The dating on my earliest Cosmos strips is rather inconsistent—for example, I don’t think I drew up EVERY strip marked ‘3/1/99’ on the 3rd of January, 1999, let alone coloured them in; simply that I came up with the ideas on that day—but I can at least put them in the right sort of order to chart their evolution over time. By February of 1999, for example, I had something of a stable formula going: the little green guys were Cosmosians, and they were distinguished from one another by differences in size and shape, as well as costume. Still no continuing characters, though…. Oh, wait, no, never mind:
The first was the inimitable Dr. Nitro: he’s shown up here and there in the strip since, occasionally running afoul of Gene and co., but never really got to ‘main character’ status. He is important, though, not only being well-defined right from the get-go, but also being the first Cosmos character to get an actual name! But as for the next ones….
There was another solo appearance by Proto-Artie, looking much more like his final form, three-fingered hands notwithstanding; but he is still anonymous:
While the protagonist in my first-ever multi-part Cosmos story (which, unfortunately, I never really finished) is clearly one Ax Maxwell, right? But in the four strips I did for the tale of the ‘Fanboy Mafia’—really need to bring those guys back—no-one ever refers to him by name either! I clearly liked his modified-Type-One design (and his stripy hat, which he seems to have stolen from Proto-Artie), given that I used him for four strips in a row; but as to who he was, no-one would have a clue. Furthermore, in the fourth strip:
Who were these people? Why are they helping Ax? Where did they even come from? In one fell swoop, I introduced Macy, brought back Artie, and directly linked them to Ax (thereby creating most of the main cast, to boot)…. and then proceeded to give no clue as to who anyone even was! Oh, 1999-Jon…. It also doesn’t help that the joke doesn’t particularly make sense (I’m not entirely sure where I was going with that—let’s take Artie’s sage advice and leave before it does, huh?); so such a landmark strip falls just a liiiitle flat. Still, it was a start….
But hang on, wasn’t there someone missing?
TO BE CONTINUED….