Update from 30,000 Feet

Hi Redheads! As write this (typed on my phone, by the way, so please excuse any typos or grammatical horrors), I’m 30,000 ft in the air over the Pacific Ocean. Since my last post, I’ve had the crazy adventure of moving my family from Los Angeles back to Florida, starting a new job, and taking my first trip to Japan to visit the headquarters of the company I’ll be working with over the next year. So as you can imagine, there hasn’t been much time for comic work.

It will be a few weeks before chapter five starts up, but I don’t want to leave everyone with nothing to read or view, so for the next few weeks, I thought it would be fun to dig through some old drawings and take a look behind the scenes at the long history of one of the cast, Tawee.

Believe it or not, I’ve been drawing Tawee for nearly 38 years! I created him when I was 9 years old in the summer of 1975. As I was growing up, every summer I spent at least a week or two at my grandparent’s house in the small town of Greenville, Georgia, just a little over an hour southwest of Atlanta and just a stone’s throw from a town called Woodbury, which these days suffers from a problematic zombie infestation.

Greenville was a great place to spend my summers. My grandparents house was a large old home built by one of my ancestors in the late 1800s. It sat on a large piece of property covered in pecan trees, muscadine vines, and a single plum tree, all of which provided ingredients for my grandmother’s homemade breads, pies, and jams.

This magical place was one of the earliest muses of my early creativity. I would spend hours lying on the living room carpet drawing and creating with paper supplied from my grandfather’s print shop and vast quantities of tape. It was here that I drew the first picture of Tawee, but I have to admit, he wasn’t technically a sole creation, but a collaboration of sorts.

Many times I was joined on these summer vacations by my cousin, Andy, who was a couple of years older than me and much more, shall we say, energetic? Well, that’s what we called it back in the 70s, today we just medicate kids like Andy. For the most part we got along great; for the first few days we were the best of friends — by the end of our stay, not so much.

On this particular visit, Andy was exceptionally antagonistic. He told me about an invisible pet fly that he and his friends had at school who would fly around the room when the teacher wasn’t looking or something like that.

“There he is right there,” he said pointing to the ceiling.

“I see him!” I said, eager to be a part of the fun.

“Unh-uh!” He would snap (it was always “unh-uh” which has much more attitude than the simple “no”). “Only I can see him. He’s on that shelve now.”

“Oh, I see him!”

“Unh-uh! He’s on PaPa’s chair now!”

And so it would go. The long game of keep away the imaginary friend from Eddie. I’m sure Dr. Freud would be amused at the irony.

I don’t remember how long it lasted, but at some point I had had enough. I sat down on the living room floor and drew what I imagined Tawee to look like: round head, grey skin, overalls, white gloves — cause,you know, that’s what cartoon animals have. I don’t know why I thought this is what an imaginary, invisible fly looked like or why I didn’t feel it necessary to give him wings, but when I was happy with the drawing, I carefully cut it out, flipped it over and drew his backside as well. Then I placed Tawee safely in an empty cigar box and closed the lid.

The original drawing of Tawee, the imaginary, invisible fly.

The original drawing of Tawee, the imaginary, invisible fly.

“I have Tawee in this box,” I told Andy, holding the box tightly closed.

“I wanna see him!” Shouted Andy with excitement.

“Unh-uh. Only I can see him” I declared.

In time I did share him with my cousin and Tawee became the centerpiece of a fantasy world that we built on together for many years.

Next time, we’ll take a look at the evolution of Tawee the cigar box fly to Tawee the comic strip character.

 

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2,000,000 Page Views and Counting

Last night, Red’s Planet quietly passed 2,000,000 page views. There were no bells or sirens or fireworks; but there was, and is, an immense gratitude to all the Red-Heads who have stuck with the story so far! Thank you all!

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Taking the Week Off

Hey Red-Heads, a lot of work-work has piled up recently and I need to take a a few days to clear it all out of the way so I can get back to my regular 60-hour work week. And it seems this would be good time to leave Red and Tawee for a bit— they’ve  just  found this amazing valley with a high probability of food and water (with maybe even a side of green eggs and ham). I think they’ll be just fine for a week.

But, I don’t want anyone to feel completely cheated, so I leave you with a pic of this awesome Bobalux maquette! It’s sculpted by the lovely and talented Janelle Bell-Martin, former Disney Feature Animation artist and good friend.

See you guys next week!

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Page Delay

Hi Planeteers! I am sitting in the Bob Hope Airport in beautiful down town Burbank on my way to my first USO trip with the National Cartoonist Society, thanks to my buddy and NCS President, Tom Richmond. My trip is just a domestic tour, but just as important as the overseas trips some of my colleagues have made (read about some of Tom’s adventures here: http://www.tomrichmond.com/blog/tag/uso/)

I planned to post a new page this week before I left, but due to a mixup in the itinerary, the flight that I though was tomorrow night was actually tonight. So, in the scramble to get ready a day early, I didn’t get the comic posted. But fear not, I leave you with a little Bobalunx biology study below and the promise of a new page when I get back Thursday.

Sorry for the delay, but I’ll be back soon!

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Comic Con 2013

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Hey Red-Heads and Planeteers! It’s Comic Con time and I’ll be there, like many of you, taking in the sights and sounds (and smells…ug!). But this year, there will actually be a time a place that we can meet face to face (and, no, it’s not the line for Starbucks — that’s face to back)!

This year, I’ll be camping out at the National Cartoonist Society’s booth (#1307) on Saturday from 10-12 with lots of some fun Red’s Planet stuff.

I have a handful of the Red’s Planet preview left from 2009 (now a collectors item…maybe. Somewhere.) and possibly some original art for sale. And there are also some great freebies! Free sketches, Red’s Planet Collector Cards and a Red’s Planet mini-poster (actually, it’s just a postcard).

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Even if you are one of those people who don’t like free stuff, come on by any way. I would love to meet any Red’s Planet fans who aren’t my family.