Hard Underbelly  

The official news spot for Hard Underbelly.


Mood: Okay
Music: Everything Hits At Once; by Spoon

So in an effort to get a little promotion for Hard Underbelly going, I've been trolling around the Keenspace forums, liberally sprinkling posts in various threads.

One thread was a just a general thread where people could post there comic name, URL, what's currently happening in the plot, and where the plot is going. It was a farily good idea, and free advertising, so I posted in it.

What was really depressing was reading what other people's plots were about. The number of original stories was pathetically small. Hard Underbelly may not be the most original thing in the world, but it's fucking Shakespeare compared to most of the crap on Keenspace. I can't tell you how many comics there were using this formula: "My comic starts where Final Fantasy 8/Diablo 2/My Little Pony/GI Joe/The Care Bears/The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy left off." For Chirssake's! It's called originality. I mean, my plot may be about vampires, but I didn't just blatantly lift the plot out of Buffy or Dracula. Nor did I talk about it like I was proud! This people are actually advertising their comics as a continuation of something, like they are doing us a service. And if it's not directly based off of something, it's usually just some crappy furries in a dark ages setting. Why? Who the fuck knows. These people are not normal.

And shall we touch upon the artwork? Yes, we shall.

Now I know I'm not the most talented artist out there. I've often said that I feel good about my artwork untill I look at anyone else's stuff. Well, Keenspace is like the antidote to that. Most of the people there have trouble with drawing a recognizable biped. And not only is it unrecognizable, but they have no idea what materials and tools they should be using to draw. And then when they scan and colorize? Well, don't get me started. Their dpi is usually way off, leaving everything looking strangely blurry. And there's a bizarre obsession with coloring fantasy comics using primarily spearmint green and neon purple. Fugly. And the text? Well, if it's not hand lettered by a four year old, then it's done using a million and one different fonts, ranging from Arial to American Typewriter to Zapf Dingbats, with no rhyme or reason to explain the sudden shifts. And if not that, then it's Comic Sans MS, the ugliest psuedo-comic font ever conceived of by man. There are plenty of free alternatives out there that are much nicer. I personally like to use Digital Strip for my comics; and Anime Ace, though it is a bit long, is pretty popular.

And as for the writing? Well, characters are rarely intorduced in any fashion that makes them seem real or interesting. The plot tends to begin, or already by halfway through, without any explanation. It's a classic young writer's problem. They start a story and fail to realize that although it makes perfect sense to them, others won't understand it. (I know that Hard Underbelly's plot is not entirely explained, but that's intentional, so it's okay) And the dialogue has a flow about as smooth and even as a constipated gopher.

So what has motivated me to rag on my "fellow keenspace cadets"? They suck. That's why. But there are a few gems there. I've become pretty fond of Mnemesis and Squaresville. So remember, even though Keenspace is largely populated by half-crazed, barely literate, artistically challenged, creatively impaired ego-freaks, there are four or five good comics in there somewhere.

Ending Music: Careful Where You Stand; by Coldplay

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  posted by Tristan @ 11:13 AM

Friday, June 13, 2003  


Mood: Awake
Music: Lie Still, Little Bottle; by They Might Be Giants

There is a new comic. Don't worry, it does not represent any kind of ongoing trend for using gratuitous violence for cheap humor.

If only you all could have heard the parade of crazy that went on under my apartment this morning. Our apartment complex quiet hours are from 10-9. So at precisely nine this morning, one of the crazy white trash kids that lives below me goes into her moms room, turns on a particular Queen song on the stereo, and proceeds to belt out "We will we will ROCK YOU!" And when I say 'belt out', I don't mean she was singing loudly with a lot of emotion, I mean she was screaming at the top of her lungs in a voice that would make American Idol rejects cringe. Her mom, being a sensible parent, proceeded to shout, "GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!" The kid, ignoring the obvious hint, continued to shout along terribly with the song. I cannot understand these people. One, shouldn't the kid have some kind of inbuilt system that tells them you're mother is using the swear-word to end all swear-words on you, time to get the hell out of this room? And furthermore, shouldn't the mom have some kind of in-built system telling her What is wrong with you? You're starting your day off by swearing at your daughter in a voice loud enough to make Jesus cry.

