Sunday, June 27, 2010

COMIC - File #97: "P.I. Joe," Part 6

Brace yourself for the super-sized conclusion of the P.I. Joe story!

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Q & Ages 25 & Up #18: June 2010

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I'm ready to answer you! Well, not YOU exactly, unless if you're one of the curious readers who submitted their questions for this month's Q&A. Read on!

Question #1 - Monkeywrench asks:
Have you ever considered making Signatures for your readers? You have made some great sigs before, promoting your comics. I think it would be a great idea to share these or make special sigs for your readers to represent your work. I would definitely rock a Cap or BF sig. What do you think?

1337W422102 answers:
I like the sound of that! I had made some sigs a LOOOONG time ago, about the time I first started the comic's blog, but I didn't plug them because I didn't want to sound like a dick trying to push his crudely-Photoshopped comic, know what I mean?

I have made a few, which you can see here and I've a buddy of mine rocks the modified Freddie Mercury one on another message board.

If ANYONE wants a sig, let me know what you'd like. Better yet, if you have a specific photo in mind and could tell me which comic it was from, that'd speed up the process! In the meantime, you can browse the sigs I've made already and see if there are any that could me modified to suit you.

Question #2 - Monkeywrench asks:
The SDCC Sgt. Slaughter has gotten a lot of interest from collectors. What’s the chances that he might show up in Ages 25 and Up?

1337W422102 answers:
Zero. I'd have to use my oldschool Sarge figure if he were to show up.

Question #3 - Monkeywrench asks:
Marvel has been represented well in your Universe. What’re the chances of Dr. Doom showing up? His figure is pretty badass and would be a great addition to your comics.

1337W422102 answers:
Thanks! His figure looks great, but I don't have it. At least not yet. If I get him, I'd try to fit him in and yell "RICHAAAAAAARDS!!" at someone. Which Joe's filename is Richard, again?

Question #4 - Monkeywrench asks:
If you could go to any toy company and have them make 1 figure where you have complete control over, who would you make and why? What accessories would they have, what features and most importantly: How would you use them in your comics?

1337W422102 answers:
No offence, guys, but if I could do this, it would be PURELY for me and not for the comic. I'd get a highly-detailed, insanely poseable 12" figure of... Geez, I don't know. Too many to choose from! Rick Deckard from Blade Runner, Marvel Comics' Freelance Peacekeeping Agent Death's Head, a metallic and shiny Samus Aran...

Deckard would have detailed trenchcoat, his service blaster, opening suitcase VK machine, and an origami unicorn. Death's Head would have his wrist-mounted attachments (axe, morning star, spear, etc.), his Shott Blaster, some handheld weapons, and his pet raven. He'd have to have a light-up eyes feature, too. Samus would just be extremely poseable and have lights everywhere. A removable helmet/unmasked head would be cool. Maybe some Missile attachments, a Grappling Beam, and the Metroid Hatchling in its container from Super Metroid. Her stand could look like the base of a Save station, only it would have an arm to support her for aerial poses and whatnot.

Question #5 - Sparhawk asks:
How will PoC, Resolute, and Renegades affect your strip?

1337W422102 answers:
Not sure yet. I won't be hyping anything like I did for Resolute (talk about getting Rickrolled...), but I might drop a reference here and there. Some of the figures might show up in the comic, but that's pretty much it.

Question #6 - Sparhawk asks:
Have you given any thought on making political hotbed statements, via your toys? Such as the BP oil spill, major sports games, and/or quotes of the day? We wanna know what you think.

1337W422102 answers:
I'd really rather not. I'd rather have people be able to just enjoy the comic for what it is rather than be subjected to my own opinions. But, here's something I made for another board about how I feel about a current major sporting event:

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That's right, folks. You're getting two comics this week. Hope you enjoy 'em.

Question #7 - Sparhawk:
Just how do you take your coffee?

1337W422102 answers:
Hot. Very hot. Like, so hot you have to modify it to get it that hot.

Question #8 - Ctrl Z asks:
The P.I. Joe story is getting a lot of good feedback. How many more of these can we look forward to? And do you think you’ll ever be able to top it?

1337W422102 answers:
Thanks, guys! I'm real pleased that you're enjoying the story. I've wanted to do this for a long time and would have sooner, but I felt I should leave it for the summer so I could give it the time I felt I would need to make it good.

P.I. Joe's film noir story will end with Part 6. I don't know what else will feel quite like it. Well, other than that short story I posted a while back. I'm not sure if I'll be able to top it, but what I'm cooking up for #100 might come close. Well, maybe.

Big round of applause to everyone who helped out with this month's Q&A!

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010

New Newsletter Now Online

Sorry, I really fell behind with my JoeCanuck updates... Newsletter #30 is now available, with information about some special guests who will be at the next CanJoeCon, photos and a review of that new trapezoid vehicle they're passing off as a HISS tank, and an interview with Shipwreck's voice actor.

