Cosmos: Old School (2002) – part six

Welcome back to the interior components of Cosmos Comics #1, my first proper foray into funny-book stories for the Cosmos-verse! The first tale featured in the publication was ‘Train of Thought’, featuring the comedic stylings of Artie and Gene – since these two are all about kicking over the fourth wall and stomping it into little itty-bitty pieces, I pondered the question ‘What would happen if I was drawing a Cosmos story and my mind started to…. wander?’ Hence the title of the story, obviously; and the resultant mayhem unleashed on (and by) Mr. Deacon and Mr. Ellis. This is not a story I could have done anywhere near as effectively as a series of four-panel strips (even with a few Sundays thrown in), as it would have ended up A) absurdly long, B) very stop-start with all the recaps I’d periodically have to do, and C) very cramped and wordy in those undersized Old School comic strip panels (shades of 2001, part 16 and 17). Doing it as a comic book story gave me the space – both figuratively and literally – to sprawl out across big panels, double-spreads and continuous narrative flow…. Lovely!

Train 1
Above: The implication of the background detail in panel one, obviously, is that Artie and Gene are heading for the POTA swap meet (saves unnecessary exposition, you see) – but there’d have to be an awful lot of people bringing an awful lot of merchandise / fan-made stuff for the event to be economically viable, right? Should have said ‘club symposium’ or ‘convention’, methinks….

Train two
Above: Remember what I said about the all-Jon creative team in the previous installment? Here’s its first use in Cosmos, on this very page. Plus, the continuing disregard of my ‘No Dinosaurs in Cosmos’ rule! What fun!

Train 3
Above: I have a feeling every character I’ve ever created has a map like this for emergencies, given that bonking around inside my head is hardly a walk in the (Jurassic) park on a good day. The ‘mental badlands’ are decorated with weird geometric patterns so Artie and Gene would actually have something to react to – when I first drew up this page, the final panel was otherwise blank, meaning that the dynamic duo were gaping in horror at…. nothing. (And yes, I know I misspelled ‘subconscious’…. Twice…. So sue me.)

Train 4
Above: This is why its good to be working on a comic book page, rather than a four-panel comic strip – you can have expository dialogue AND an extended bout of slapstick humour, all without compromising proper story pacing. Plus, you can just turn the page to find out what Gene’s flipping out over….

Train 5
Above: Yes, Gene IS just hanging onto her leg, thank you very much…. Minds out of the gutter, people! The great thing about a story set in my head is the potential for cameos and crossovers with other characters I’ve created – case in point, the lovely Guardian Angel from my superhero series The Toon Squad. Lamentably, Mr. Ellis seems to be perpetuating the fine tradition of non-human male cartoon characters making goo-goo eyes at attractive humanoid female cartoon characters…. as well as simultaneously displaying his ability to drive anyone nuts with his obnoxious enthusiasm!

Train 6
Above: The Enforcers (Stiltor, Pinstripe, Red Devil and Inertia) are some of the oddball supervillains who inhabit the same reality as Guardian Angel – and I have to say, since said universe also included Irving the Human Lobster and The 9th Dimensional Man, they’re probably somewhere on the low end of the scale…. GA also seems to be rocking a Rocket-belt similar to the Avenger’s Wonder Man (source of the brainwave patterns of the Vision, trivia fans), whereas these days she has propulsion units fitted into her boots, ala Iron Man!

Tune in Wednesday for the second half of the story!

TO BE CONTINUED….

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