Welcome back to the year 2000! Ax got us started in the last installment, so now it’s up to me to pick up the baton and continue chronicling the evolution of Cosmos into its present (utterly demented) state. The strip was now clearly partitioned into a rotating roster of Randoms (gag-a-day strips), Themed Randoms (gag-a-day around a particular subject), stories (multi-part strips) and Sundays (strips with up to eight – or rarely more – panels), with Artie, Gene and co. most definitely in charge. Perhaps due to its time-consuming nature – I was colouring things in by hand back then – I slowly started phasing out full-colour randoms and stories; usually reserving the CMYK spectrum for Sunday strips, as was the practise with most newspaper comics at that time. But there was still plenty of colour to go around for the first few months:
Above: what I know about golf wouldn’t even fill the corners of a particularly small thimble…. But since the basic concept of hit ball with club >> ball goes somewhere >> follow it seemed fairly self-evident, I could still easily create comics about it….
Above: It’s Murph! After his blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance on some Christmas card art, Gene’s favourite feline returned for his very own set of Themed Randoms. Like the earliest Type One Cosmosians (and Garfield before them), Murph talked through the medium of thought bubbles – but, since it actually made sense this time (He’s a Cosmosian animal, rather than a Cosmosian Cosmosian), I stuck with the idea; meaning his pal Newton and other critters can understand him, but Gene and co. can’t….. Well, usually. His key occupation in this series is the venerable cat art of securing extra bonus food by means fair or foul, whether Gene has anything to say about it or not!
Top: Cosmos gets subversive. As I said before, my comics have served as a convenient platform for social commentary, satire and make-you-think parodies of modern life; with strips such as this being one of the earliest examples of the practice. It’s a bit rough around the edges, but it gets the job done.
Bottom: Who is Jamie Styles? This is her one and only appearance in the whole of Cosmos history, and I still have no idea what I intended to do with her. I vaguely remember considering a whole series of strips – which would pop up every now and again like a running gag – for the frenetic bespectacled one, but nothing ever came of it; and I more or less forgot about her. However, the surname ‘Styles’ was soon thereafter attached to Ax’s lady-love Macy, which suggests there is some sort of familial connection between the two Cos-ladies. But are they sisters? Cousins? Adopted second aunts twice-removed on their mother’s side? Cosmos continuity provides absolutely no answers, so for the moment I’m rather baffled. Stay tuned, though, I’ll figure something out….
TO BE CONTINUED….