minicomics live: the script, sort of

The first draft, such as it is, of the script.  I used 8 of the 10 random words in the seed, or 8 of 12 if you count all the possiblities.  Either way, that’s pretty good.  I think I am going to pencil the cover now before I finish the script– let’s let it stew a little bit.

(Lots of colons in a title is a good thing.  Thrilling adventures always have lots of colons.)

Mr. Rock: Mission: Equinox

a Minicomics Live Minicomic by Pam Bliss ©2020

Random word list:  Equinox, Refuse, Clock or Cloakroom, Grace, Wild Rice, Rear Admiral, Spindle, The Iliad (changed to the Odyssey just because), Diorama or Dinosaur, Review.

Cast: Mr. Rock, Rear Admiral Grace, a centipede, various objects and toys

p1 (right): cover: Space Opera style movie poster featuring Mr. Rock’s Shoebox Spacecraft,  the Pluto Star.

page turn

p2 (left) : (splash: Mr. Rock is in the Shoebox with a large book, a digital kitchen timer, and a plastic Stegosaurus wearing a cardboard Star Navy insignia on a ribbon around her neck.)

Mr. Rock (narrating): Tonight’s mission is simple: to confirm the Autumnal Equinox using the Celestial Chronometer provided.  However, it is complicated somewhat by the presence on board of Rear Admiral Grace, who is conducting my annual performance review.

p3 (right)

page turn

p.4, top of p.5

Various mission events:  Reading the Odyssey, the Admiral eats her dinner, the sighting of a Jovian Bleach Bottle,  a visit from a giant alien worm.

bottom of p5- crisis begins.

page turn

p6 (left) resolution of crisis, the Equinox is proven.

p7 (right)  return to the peaceful scene inside the shoebox.  (callback to p2?)

Mr. Rock (narrating): The rest of the mission was uneventful.  I learned to spell Odysseus. Unfortunately, I remain unsure of the outcome of my review.

page turn

p8 (left): back cover: two shot of Mr. Rock and Rear Admiral Grace

Mr. Rock (narrating): The Admiral, as always, is enigmatic.


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minicomics live: the random words seed

As mentioned before, I am going to base my script for this minicomic on a list of words chosen at random from an actual paper dictionary in book form.  (I thought I was going to use my own late 70’s Webster’s, but it turned out to be shelved in,  so  I used  my husband’s  Random House College Dictionary of the same era.  The ten picks:

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minicomics live! preliminary hint

Minicomics live is a go!  Since this has been a busy morning domestically, there’s been a lot more work than posting done.  So while I do some scanning and photographing, here’s a hint to get you started.  This is the only reference image I am going to be using to make this comic.  (From last year’s Inktober series)

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minicomics live at space online! this weekend!

It’s been a long time since the last Minicomics Live, but I’ve been inspired to try it again as part of SPACE On-Line this weekend.  Yes, the Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo, one of our very favorite cons, has moved online in these difficult times.  There’s a market, a full slate of programming, and lots of fun side activities.  Click on the link above to find the whole shebang.

Among those fun activities will be me, making an 8 page minicomic live on the internet.  Updates will be posted here, of course, as well is on the official Pam Bliss Facebook page and the SPACE Facebook group.

For the uninitiated, Minicomics Live is a chance for you to watch me make minicomic from scratch, from script to finished pages, over a limited time.  Since this is a two day show, I am limiting myself to an eight page, single sheet mini.  And since this is SPACE, I am giving myself a space theme.  I will be choosing the seed of my script by the “pointing at random words in a late 70’s era Webster’s New World Dictionary I won as a prize in high school” method, sometime on Saturday morning.  And then the fun will begin.

I am not promising any Giant Alien Worms, but at this point anything is possible.

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mr. rock and the giant bug, etc.

Not everybody knew at the beginning that Mr. Rock really is a plastic action figure, about a foot tall, the size of a Barbie doll or an original GI Joe.  It was part of his original concept in my head, but I guess it never cropped up until I started putting him in drawings with either objects or other members of the cast.  Or, in this case, someone who is sort of somewhere in between.

Everybody knows the giant toy bugs you find as kid-bait in natural history museum gift shops.  The better quality ones are identifiable as actual species, but the more generic ones, with their ambiguous anatomy and bright paint jobs not found in nature, are often more fun to have around.

The one in this color sketchbook drawing belongs to one of the Kids– almost certainly  Moose, Murphy, or Nina, all of whom keep private collections of assorted toys who act out the most amazing dramas late at night or on rainy afternoons. No one could resist adding a giant plastic bug with a purple head, green eyes and a red and orange striped thorax to such a company.  Is Mr. Rock another member of the cast, or a “real person” just playing along?

