While I was at university, October and November were the time for studying for, and taking, our end-of-year exams – not so much for drawing comic strips. As a result, that part of the year was a bit of a rest period for Cosmos: if I got any comics drawn up at all, it was usually during the brief periods when I took a break from revision, or after finishing an exam. In 2000, I finished exactly zero comics during October, and a grand total of eight during November; one set of themed randoms on Gene’s drink du jour of that time and a sort-of-story about a fun way to spend an idle Saturday afternoon….
Above: Oh, Gene. You do let yourself in for some frightful abuses at the hands of your beverages, don’t you? These strips continue Mr. Ellis’ inability to prepare coffee that isn’t potentially-lethal to either himself or anyone around him – sure, you can make your coffee strong, but when it’s able to wrestle you to the ground and steal your car (or simply eat through the table, alien-blood style), you know you’ve got a problem! I have to say, though, coming up with all these variations on one basic joke – and thinking around corners that other cartoonists may not have ventured around before (perhaps for good reason?) – is something I derive enormous enjoyment from: it’s a work-out for my brain!
Above: apparently, all you have to do to create an alien version of an Earth pastime is put ‘Astro’ or ‘Space’ in front of it….. interesting logic there, 2000-Jon. Ah, well, at least Artie and Gene appear to be enjoying themselves; and giving me some decent strips in the bargain. The challenge with this story, if I remember correctly, was to have enough variety in what was happening, given that the four strips basically boil down to ‘Artie or Gene take their turn hurling their ball down the lane’ – my solution was to make the Astro-bowling pins just a little bit anthropomorphic, and actively resist the repetitive task of either being knocked over…. or not. Their reactions, and Artie and Gene’s, well, reactions to their reactions, gave this story the necessary jolt of humour and save the individual strips being all samey-samey (or just dull). And we wouldn’t want that, would we?
TO BE CONTINUED….