Cosmos: Old School (2001) – part one

Welcome to the beginning of Cosmos’ third year! Okay, let’s recap, shall we? I have a donut-shaped planet, not one but two main casts, a town called pago Grandé (still no idea where that name came from, sorry), an assortment of locations in which to wreak comedic havoc, and some of the most creatively demented jokes I think I’ve ever created anywhere, ever. And there was no stopping the Cosmos juggernaut, apparently: I was all ready to launch into 2001 with the same verve I did during 1999 and 2000…. and looking back on the results now in 2017, I can definitely say I succeeded. You’re in for a wild ride, Cosmos fans….

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Above: speaking of recaps, I thought I’d start off with an all-new, all-colour sunday strip, hosted by my by-now-official spokesman for Cosmos, Artie Deacon. Gene and the others do their share of in-strip commentary, but Artie has the easy-going charm and wry humour needed to talk my audience through all the explain-y bits, as shown here. The title banner, meanwhile, has the first in-strip appearance of Professor pod’s fellow scientific enquirers – Artimus Frink and Co-plot, of Explorers Inc!

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Above: Is this Type-four Cosmosian Tony Corvell or Peter Anderson? Given that the two look very similar, and they were (at this point) still relatively new characters, it is perhaps not surprising that I would forget who was supposed to be wearing what. Playing with a jack-in-the-box does seem to suggest a kid rather than an adult, which is a tick in the ‘Peter Anderson’ column; but Mr. Mystery is wearing what is quite clearly Tony Corvell’s backward hat with antenna, so….? Well, I don’t know. And once again, I’ve forgotten the headphone / ear-cover things!

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Above: a selection of strips showcasing one of my more favourite things to do: messing around with the ‘rules’ of comic strip speech bubbles. Once you’re on a roll with this sort of thing, there are an almost endless variety of ideas you can come up with on the theme. Because, quite frankly, they don’t even have to make sense! The first two are probably more successful than the second two – the dialogue in the latter is a bit clunky, and the build up to the punchlines are pretty much identical – but they all deliver some clever jokes, which is the main thing. And in the beach strip, the speech-bubble element is actually a second layer added onto the main thrust of the joke, that came to me in a flash of last-minute inspiration while I was drawing it! Never, ever turn down one of those eureka moments when you have them – go with your gut, and you can make a good joke even better….

TO BE CONTINUED….

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