeline for a while. I based the strip off a poem I wrote and pitched it knowing it was a long shot. We recently were going through some scripts that had been set aside and Becky got really excited about this idea – I’m super stoked at how the art turned out.
A hulking, rust-pitted robot sits sad and alone in an arid land. Clouds roil overhead - a storm is coming.
An adorably mangy kitten pokes its head out of a chink in the iron midsection, looking up at the robot with a mraow. The robot is surprised and delighted - it scratches the kitten’s head. Raindrops are just beginning to fall to earth.
Edwin always got away with things. He started out a basically good calf at heart but after discovering that he could do whatever he liked without fear of repercussion or reproach, he slowly turned into an unmitigated asshole. And no one really seemed to mind. It would be nice to say that Edwin was acting out simply because of his distinct lack of human interaction, with all the potential loneliness and social issues that could spring from that, but I’m sorry to say that Edwin was living an entirely happy life, content with being a giant douchebag.
An elephant is rampaging through a posh cocktail party. It has wreaked havoc and has impaled one person on its tusk and is crushing another underfoot.
Impaled person: "The old ticker's giving me a bit of grief."
Crushed person: "I say, I've got a bit of a gippy tummy."
Caption: Despite his rowdy nature, no one thought it polite to mention Edwin's presence.
I wonder, if dogs were sentient, whether they’d be ashamed of the soft, pampered creatures that they’ve become or whether they’d just smugly believe themselves superior to their wild kin, having figured out how to live the cushy life. There’s a Rick and Morty episode that explores similar themes, but I reckon that instead of outrage at how they’ve been turned into pets, sentient dogs would merely create justifications for their weakness and indulgent lifestyle. After all, we do.
Though seemingly far removed from the wolf, the domestic dog still has its ancestor's instinct to hunt in packs.
A fat dog with half its body rooting through a backpack.
Shit from the pack strewn about.
This one was a duo effort – I had half a joke and an idea of where I wanted it to end up, then in despair went running to Izak for a decent punchline. He ended up taking it in a completely different direction to what I originally envisioned, but this version is way better and far more fucked up. To be honest though, I think he floated the idea purely because he really badly wanted to draw a salacious bed bug. The precise reason why is opaque to me, and I’m going to leave it that way.
A mother is standing at the door of her son’s bedroom, bidding him goodnight.
“Sleep tight - don’t let the bedbugs bite!”
The child replies cheerfully.
An oversized bedbug lounges salaciously in the bed. The kid rubs his neck.
“You gotta ease up on the hickeys; I think she’s onto us.”