Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Chubby Cheekers in "BIRTHDAY BUNNY"

Here's a little Chubby Cheekers story for your (belated) T.A.G. perusal.

I learned so much doing this--you can see the style and approach evolve as the pages go along. Jimmy, Ellis and Tom Moon provided inestimable technical support (thank you sincerely). Rick and Scott provided the quality target...Ranjo just provided annoyance.

Please let me know what bugs you and/or what you'd like changed!


MrGoodson2 said...

Masterpiece Marty.

Except for the Title Page. Get some Saul Bass inspiration for that or something. It's about the only thing just lying there in this great strip.

Very grown up and sure to find a big audience with people that appreciate good writing. I wouldn't be surprised if this doesn't inspire a film being made with just all of your alternate universe vision completely intact.

It was Abbott and Costello and Jerry and Dean and just everything we think we know about bitter aging in show business. I just listened to a podcast with Gilbert Gotfried talking to Robert Osborne. It was all anecdotes about the dead skin molting of Hollywood greats and not so greats.

Like I said , Masterpiece. Great environment work with the lively restaurant setting.

MrGoodson2 said...

I was also aware of you advancing by putting in the hard work.
It became easier to read, smarter compositions, using your digital tools. Several little things I could see getting better. Like the layering of the background charcters in the one panel with distinct, two option grays. Advanced stuff that looks simple when you start using it as the best choice.

MrGoodson2 said...

The Comic Con go to parties. Can you imagine. This many showbiz affairs at the Comic Con.

Tom Moon said...

The drawing, of course, is top notch. The level of cool detail in both the art and the story is phenomenal. Such a rich amount of nuance in the events and dialogue. But at the end where Chubby ends up in the same place as at the start, I didn't feel empathy for him.

If I compare this to the "Teen Ellis" story, a couple things jump out at me. Teen Ellis has a very simple, strong structure to it, and the main conflict is clear. Teen Ellis is a proactive character. He has a problem to solve, and though he may have fears and self-doubts, he makes a choice and acts upon it, using all his skill to put forth his best effort. He fails in the face of adult ignorance and insensitivity, but that's okay. He faced his fear and took his shot. So Teen Ellis is brave, sensitive, and truthful, and you root for him.

By contrast, Chubby is basically passive throughout the story, or at best passive aggressive. He whines and complains, but (in his own words) he "wastes so much of his life doing things he can't stand". Because he is so passive, events in the story just sort of "happen to him".

I would like to see the story not end here, because it feels like only the first act in a three act story. It's the set-up portion that describes "the problem" that needs solving. The main character may start out as passive, but at some point he has to acquire a goal and the will to pursue it.

Example: Chubby wakes up and still hates himself. He finally faces up to the fact that he has a real problem that neither sex, nor booze, nor money, nor attention from old fans can solve. He decides to take his life into his own hands and make changes by doing... what? Get back into shape and recover his youthful vigor? Divorce his wife? Start a completely new career as a gourmet chef?

I think that will make him a much more engaging character and make us empathize with his successes and failures.

JMG said...

Looks good Marty, Got to see it large. Some real nice touches

Davis Chino said...

Thanks for the comments, dudes!

Elz, y're right about the Ch.Ch. font/graphic on the first page (or do you mean all the art??). I'm bad at that sort of graphic stuff. I can't see the Saul Bass thing...? My intention was more of a Three Stooges title card meets Warner Bros. cartoon title card (the inside of the hollow carrot, as I always imagined it). I'll work on it some more--but I'm open to suggestions!

Tom, good to know you don't find Chubs sympathetic! I appreciate yr analysis...this is one of the reasons why I've been reluctant to share this--this story isn't meant to be a stand alone--and Chubby's not that sort of character to me. I can't see a "Chubby" comic book, fer instance. I don't want him to be sympathetic, per se--just funny. But alas, maybe that kills the humor for some.

For me the whole point of Chubby is that he may have some highs and lows, but he isn't going anywhere (ie., no "character development"). This story is meant to be a sort of surreal aside within a collection of Teen Ellis stories--not the main thrust. A sort of counterpoint to our (hopefully sympathetic?) hero, The T. E.

Now, I don't dispute that the ending is an artistic failure--I didn't quite bring it to the wrap-around I wanted. Maybe too much goes on between start and finish with so much distance between start and end, we lose the echo...In any case, the denouement to that last panel is flawed...but I just couldn't get it right...or spend any more time on it. Maybe what you're saying is the reason why!

Tom Moon said...

Ah, I see! Then it's unfair of me to be judging it as a stand alone. One needs to see it in context surrounded by the main body of Teen Ellis stories. Is Chubby by any chance a creation of Teen Ellis's? Or more of a back up feature?

MrGoodson2 said...

Just the Font work Marty. The art is great.
You know how you can always tell by the movie titles. that may have gotten theatrical release. but you could tell it was produced by people that do TV day in- day out. They were easy to read but completely without forethought. One size fits all.
The classic THE KILLERS with Lee Marvin has those kind of titles.

MrGoodson2 said...

MrGoodson2 said...

For The Birthday Bunny. Not the Chubby Cheekers title. The top title is fine

Rickart said...

Brilliant! I love this! It's very rare to enjoy an unpredictable story these days... I didn't know where it was going and that kept me wanting to continue to read. The idea of a middle aged Bugs Bunny is terrific, too. The fact that he's a manic depressive is even better. The illustration, of course, was top notch. It's clear that you loosened up over the course of creating this, but it works as characters get loosened up as the story unfolds. I think you got more comfortable with your gray tones as you went along as well. I could nit pick about a few spots where word balloons kinda take over some panels, but overall this is brilliant. I think it's a perfect little story that doesn't need any more elaboration.
So, dude, are we on for Rose City?

Surly Bird said...

This is gold. Marty, I can't discern which is better: Your writing or your art. They are both spot-on magnificent. The build-up, the dialogue...everything...just too fabulous. Thoroughly enjoyed this.

MrGoodson2 said...

I like looking at it large and small. THe thumbnails look very exciting.

Davis Chino said...

Ronnie and Rick, thanks for the kind comments!

Rick, it's esp'ly nice to read how you found the story unpredictable--in a good way. And in a way that made you want to read more. I was very aware of the many "old cartoon star" story lines out there (Krusty is sort of that, isn't he, even tho' he's a clown--lots of other comics with same setup), and I tried hard to make this distinct. Tho' it certainly isn't revolutionary....

Elz, I'm totally confused--you LIKE the Chubby Cheekers font/splash panel, but DISLIKE the "Birthday Bunny" font/treatment??? If so, I'm relieved to hear you like the first--but totally flummoxed that you dislike the second!!

I love Don Siegel's "The Killers". We watched this in film school at UCSD. Love the 1946 Siodmak version, too.

Just back from Comic Con with the estimable Tom Moon--I'll post on that topic in Peter's Con comments....

BDMontag said...

I'm late to the party on this one. Great work. The crowd scenes and line work are especially interesting. Have you ever seen "Mr. Saturday Night"? Sort of that vibe, though Billy Crystals character was too busy hating everyone else for self loathing. I also see a lot of Mickey Rooney, playing the has-been roles, not the young star or wise grandpa.