Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Satisfactory Comics #4 (Jun. 2003)

In some ways, #4 might be my favorite issue of Satisfactory Comics, at least for sentimental reasons. We had a lot of fun writing it, and I think it's the first issue where we really felt happy with our cartooning and storytelling. It's even more kid-friendly than our first three issues, and at the MoCCA festival I often suggest it as a purchase for parents who have brought their children to the show. (There's precious little at most small-press comics shows that's suitable for young kids, and I think comics-loving parents are often grateful for a suggestion.)

The story follows a boy named Sam, who runs away from home because his parents don't share his love of strong odors. He meets up with a tophat-wearing skunk and a bescarfed opossum ... ah, yes: here they all are:

Together, they run into a few different troubles, but the main threat is a group of horned ogres who have a machine that turns people into more ogres. This army of monsters seems ready to swarm over the whole world, so the Parliament of Owls instructs the trio to stop them by destroying the machine.

The skunk has a real way with words, and as a character he was extremely fun to write. If you click on this image to see the page a little larger, you'll see a tongue-twister that we wrote especially for the occasion, as Sam and his friends get caught in a thicket of thistles:

The real high point of this issue, I think, is the center splash / spread, in which our three heroes meander through a large swampscape. I'm not sure whether you'll be able to make them out in this image (you can click on it to make it bigger), but there are lots of fun details here, including cameos by Man-Thing, Swamp Thing, and the Thing, numerous fun swamp critters, and even one of the cannibal mermaids.

Those two pages took a long time to draw, as you might expect, and a long time to ink. They were the last two pages we inked, in fact, and after Mike finished pencilling his last page, we turned the swampscape sideways so we could both ink on it at the same time. (We were working on a card table that was elevated on a few platforms made of dictionaries and phonebooks, in the living room of my funky, dusty old apartment.) Once the un-inked area was down to a certain size, we brought a piano bench into the room so we could sit side by side and ink in the same area simultaneously. Now that's collaboration!

In fact, the swampscape has one of our favorite "inside" jokes in it: a moment where Walt and Skonk greet five frogs on a log:

The first person who correctly identifies each of those five frogs in the comments section will get a free Satisfactory Comic of his or her choosing! They're all comics frogs (swiped from other cartoonists and not some other medium), but that's the only hint you'll get. Plus: the first person who explains why the frogs' speech balloons (and Walt's) also count as an inside joke (or reference) will ALSO get a free Satisfactory Comic of his or her choosing. It's a contest!

Here's another post about a couple of the other fun features of Satisfactory Comics #4.

This issue, like the other early issues, costs $1.75 postpaid via Paypal, $1.50 by check, or $1.00 in person. Unlike the first three issues, however, it's twenty pages long! Here's the button:

Contributors to this issue were asked to give us a noun or a noun phrase that they would enjoy seeing in a fable or an adventure story. We worked all twenty nouns (which ranged from "possum" and "grandfather clock" to "a selfish and tired life") into the story, as dutifully as we could. The friends who gave us these nouns were Jesse Reklaw, Jeff Seymour, Josephine Yun, Forrester Hammer, Jacob Edwards, Rabbi Jim Ponet, Grace Meng, Lisa and Steve Bagley, Erica Merchant and Jon Lewis, Steve Newman, Tom O'Donnell, Susan Cates, Rich Berman, Dave Gortler, Avery Foster, Chris Cessac, Catherine Rockwood, Liza Graham, and the Honorable Danny Boggs.


BookTypos said...

I immediately recognized the middle frog from Maus. The first one looks Pogo-ish. That last one is from Jim Woodring. I'll keep working on 2 and 4...

Mike said...

BookTypos, that's three out of five! Isaac said in the post that there would be no further hints, but I may bend...

Isaac said...

Okay, a hint: they're both from American comics of the second half of the twentieth century. One of the cartoonists is best known for this property; the other is better known for other work. Both of them have been mentioned elsewhere on our blog three or four times at least.

Isaac said...

I am very pleased to be able to offer another hint.