Do these questions even make sense?  Is Kekionga itself just a grown-up version of my own shoe-box dollhouses full of tangle-haired trolls, flocked ponies, rubber spiders, and pom-poms with googly eyes?

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a truly epic doodle

Doodles are usually pretty small in scale, but last night I put one of the most epic settings of all into doodle form. 

The sandworm of Arrakis is one of my favorite characters in literature.  He’s a McGuffin strong enough to power a galactic empire, he’s a god, he’s public transportation.  This particular example is somewhat bemused by his very high concept.  His facial expression is a call back to the masterful stick figure comics of Matt Feazell.

One of the challenges of sharing doodles with a wide audience is deciding how much, if any, to fix up the problems before you share.  I’m normally a purist– what you see is what’s on the original page when it comes to doodles and the simpler sketchbook drawings.  Over correcting can spoil the freshness.  But I couldn’t resist making three simple changes to this one, since I was adding a token signature anyway.

Here’s the original scan.  Can you find the three corrections?

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still here, and i have doodles

It made me rather sad this morning to check back in here and see how long it has been since my last post.  All I can say about it is the last half of the first part of this crisis was much harder for me than the first half, and I still feel lost and unmoored.  But the blog goes on, even after the longest hiatus in its checkered history, and this is not a time to give up on anything for good.

So I have been working on this doodle project for our webcomic, The Extras.  (You did know I have been making a comic called The Extras with Jeff Lilly and Katie Hodges for about a year now, right?  It’s a classic school story with an offbeat setting and it’s really fun if I say so myself.  You can read it at   One of the characters likes to draw and I ghost her drawings, and this week’s installment is a page of her doodles with a little setting I wrote for them.  Click above to read!

But along with her doodles I ended up doing some of my own.  So here are three doodles that should remind you of some corgis you might know.

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the mister rock files again

The crisis productivity level has risen slightly.  (I created the bare bones of a workable magic system last week!  And wrote a minicomic about the entire history of the world!)

But what actually gets done is Mr. Rock cartoons.  Like this one.  For some reason, I am really enjoying the weird experience of flood fill coloring a scribbly sketchbook drawing inked with a fine nibbed pen. 

There is actually a story written where Mr. Rock sits in a fruit basket just like this.  (Presumably that basket will be better drawn than this one.)   One of the goals of these little color sketches is to develop a color palette for the Mr. Rock series to coordinate with the fixed colors already established.  I like the red and the purple, but am not sure about the orange.  For some reason I can never have an extensive palette that does not include this particular web safe tan.

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the mister rock files, too

Sorry to be so absent.  This shelter in place time is really taking it out of me.  Oddly, now that we approach the traditional 40 days (the source of the word “quarantine”, after all) I find myself  feeling a little more stable and more like showing my work.  Mostly, I’ve been drawing and coloring Mr. Rock cartoons, and writing some stories about him.  The stories will have to wait until they are finished, but here are two of the cartoons.

In the first, we learn that Mr. Rock comes from Pluto.  Plutonians, being a cheap knockoff of Vulcans, share that people’s cultural obsession with managing their emotional landscapes and appearing cool and logical.  They just aren’t very good at it.  At all.  The  traditional garb of Pluto apparently features the “ringer” T shirt.

In the second, Mr. Rock makes his first appearance with a member of the regular cast.  A regular reader, on seeing this drawing was surprised to see how small Mr. Rock actually is.  I guess I never made it obvious before, but Mr. Rock is basically an action figure come to life– he is about a foot tall.  It was interesting to discover that Josef’s color scheme and Mr. Rock’s have a lot of overlap. 

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the mister rock files

What am I doing in these troubled times?  Loafing around on social media, glomming on to a random image that calls to be in a strange way, and spending way too much time turning the central figure into a character for the Kekionga universe.

Meet Mr. Rock, doll sized space adventurer /malcontent.  He is a foot tall bundle of plastic and attitude, dressed in a brightly colored but ill fitting uniform.  I think he finds the real world something of a disappointment.  And if he doesn’t like the “bicorder”, I’m sure he’ll have a lot to say about the pink Jeep.  But he also has all the knowledge of that copyrighted prototype whose name we can’t mention, so he may turn out to be a handy guy to have around.

I’m not sure why he’s green, except that I thought him up that way.  And really, if his species has green blood, why shouldn’t they be green?

PS– I love coloring scribbly sketchbook drawings that were not designed to be colored.

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