Monday, November 29, 2010

Search and Research #150

Whew! It's nice to finally get this up! My co-writer Jason and I wrote this whole story arc out back in April, but this final part of the story fell during the busiest time of my entire year...beginning of the fall semester at the college at which I work. That lasted about a month an a half, at which point I had penciled about half of this "super-sized" strip. I finally got myself together and finished penciling and inking this strip. Then I started getting other artwork commissions which demanded my free time, which left me sort of scrambling to do what coloring I could during my lunch break at work. There is so much work that goes into coloring that bits and pieces just doesn't really allow you to make much progress on the overall piece. Anyway...I'm finally done with this one, and it's my great pleasure to show it to you, not only because I think that it's one of the better jobs I've ever done drawing and coloring, but because it's the epic conclusion of the "Evil Copier Saga!!" The image above is sort of bigger than usual for the strip because I want you to have to opportunity to see the coloring details. Below, I'm posting a smaller resolution image in case the one above is really too big to comfortably view on your phone or whatever. Enjoy!

Smaller version:

Friday, November 26, 2010

Almost done!!!

I'm almost done coloring Strip #150!!! In celebration of this momentous event, I have a couple of preview images to tease and tantalize you:

I'm also going to repost all the strips that have led up to this strip, in case you want to review the story. I realize that 4 months is kind of a long time to try to keep a story in your memory. I'm planning on posting #150 on Monday. Until then, enjoy! Strips start below with #141 and move down the page in order.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Introducing...Wai Fai

At one point 4 years ago or so I doodled a picture in a staff meeting of an asian lady with sort of a funky haircut who was carrying a samurai sword. I should pause and a say that ever since watching the first Highlander movie, samurai swords have been my favorite style of sword (although the super awesome sword Inigo Montoya wields in The Princess Bride is a close second!!) and samurai swords and people holding them have been a staple of my doodling for many years now. When I started drawing this strip, I remembered that doodle and thought that it would be super cool to have an "ITS-chick" who used a samurai sword as one of her tools. Thus Wai Fai (which I pronounce as Wi-Fi...get it?) was born. She first showed up in Strip #83 and had made frequent appearances ever since.

I initially designed her hair to sort of look like samurai swords, but after the first few times i drew her, i decided that hairstyle only really worked when viewed from the front...other angles were too hard to draw, so I've been sort of experimenting with other styles for her subsequent appearances. I think I've sort of settled on the style she has in the image below. Marc has been sort of enamored with Wai Fai since meeting her, and Wai Fai shows concern for Marc when he's in trouble, but neither of them seems to be willing to discuss their feelings.

Monday, November 15, 2010


SCOM is possibly my favorite character in this comic strip. He started out in strip #10 as a cantankerous Self Check Out Machine (which is where the abreviation SCOM comes from) who was a bit grumpy and had a penchant for destroying books, but he has become, in my opinion, the central character of the strip. Much like Opus in Bloom County, he was initially a background character who has evolved into a lovable, naive, interesting character through which we can explore the library with new eyes.

By the way, if you have never read Bloom County, please make every effort to do so. Sometimes the references to political and world events from the early 80s might be a little obscure these days, but the characters and art are great and the stories are funny and interesting. Berkeley Breathed, the creator of Bloom County, is a cartoonist hero of mine, along with Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes), Gary Larson (The Far Side) and Bill Amend (Foxtrot).

Anyway, back to SCOM, we soon discovered that he could walk, that he'd been specially made by the CIA to work in the Library of Congress, and that he had a theft prevention system which included twin duel machine-guns and a missile. I sort of started thinking of him as a mix between R2-D2 and Mary Popopins' purse, in that he could contain almost any electronic device within him, and it would sort of be believable. Remember how Mary Poppins fit a whole coat rack into her purse? Remember how R2-D2 had, like, 576 different tools in the Star Wars movies? That's what I'm talking about. Here is a list of things we've seen SCOM equipped with:
- Legs
- Guns
- Missile
- Satellite Dish for missile tracking and TV reception
- Spotlight
- Electric Zapper
- A webcam
- A karaoke system including speakers and a microphone
- A toaster

At one point we had SCOM's guns replaced with a salad shooter and a caulking gun, and his missile replaced with a telescope, which really cracked me up. I drew the image of SCOM below during that period of time, so even though he now has his guns back, please enjoy SCOM trying to look cool with his replacement attachments.

