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The Bigger, Super-Deluxe Annotated Bob Archive, Part Four
A Deed that is Good
Eh. Another one where I didn't quite know what I was doing when I
started, so it ended up kinda weak. Basically, I was done with the
writing part of the cartoon once I'd come up with "on the road with
fifteen tons of hot porridge," only to realize I had another seven
panels to fill. I liked some of the inking on the forest dwarf, but
this is a pretty forgettable one, all told.
The Flower Who Cried Wolf
I like this one, except for the lettering in the third panel. This
was one of the strips that Cerebus creator Dave Sim ran in
an issue of his comic, a great honor as far as I'm concerned, since
he's one of the biggest reasons I'm wasting my life doing a cartoon.
Comparisons to the classic Japanime Akira are obvious, and
that's pretty much where I got the idea. The laser impact worked better
than I'd hoped, especially considering I really only use a little
black and a few lines to convey that explosion. You can also see the
ongoing process of figuring out how to shade Freddie, a process that
continues to this day.
Why Doesn't Bob Hang Around Flowers?
Funny story here. I had to go to talk to a group of 14-year-old girls
from an all-girl school on some kind of a career day or something,
and I didn't bring any cartoons or anything to help me do it. But
you know what? The session was held in some high-school math classroom,
and this very cartoon was posted on the door! Don't you think that's
hilarious? I should do a cartoon about it! Anyway, there's
not much to this one, but as I told the girls that day, the best thing
about this particular cartoon is the use of simliar panels in a row
to convey a sense of stasis. Also, as if it wasn't obvious, the correct
answer to Bob's query is yelled out by one of the hopeless supplicants
in panel four, but Bob is too far gone by that point to heed him.
Unfortunate, because when I took calculus in university, I
used to hate having to keep track of the damn constant (the "c" in
"3X+C"). There you go. Proof that I'm not the same person as
One of my favorites, and the beginning of what I considered at the
time to be a pretty good run. Others may disagree. There's not a lot
of Bob here, but come on -- surely you're willing to put him aside
to hear such a touching story about a great, great man like Constable
Rocket? Come on -- the guy's got rockets on his feet! Pretty happy
with the art here, particularly the dust of dots in the seventh panel,
which was one reason it was one of my favorites. Plus I think I really
nailed him in that panel, all hunched over with terrible loss, but
still recognizable as an RCMP officer with big rockets on his legs.
And no, as far as I know, the Japanese in the sixth panel doesn't
mean anything -- I just ripped some characters out of a book. And
finally, of course, the second "R" in "R.C.R.P." stands for "rocket."
The Prisoner's Dilemma
Another good one. Inking is getting steadily better. This one came
out of that time-honored problem of not having any idea what to do
for a strip. So I decided to take a nap and let my subconscoius tackle
the problem. And another brilliant cartoon idea is born! I'm laughing
already! I like to think I did a damn good job on that second panel
where Bob is looking up at his captors. Also, the text for Bob's skipping
chant is written in such a way as to encourage the reader to quietly
say it, such that you get the rhythm of the chant. Try it -- it really
works! My only regret is that I didn't draw a well in that last panel.
I like this one, but mostly because of the fourth panel, where I
was once again pleased with my own art. I just liked the way that
I was able to draw Colour Master quite small and iconic and still
make him look good. The subtraction of detail as the object gets smaller
is an art I'm still learning, and this one shows me that I sometimes
get it right -- to my satisfaction, at least. Of course, the
essence of the gag is that it's a black and white cartoon. And that
is a chicken running around with its head cut off in the seventh
panel. Thus the cartoonist uses visual cues to indicate a mental state.
Yep, we've got a million tricks like that one.
Old, Dear, Valued Friends
A lot of people count this as one of their favorites. It doesn't
really blow me away, because I was pretty lazy in the art, again.
This is like a survey of cheap gimmicks I use to make it look like
I'm actually drawing something. Panel #2, cross-hatchey stuff in the
corner of the panel. Panel #3, the black "dust" that I'd started using.
Cross-hatchy stuff for Panel #4. And a silhouette panel just for variety.
Saves having to actually think about the art. Also note my clumsy
attempt to add texture on the guy's jacket, which actually didn't
turn out too bad.
Total Deadline Pressure
Guess where the inspiration for this one comes from. Yet another
cartoon about doing cartoons. Bob's sentiments in the first panel
are pretty much my own, and so are his art tools. The cleft-lipped
retard in question was the editor of Slur, Dave Johnson. He
has no cleft lip, nor is he a retard. He was actually pretty good
about the whole thing, considering. The Reagan caricature in the fourth
panel is pretty lame,I'll admit, but the subtler joke is the "old-style"
Bob, looking like he did in the very first couple of strips. And,
of course, the punch line sucks. Oh well...
This, on the other hand, is another favorite of mine, again mostly
because I was pleased with the art. This plays on the well-known evilness
of toy clapping monkeys, most memorably brought to life in Stephen
King's Skeleton Crew (I think). I tried to make the monkey
close-up in the third panel kinda gross and disturbing, particularly
with his eyes. Bob's solution to the whole evil toy monkey problem
seems pretty obvious to me, but evil toy monkeys still claim thousands
of lives every year. Wake up, people!
The Empty White Truth
Well, here it is. My worst cartoon ever, pretty much, barring Aqua
Relax, maybe. I'd been on a good run, so it was inevitable that
I'd crash. I remember sitting at the Journal trying to come
up with this, and I just got that sinking feeling I always get about
halfway through when I realize I'm doing something really crappy.
These days I try not to even start lame cartoons like this, but I
was younger then.
Anyway, it's fairly obvious where this all comes from, the whole experiencing-death-in-a
white-room thing. Yick. Let's move on.
Hey-hey! One week later I bounce back! This isn't a classic, but
'tis enough, 'twill serve. I quite like how the telemarketer turned
out in the third panel, the poor sap. I don't know why he drives a
Saturn -- must have been a lot of Saturn commercials on about that
time. And I think the telling detail is how it's blood and hair
on the hood. Oh yeah -- he hit that little girl good. She wasn't getting
I'm on a roll again. A couple of days previously I'd been in the
company of a pair of lovely Shumka dancing twins, so of course my
subconsicous burped this up when I went looking for a joke. I think
I dug a picture of a Shumk dancer out of the Journal. I photocopied
Ukraine, and cut Bob out and pasted him down on top. And it looked
great! Man, it's satisfying when these little ideas you have while
making the cartoon pay off.
The Dance Captain, of course, turned out to be the real spoiler on
the As The Whole World Watches contest. Admittedly,
it was a tough call, but the hair clinches it.
Dopel Gang Er
Guess what I dressed up as the Halloween this cartoon was drawn.
The guy's costume is pretty much my Bob outfit, and of course I couldn't
spend hours making and wearing the thing without putting it into a
cartoon. I like the rooty-leafy things sticking out of his pants --
they've got some nice 3D-ness to them.
As it turned out, this cartoon ended up expressing a larger idea
that hadn't even occurred to me when I did it. This is, of course,
my comment on would-be off-rippers. Anybody can dress up in a flower
costume and pretend to be angry, but not everybody has the subtlety
to know when not to be angry. The trick is to confound expectations,
not meet them.
It's odd the way you can get a cartoon idea from anything. In this
case, I was waiting in line to make some purchase at Canadian Tire,
and there were some packs of "Laurentian" pencil crayons by the till,
boldly advertising their special lead. The absurdity of the whole
thing struck me, and voila. Plus, here we see Bob's close interest
in science, and in seeing how things work, and trying to find ways
to exploit that.
On to Annotations, Page 5!
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