In more crazy neighbor news, The lady who lives below us showed up at the door yesterday and asked Jason to please stop making thumping on the ceiling, as the sounds we were hearing were not coming from her apartment, but a different one altogether. So after she was gone, Jason shouts down the hallway, "Knock it off" at me, 'cause he wasn't making any sound, and assumed it was me. "Knock what off?" I shouted back. "Thumping on the floor," he replied. "I'm not doing that," I said. So not only is the lady below us making horrible amounts of noise on her own, she can't even tell where returning thumps are coming from. She's hearing things. That's just what we need, a noise-complaint happy neighbor who can't tell where noises are coming from. Yippee.

Anyway, Monday's comic will be a bit late. Like, late Monday, early Tuesday kinda late.

Ending Music: Pyramid Song; by Radiohead

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  posted by Tristan @ 9:46 AM


Mood: Decent
Music: Sex And Candy; by Marcy Playground

Okay, there's a new comic and whatnot. As you can see, I am still using wee amounts of color. Of course, I'm not going to tell you how the symbol fits into the plot of Hard Underbelly, but I will tell you what it means. That symbol is an Egyptian pictograph for the letter Z, circa the 3000's BC. It's Greek meaning is: Something that cannot be fought against, i.e., something against which victory is impossible. So that symbol is clearly bad news. But where's it from? Who put it there? Why is Saul so clearly perturbed by it's appearance? Well, these questions aren't going to be answered for a long while. I mean a really long while. We're talking like, halfway through the run of this story, maybe later.

So I just got back from taking my Anthropology final. I think I did pretty good. Besides, the teacher has always been a fairly gracious grader, so I'm not too worried.

I was walking home after the final, when I found a construction crew jackhammering up the parking lot right outside my window. I don't have any clue as to why the fuck they would need to do this, especcially since it's a dead-end part of the parking lot that nobody uses or is ever going to use, so the sudden decision to break up the concrete in a loud and irritating way is kind of perplexing. But this is really par for the course. Since moving in here, this is the third major construction project to start. They also seem to be uncharacteristically efficient and loud constructruction workers, as they are always here nice and early in the morning, ready to wake us all up way before it is necessary. We can't they be lazy, like the teamsters?

Ending Music: Burn Alive; by the Drugs

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  posted by Tristan @ 10:30 AM

Wednesday, June 11, 2003  


Mood: Even Stevens
Music: A Day In The Life; by the Beatles

There is a new comic up. I am continuing my habit of using spare amounts of color to achieve a desired effect. That effect is not entirely clear at this point, but Wednesday's comic will use even less color to achieve an even greater effect. I'm rambling. And babbling.

I saw Identity on Saturday. I went with Melissa. I enjoyed the movie. Melissa, on the other hand, spent the majority of the film hiding her eyes and crushing the bones in my hand into smaller, more painful bones. I later learned that she went to see it again on Sunday. My only response was, "For the love of god, why?" Apparently she wanted to keep her dad company. I guess I can understand this masochistic urge to expose oneself to things one is not necessarily fond of so you can hang out with someone. It's probably the same reason that I've started riding rollercoasters again. The upside to this was that I learned that I actually like some rollercoasters. Melissa's upside was that she actually thinks it's a good movie, she just can't watch it.

Anyway, I thought the movie was fairly clever. I thought the twists were fairly well done. I'm not completely pleased with the ending though. I won't give it away, but still, I wasn't really pleased.

I'm sure I have more to talk about, but it has escaped me.

Ending Music: God's Comic; by Elvis Costello

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  posted by Tristan @ 10:40 AM

Monday, June 09, 2003  

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