Cosmos: Old School (2001) – part four

Every now and then, I like to pull out an ‘event’ story – a crazy, anything-goes tale comprising multiple daily strips (and associated Sundays), that become major keypoints in Cosmos continuity. The story presented herein came from a series of seemingly random occurrences in earlier strips, as shown below:

2001-4_1
In particular, the started-but-not-continued proto-story about Artie and Gene making a Japanese monster movie had gone out with a dull ‘phut’, and i wanted a chance to recapture that lost potential. But how? Enter Professor pod – he’d shown up briefly before, but his last appearance (with Timmy of the B-Team cast) was only ambiguously in-canon, if at all. Given that he was into the whole Mad science thing, combining the two elements got the sparks firing….

2001-4_2
Top: Artie is in his ‘Tall and Thin’ phase in these strips, making him look seriously mis-proportioned when compared with his modern appearance. Also, I look to have been using tow different pens to ink in my strips for most of 2001: a thicker one for themain outlines and a thinner one for fine details and the backgrounds. A nice idea, but the contrast between the two is really obvious and kind of jarring….

Bottom: I’m not entirely sure why the first three panels are all text, given that some visuals would have provided some nice accompanying gags…. perhaps I just wanted to increase readability? Who knows. But Gene’s line in panel four, I’m sure you will agree, is pretty much comedy gold.

2001-4_3
Above: rather than having Artie and Gene simply stumble across Professor pod (and his robot butler Willis) in the course of their quest, I instead decided to imply a definite history of encounters between them; very few of which – largely due to Gene – turned out well for anyone concerned. Regardless, Professor pod doesn’t hate or despise the pair: in fact, he rather enjoys their periodinc visits to his lab…. provided they behave themselves…. and they give him sufficient time to piece himself back together when they don’t. Gene’s full moon reference in the second strip is, of course, a callback to his Gene-into-Trekkie transformation in ‘Full Moon Fever!’ in 2000 (continuity, kids!)

2001-4_4Above: Clearly, Gene already has a superhuman (supercosmosian?) power, of a sort – the ability to drive everyone around him totally nuts! Not as impressive as web-shooters, invisibility or a Green Lantern ring, but clearly effective enough…. Professor Pod was obviously willing to zap Gene with any old Mad Science gadget, regardless of the consequences, just to get him to shut up….

2001-4_5
Above: Uh oh. Here comes the kaiju quotient. A nice bit of misdirection on my part here, to some extent – you assume the story is solely going to be about Gene trying (and failing) to get superpowers, but no! Suddenly, it’s turned into a Japanese monster movie pastiche! Presumably, being a sensible sort of fellow, Professor Pod would have told Artie to keep an eye on Gene just in case anything went *Slightly Wrong*, after he escorted them out – he may know the normal, reversible effects of Sub-gammatron Blast-o-rays (such as temporary blob-ness), but there’s always the possibility of some random event throwing things out of whack…. Go, Go, Genezilla!

TO BE CONTINUED!

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