Check it out by clicking here!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

COMIC - File #95: "P.I. Joe," Part 4

P.I. Joe reaches Snakey's Nightclub in rainy Springfield, USA. What will his investigation turn up?
Also, if you haven't had a chance to check it out, I've written a short prose story in the film noir style I've been using for the P.I. Joe arc. You can check out the story, entitled "Tears of Blood," by clicking here. Let me know what you think!

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Saturday, June 5, 2010

"Tears of Blood," a Film Noir Short Story

I mentioned in the last comic's post that I had something special for those of you who dug the film noir writing style I've been using for the P.I. Joe story. Well, here it is, but first, a bit of background.

My favourite toy-related board recently held a writing contest in which participants had to write a short story about what happens when one cancels a preorder at Otacute, a collector-oriented website that sells various Japanese toys, figures, and models but is jokingly rumoured to have ties to the Yakuza. Their motto is "From The Source," meaning their stuff is really from Japan (omg)! They are known for their shady shipping methods (such as beer boxes), their "pay-us-or-else" messages, and, of course, their ringleader, the notorious Boss Yuhei. I decided to try my luck, and though I didn't win, I still had fun!

Here's my story, which I've titled "Tears of Blood." The short story has numerous intentional pop culture references (such the title, but that one's too obscure for more Freebirths to catch), a gritty film noir atmosphere, plenty of macabre metaphor, and an important message -- that the baka gaijin should never cross Boss Yuhei!

I've recycled some lines/ideas from the P.I. Joe arc into this story, so please bear with me. For your consideration, "Tears of Blood." Enjoy:

It struck me with the subtlety of a sledgehammer to the face. I dropped the paint can and watched it fall in slow motion and crack open on the floor. I stood completely motionless, like a statue of a long-forgotten sage, while the fresh blue paint mixed with the stale dark red. From the open window, I could hear the unmistakable wail of police sirens.

To make any kind of sense of it, I needed to go back. Back to the night the pain started.


I walked down the darkened corridor, each footstep sending chills racing up my spine like the goddamn Indy 500. I’d lied to myself that I would put a carpet over the tiles. The standby LEDs were predators’ eyes watching me as I entered the living room, waiting to pounce from the shadows of the stereo cabinet. The rain had finally stopped but the dark clouds lingered like the crowd at a crime scene when the yellow tape goes up.

I unplugged the laptop I’d used to export torrented movies to the television and collapsed onto the couch. Lifting the lid sprayed the wall behind me with the whitish-blue glow of the LCD screen. I pointed my browser to Otacute, my favourite Japanese collectible webstore, and braced myself. I cringed as usual at the amount of generic schoolgirl figurines and other weeaboo crap that invaded my screen and headed to the glorious mecha section. Giant robots of all shapes and sizes filled the page, beckoning me to paint and assemble them. I always gave in. With Otacute’s low prices, I’d have been a fool to resist. Some joked that Otacute had ties to the Japanese underworld and was run by a Yakuza leader called “Boss Yuhei.” Angry basement-dwellers spinning tall tales to explain low shipping costs.

“What’re you doing?” She shot me with her voice. Caught in the act like a petty criminal, I glanced at the hallway and saw her standing there. I saw both of them. “Come on, you’ll feel her kicking,” she told me, her hand gliding over the rounded gift in her stomach.

Things were going to be different. Between the new house and getting ready for the baby, cash was tighter than a twelve-year-old. But there I was, sitting in the dark, buying plastic robots off the internet. To my right, an army of walking tanks stood motionless in glass cabinets, staring forward at nothing in particular. I’d waited a long time to get some of them, placing pre-orders months in advance.

She rubbed her stomach. I was waiting on something far more important than mecha models. Michelle and the baby came first. The clouds parted, drowning the room in pale moonlight. She looked like an angel in the hallway. Tomorrow we would finish the nursery. A smile split my lips. Things were going to be different.

I cancelled my Otacute pre-orders.


The paint on my hands had hardly washed off, like caked-on blood that finds its way into every crevice of your dead dry skin.

Painting the nursery was taking longer than we expected. I was getting ready to make another trip the store for a can of cornflower blue paint, washing my hands out in the sink. The rushing water swirled and vanished down the drain, taking with it whatever was left of the kid inside me. I had a ring on my finger. I was going to be a father. I had given up my toys to pay for the things the baby needed. Things were going to be different.

The ringing in my ears pulled me out of my reverie. The doorbell. Someone was at the door. I was still drying my hands when I unlocked the front door. I nearly got the wind knocked out of me.

Standing before me was a gorgeous Japanese girl whose form-fitting black uniform was matched only by her long flowing hair. Stitched dangerously close to her left breast was the name of a website I had come to know: “OTACUTE.”

I’d cancelled my order but they still sent me imported Japanese goods.

