Cosmos: Old School (1999) – part two

Remember what I said about the melting-pot mentality of my creative process last time? I never know what idea is going to bear fruit, or even where something is going to go once I’ve slapped it onto the page—and the next two proto-strips I created are a case in point. Rather than Type One generics, I decided (for whatever reason) to draw a spotted kangaroo-looking thing with a clever party trick: he could sneeze his spots off in mildly-humorous fashion:
Okay, I hear you asking, so what? I never used the Kangaroo-guy again, and he
definitely wears the label ‘one-trick pony’…. but look at the second strip! It’s an
entirely new type of Cosmosian!

It’s Artie!

Not that I knew it at that point. He was just an add-on character, a comic foil for the ‘Roo to wreak havok upon; and aside from saying ‘Gezundheit’, he doesn’t even get to do anything! I certainly didn’t think ‘Okay, I’m going to introduce the prototypical Type Two Cosmosian in this strip, and it’ll help me get more ideas’—he was just a random doodle, along with everyone else. And speaking of one-off characters:


See? A humanoid grey alien! Wearing a sweater! I was mixing all sorts of other stuff in with the essential Type One generics, who, were, obviously, still the core component of my infant universe; and about the only consistent element so far. They still flippy-flopped between using speech and thought bubbles to talk, and had difficulty deciding whether they all had three- or four-fingered (or toed?) hand-feet…. but at least they were getting somewhere….


Then, of course, the Type One’s and Type Two’s started appearing together on-panel. Now there’s another landmark event for you! Although the Type Two’s merely served as a bit of variety in Type One crowd scenes, I had now clearly established both of these green alien forms as ‘Cosmosians’; distinct from any of the other random creatures that had shown up thus far. And that was something I could build on…. Not only that, I’d laid the foundations for two other elements in the strip—the fact that the characters attended comic conventions, with all their attendant in-jokes and pop-cultural asides; and a place called ‘Pago Grande’, wherever that was. No, I have no idea where the name came from (I do know it translates as ‘Big Money’, so at least it’s coherent), and I strongly suspect that I just stuck two words together because they sounded good; but that doesn’t matter. The Cosmos-verse was starting to come together!



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