Tales of Adequacy No. 1100: “Fools Rush In…”

I haven't done much color lately.

I haven’t done much color lately.

First and foremost…Art Nouveau is HARD. Seriously folks, it is HARD. It looks beautiful at the end, and in fact, I kind of like the black and white pencils best, but the whole process is time consuming, stressful, and very, very precise. Originally I was going to do a very different Art Nouveau piece, which I might still do later in the week. That piece had a whole lot to do with a bunch of things rattling around in my head due to an offhand comment a few weeks ago. Although I think I’ll eventually put it down on paper, and probably in color, I wanted something here a bit more…on point with Adequacy’s basic structure.

The thing is…eleven hundred is a big number, sure. I huge number of drawings and posts. It isn’t a milestone though…comics wouldn’t make it an EVENT. Or maybe they would….given today’s comics marketing people. To me, it feels like 1250, 1500…definitely 2000…those numbers are EVENTS. Eleven hundred is like…”Okay, you did a hundred more. Nice.” In the eighties, it would be a double sizer, in the same way that X-Men number 175 was a double sized issue.

A number of you have commented to me that you find the design of new characters, the Bestials in their Camelot-like Utopian Science Fantasy setting, a fresh direction. I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from readers on that, and the enjoyment that a fresh look brings to the table. Maybe DC was onto something in hiring Jim Lee after all. The Bestials are fun…its a matter of, “Okay…I’m drawing a tough looking guy. Now…I want to give him the parts of animals. Often, silly animals.”

Characters ensue.

It’s fantasy clothing that I find a big challenge. It needs to look like a combination of Ren Faire and Sci-Fi, and still be cool. It is a total departure from Super Hero Chic. Incidentally, when looking for such inspiration online, it is almost impossible not to find Game of Thrones fan art. Since I don’t watch the show, it is yet another conversation that I am not really part of. The Goat Lord in the art inherits some of his design of the Spartans of “300” (I’m quite fond of the “This is Sparta!” techno remix) and some from a Dothraki guy that the internet just LOVES from Game of Thrones. Oh yeah…and some of his design is from a Goat, just so we know.

See, it seemed relevant because the new place has a Greek Warrior, a Spartan if you will, as a mascot. It didn’t feel like I wanted to do a whole “Ancient Greece” theme visually though, although some influence, like the robe wearing Dog Advisor, and the Spartan Goat Lord, is certainly welcome in design.

Without the cover trade dress and logos.  T-shirt ready, I think.

Without the cover trade dress and logos. T-shirt ready, I think.

Obviously, this post is more about the Adequacy process than anything else, and the some what haphazard and slipshod “world building” going into the new setting. I don’t exactly plan out these things, as take arbitrary inspiration, and try to kludge it into art, or funny little vignettes. Lately, the strip hasn’t been that FUNNY to me…it has been more about working out problems on paper through sarcasm. The Camelot-like design is a conscious…or subconscious, I’m not sure…attempt at returning to positive influences.

Two panels about a dropped text message, versus several days of holding back Haters in an apocalyptic Negative Zone. You can see the tonal shift.

I inked the pencils, of course, but didn’t do a separate image for uploading of the inks…just went right to the color image. I didn’t think we were THAT interested in the process that I needed two black and white images…that has been done enough by me. Plus…although I get better contrast and detail in the inks, I’m not like some artists who do amazingly loose pencils, and then add profound detail in the ink process. I recently saw a process of that kind, and it boggled my mind.

Did you click the link? Wow, right? You need to scroll down to appreciate his process, by the way.

Again, my inking isn’t nearly that interesting…not as much changes from ink to pencils. I guess that means my pencils are very “tight”, but who knows?

About the pencils…

I almost like this version the best.

I almost like this version the best.

I’d like to say that I started with that, but in truth, i started with a blank piece of paper. loose shapes started to form into the pencils above, over about an hour of drawing and redrawing. Maybe during the summer I’ll take some pictures of the pencils starting to take place on something. Could be an interesting thought experiment.

On the title of the issue…well, I did take my new job VERY suddenly. There were reasons for that, and every possible way that I can look at it it is “trading up”…but a part of me worries that indeed, I may have been a fool rushing in, where angels fear to tread. A key reason was that I didn’t want to be left alone and behind in the school that I’d worked so hard to improve, but had fallen so far. Eventually, I’ll do some pages about that backstory, but right now, they would just be an angry cheap shot.

When I get to it, it will probably still be a bit of a cheap shot, honestly, because I’ll be trying to get some closure on that ending, and the failure of what we tried to achieve. Just saying…I’m not any better than I am.

I feel good about the change, mostly. I’m intimidated by the responsibility of the new position, and needing to meet a whole new staff, and team. I don’t know if that Goat Lord is on my side or not, or if he is only in it for the massive grazing opportunities. I don’t have t-shirts, sweaters and jackets about the school, which everyone seems to have.

I’ve been asked a bunch if this means a change in costume for the protagonist. Sort of. She hasn’t gone back to her original Star T-Shirt for a while. I think that costume is founded in things that don’t really exist anymore, in ideas which have come and gone. The black jacket with the lightning bolt theme might come back…I always liked that, and wear a piece of Adequacy gear with it, and Pony thinking about a poo with knives in it, almost daily. It could come back. The tactical gear with the Alien Skull Head…hopefully retired. That costume really speaks to “Dark Reign” and the Bad Times.

She’s wearing the Drax T-shirt above…and I’ve drawn that a bunch for a while. That might be around for a bit. Drax himself is pretty independent, and identified by change and loss as his driving force. Could be a thing that lasts.

I wish I could say that I consciously choose the costume for her, but I don’t It just sort of…happens while I draw. Something works, tonally, in my subconscious, and the costume happens. So no promises on a new costume, but I’ve been wondering about it myself.

As always…thanks for coming to the site, and sticking with us, Gentle Reader. Hopefully, it is an interesting look for you, behind the scenes of both teaching as a profession, and the comics industry that we love.

As my hero Stan Lee would say, on the Soapbox…



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