Cosmos: Old School (2001) – part six

What would Cosmos be without Gene? Not to diminish the accomplishments of  Artie, Ax and co. – they can more than hold their own in both story and comedy stakes – but Gene adds a certain…. edge to the Cosmos-verse; giving the other characters any number of, shall we say, unique situations to deal with. The next four strips are proof positive of this….

Top: the reason why the others put up with Gene’s antics? He is consistently, genuinely entertaining. He likes to make people laugh, and if he can bring a smile to someone’s face (or, at the very least, leave them utterly baffled), he feels as if he’s done his job. Unfortunately, Macy is often the one feeling the lion’s share of the ‘baffled’….
Bottom: cartoon physics, it seems, only exist to give Gene something new to utterly subvert. He’s done some singularly creative things to the comic strip’s structural framework in his time – popping speech bubbles like balloons, introducing incomprehensible sound effects – or, in this case, doing away with the concept of the ‘panel border’, simply because he felt like doing so. Fair enough.

Top: one wonders how gene managed to convince not only Ax (still rather naive at this point, it has to be said), but also Artie – the paragon of common sense – to celebrate this rather impromptu occasion…. in Macy’s house, no less? It must have been one heck of a convincing speech, whatever he said. And in answer to your question, Ax…. er, yes, I rather think she will.
Bottom: both Artie and Gene are at the peak of their ‘tall and pointy eyes’ phase, here – quite why the Cosmosian eye attained such a defiantly triangular shape over time, I don’t know; especially since in the very first strips, their ocular adornments were at the most slightly ovaloid. After this point, I started making a conscious effort to draw my characters with much less distorted facial proportions – especially in terms of Artie’s eyes and cranium, which by this stage were looking a liiiiiitle ridiculous. Gene’s eyes in the first panel, I suppose, needed to bugging out (or up?) as he is surprised by the content of the phone call…. but then they stay that way for the rest of the comic. Hmmm.

Meanwhile, on the other side of Cosmos, the B-Team cast (Peter, Timmy and their friends / families) were starting to rack up their comic strip appearances, and establish themselves as a viable alternative to Gene and crew. Given their residency in the Cosmosian equivalent of England, I could do things in their stories that i couldn’t do elsewhere – such as having a proper winter with actual snow; and stories riffing on all the wonderful things you could with the icy-cold white stuff….

Above: Peter, Timmy and Jaime (later joined by friends Wendell and the Tolstoy twins) frequently engage in epic, winner-takes-all snowball fights; contests of shifting alliegances, dirty tricks, creative improvisations…. and, in this case, ideas that sounded brilliant on paper but perhaps, ideally, should have stayed there. Poor Jaime….

Above: when these two say they’re going to make a ‘snowman’, more often than not it’s actually one of their monolithic, impractical, law-of-physics-defying snow sculptures. Whether you could actually build a giant robot in that pose, solely out of snow, without it immediatelly falling to bits, is immaterial – it’s their party trick, and I’m sure not about to tell them not to do it! The subject of choice, in case you’re interested, is the titular mecha from the anime Giant Robo…. which I think I’ve restored at least somewhat accurately, right?



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