One year! Quite a milestone. In some ways it flew by, in other ways it feels like we’ve been doing this much longer. Let’s start this retrospective by looking back at how things all began.
Funny enough, I’M FAMOUS! started in the exact same spot as Day Camp, in almost the exact same way. It was late January of 2010 and Alex and I were at the park shooting hoops at the end of a work day, talking about various things including our comics. About four months prior we had started Day Camp after having a conversation there, and we were discussing how we felt about Day Camp and Black Snow, and what we liked about doing a strip versus a comic book. This led to a brief discussion of the possibility of a new Black Snow comic strip, then the topic veered toward how much we loved the Lone Wolf.
I believe I suggested a comic strip starring the Lone Wolf, and we both thought it was brilliant. Then the question of what would it really be about? One sentence I threw out struck us both as the most hilarious idea possible, “The Lone Wolf wants to make a movie.” Well, we both committed fully to the project right there, and even the title came out in that talk. I believe I suggested “The Lone Wolf: I’m Famous!” and Alex had the good wisdom to say just shorten it to what became I’M FAMOUS!
I was so excited I started working on a logo that night and Alex started writing the next day. On February 2nd this first Famous was born.
Obviously the art has changed a bit, but the humor is still there. At the time I thought this looked amazing, now most of the early ones make me cringe when I see my drawing. The character designs had not fully developed yet, and I was still quite new to drawing with color, and had some weird ideas. I wasn’t ready to go full color yet, and focused on this strange flux of floating auras around characters, and only partial coloring of spaces. Now a days I’ve fully embraced color (except I still like to leave extraneous background characters black and white) and the color is often what I get complemented on.
One challenge I faced right away was, although the Lone Wolf is a favorite character, he is hard to draw. I think I’ve got him dialed in now, after some 80 pages in which he appears more often then not. He is just really weird and fairly detailed. One of my issues was working on how to draw a muscular man in basically a skin tight black costume, and I’ve spent some time now trying to master the anatomy. The other larger problem, which has always been a struggle, was his weird hair. I sometimes really wonder why I ever drew it that way to begin with. I’ve tried many things over time to tame his insane, unreal hairstyle, and I think I finally got it. You may also notice I changed his mask a bit and altered the shape of his nose and chin.
I could go on at length about the things I’ve learned and tried while working on this strip, but I’ll shorten it to this; I’M FAMOUS! is the very likely the most regularly I’ve drawn anything over an extended period of time. Day Camp came and went quickly, Black Snow has always come in intense spurts followed by long pauses, but I’M FAMOUS! has allowed me to delivery new drawings every week, sometimes drawing every day. This type of regularity is invaluable when it comes to honing the craft. They say practice makes perfect, and this seems to be mostly true, except perfection is improvement and practice is just consistently doing it.
Writing-wise, I think I”M FAMOUS! has been our best. I dare you to read it and not laugh! It’s just funny. It’s allowed us to focus fully on comedy, and I really feel like we’ve delivered. Alex has been strong, and more consistently writing. Though his inconsistency has allowed me to try my hand as a more active writer, and that has been very rewarding as well.
The story thus far has actually already been quite involved, following the initial movie pitch by Daniel to the Lone Wolf, to the creation of the entourage, the journey to LA and the initial meeting with the movie studio. Oh, and don’t forget the mysterious apocalyptic predictions from the ghost of Rasputin. A lot more story than you’ll find in most comic strips. We’ve re-imagined old characters and met some fun new ones. In short, a lot happened in a year.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that I’M FAMOUS! quickly became the favorite of our three comics almost universally among fans in this past year. It blew past Day Camp (part of the reason we haven’t worked on it) and eclipsed our flagship title Black Snow. People seem to love the concept of a super hero who wants to make a movie, and beyond that they seem to genuinely enjoy the characters.
So stick around for a month long celebration that will include several fun surprises that should make any fan happy.