“I’m here regarding your order, sir.” She spoke perfect English. Her eyes were dark swirling bottomless maelstroms, and I was being pulled in. An arm reached out and dragged me to dry land. Michelle was standing behind me.

“Can I help you?” she asked the dame from Otacute.

“Our records show that your order has been... cancelled, sir?” There was genuine concern in the Oriental visitor’s dark eyes. Sadness, almost. “It—it wasn’t because of us, was it?”

Her innocence was too much for me to take. Unspeakable thoughts rushed through my head like a particle accelerator until my wife invited her in and told me to make some coffee. The skirt from Otacute said she liked her coffee black. I wasn’t surprised. They went into the living room and idly chatted while I brought in three steaming mugs.

“It’s a nice collection,” the dame said, looking into my glass cabinets. “It’s a shame you won’t be able to finish it.” She was right. I had spent years and way too much money assembling the utopia of giant robots. Western, Japanese, piloted, sentient: it didn’t matter to me. Funny as hell, I was more in touch with the plastic models of fictional machines than I was with people. But I’d made up my mind. Things were going to be different. The cash was to be invested in my daughter rather than blown on plastic.

We sat down and talked business. She pulled out her Otacute-branded clipboard and wrote things down with a fancy metal pen with a tiny figurine of some kind of pink cartoon character dangling from it. My order was cancelled, and that’s all there was to it.

“I understand, sir,” she said solemnly. “Thank you for choosing Otacute. My Boss will be disappointed to have lost such a valuable customer.”

She thanked us for the drink and hospitality and bowed in the doorway. She took a long look at Michelle’s stomach and added, “Congratulations.” We said nothing as she walked to her car. She had what looked like a golf umbrella in the back seat with the most ornate handle I’d ever seen.

The afternoon fog was moving in. Soon, the rain would come.


The foglights had the usefulness of a white highlighter. The fog enveloped the car as I drove through the winding streets. I could’ve walked to the hardware store, but I didn’t want to get caught in the rain.

The can of cornflower blue paint bounced slightly in the passenger seat as I pulled into the driveway, its content eager to throw itself onto the walls and bring a smile to the baby’s face.

Drops began striking the pavement as I started up the walk. I froze in place, keys in hand like a clueless janitor. The front door was wide open, but I’d locked it behind me on my way out. I cautiously walked in, nervously looking around. I didn’t know what I would do if I saw anyone. Maybe hit them with a can of paint or key up their glasses. The house was deadly silent. Someone had hit the mute button and turned the contrast to 11.

I crept into the living room to find my mecha cabinets defaced. Someone had shattered the glass and crushed the models. It looked like it had been done with the paint rollers my wife and I had used in the nursery that day. But Michelle would never do that. She knew what a sacrifice I had made, giving up my hobby for our family. She’d made sacrifices of her own, too. To think that a visit from an online retailer confirming the cancellation of my expensive order would push her over the edge was sheer lunacy. I turned one hundred and eighty degrees and found my die-cast metal Timberwolf BattleMech. It had been thrown through the television. The work of a Mad Cat no doubt, but not Michelle. The TV had been a gift from her parents. My heart stopped like the 1930s stock market.

If she hadn’t done this, then someone else had.

I threw caution to the wind and dashed up the stairs, screaming her name. The nursery had been ransacked; the crib lay in pieces on the floor. Down the hall, our bedroom door was closed. I could feel my hair stand on end as I inched my way towards it, hand outstretched to turn the knob. The cold steel of the handle greeted my sweating palm for an instant as I gave it a quick twist and threw open the door.

The window had been broken from the inside. Rain came in through the open window, and the curtains flew in the wind. The curtains had been neatly cut in places with some kind of tool. Definitely a blade, but not scissors. They were stained red, but we’d only used blue paint.

Michelle lay motionless on the bed, with a hole through her where my daughter should have been. My grip loosened. The keys fell to the floor and I dropped the paint can. It opened on impact, mixing peaceful blue with the deep red on the carpet. The comforter was dripping with a macabre cocktail. Combine paint, rain, your dead bride’s blood, blend, and serve with your own tears.

I held what was left of my wife in my arms, running my fingers through her bloodsoaked hair. I felt a lump, some kind of foreign object that didn’t belong. I pulled it out and got a good look at it. Even coated in blood, I immediately recognized it. It had come straight From The Source. It was the pink cartoon character I’d last seen dangling from the Otacute broad’s pen.

The rain came down like angels’ tears, each drop a painful lament for what could have been. Things were going to be different. My journey into the night was just beginning.

COMIC - File #94: "P.I. Joe," Part 3

P.I. Joe's journey into the night continues! If you enjoy the film noir writing style I'm using for this arc, you might enjoy the short story I recently wrote in said style for my favourite toy board. It's called "Tears of Blood" and you can read it by clicking here.

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