Monday, November 08, 2010


Randall was introduced back in strip #12 to essentially set up a gag wherein we reveal that SCOM has legs and can walk around. I gave him my father's middle name, and my propensity toward messiness. At the time I was drawing this, I'm pretty sure I had the messiest office in our library. I'm doing better, but things do tend to pile up on and around my desk. I hadn't really planned on him sticking around, but it turned out that having a sort of messy, grumpy male librarian can be useful for stories. I'm not entirely sure what prompted me to give him a "mustachio" type mustache, or the weird-looking goatee, but they seemed to go together in my mind. I've move away from curling his goatee the way I drew it in strip #12, but have not removed it entirely.

Friday, November 05, 2010


Opal is the second staff character I created for this strip, showing up in strip #3. She was based on a cataloger with whom my wife was working at the time (she has since changed jobs) who was very cranky, refused to use a computer for almost anything and seemed to despise change of any kind. She is certainly not my idea of all catalogers, and I don't personally know any catalogers with that kind of mindset, but I suppose that the cranky old woman is a little bit of a librarian stereotype. Oh well...I think that her personality is an asset to this strip. I made Boük a cataloger to sort of keep the strip from seeming biased against catalogers. Opal has been working at the library since she was a student there, so she has seen a lot of change. If I ever have her show up in a color strip, I will make the center of her broach a large opal. I'm not sure why I named her the way I did other than it just sounds like a name for an older woman. I love the animosity between Opal and SCOM and try to put them together in situations as much as possible. I enjoy thinking about where else we can put her! Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Introducing...Marc Record

Well, now we come to Marc. The first character I created for the strip. I believe that it was my wife who suggested the name, but I can't completely remember. She deals with marc records more than I do (although if you've ever dealt with one, you're ahead of me) and I thought it was a great name. It started my penchant for naming characters based on what they do (with the exception of Opal and Randall) in an effort to appear clever. He's also the only character who has an established last name. Marc works at the service desk, and I see him sort of as a library assistant. I'm not sure if he has an office or not; we haven't seen it if he does, but I haven't really made up my mind about that. He is basically an outlet for the things I think in my head during interactions in the library. I've given him some of my personal interests, such as being a fan of sci-fi and action movies and tv, and his preference for corduroy pants and collared, short-sleeve shirts. That's my typical winter work wardrobe. In color, I typically color his shirt as maroon, which is the color of my favorite shirt. My co-writer Jason has done a very nice job of expanding his personality, and making his snarky humor funny instead of mean sounding. I have to give him a lot of credit for helping me get a good grasp on what his character should be. I've really enjoyed developing his relationship with SCOM, and at this point I think of them as a team, and their relationship as sort of the heart of the strip, as it should be with any librarian and their technology.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Introducing...The Gnome

The library gnome is the character in one of my favorite extended story arcs. I had been noticing that when I would go to shelve the new periodicals after I'd finished processing them, the issues out on the shelves would sometimes be so mixed around that it felt as if someone were purposefully doing the rearranging, and that is what got me thinking about a library gnome for the strip. He first appeared in strip #71 and although he hasn't had much to do since that story arc, I think of him as a recurring character and hope to use him much more. I drew him without a beard and mustache, and with large glasses, in order to sort of separate him from our usual image of lawn gnomes. I retained his pointy hat to at least make him seem a little gnomish. Initially I had drawn him with pointy, clog-type shoes, but abandoned them as they were not easy to draw at all angles. I think he's a good foil/foe for SCOM, since the gnome uses magic and SCOM can't necessarily overcome him only with technology. I think I'll have to make a point to use the gnome more often.