It Works!

Try it, you'll like it...

Page Seventy Two: It Works!

Meddling with things best left alone! Because we can! Vit, stop being such a paranoid little cuss…

Okay, back to work! So much stuff due this week I think I’m just gonna implode AUGH….

(Baaahahaha, got interrupted by a panicked client call in the middle of making this post, speak of the devil… Yep. This is my life lately. Non-stop panic.)

Overreacting

Good lord, girl, chill already...

Page Seventy One: Overreacting

Is Frank getting just a tad fed up with Vit yet? Maybe, yeah. (You can assume that a certain amount of explanation and exposition has been going on since we last saw these guys. Which I’ll spare you having to read, since we’ve already seen the Queen in action and explaining things to Vitalia is a slow and confused process.)

(And I actually completely forgot yesterday was Thursday. Whoops. It was the Fourth of July, so it felt like Saturday… I’m still having trouble reminding myself that today isn’t Sunday. Holidays will do that.) (The ongoing heat wave doesn’t help either.)

Found!

Look out below!

Page Seventy: Found!

Uh oh… Things are about to get COMPLICATED.

(Meanwhile I think Vitalia and Frank are indulging in a square dance or something…)

One More Try

What could possibly be lurking in that forest...?

One More Try

Now checking in with Mezereon and his intern, Peziza… Mezereon is the oldest of the seven Khrome brothers, and more or less in charge, being the most competent and responsible of the lot. (I can’t vouch for the competence of his current pilot, however.) Cyril and Zinnober are his younger siblings. The bat flyer is Peziza’s contraption, built from a heavily modified bat via technoccult arts. It has not yet been fully tested.

And what IS that below…? Stay tuned to find out!

(And yes, I am going to eternally regret Mezereon’s complicated hair. Why does it take so…. long… to… ink…. *sobs*)

Communication Failure

It's a wonder that thing doesn't blow up, really...

Page Sixty Eight: Communication Failure

I wonder if we should just accept Tuesdays and Fridays as the semi-official Summer update schedule… (sigh.) (Sorry, Mondays have been turning into a huge quagmire of client demands lately.)

And another view of Zinnober’s incredibly inefficient flyer with way too many rockets. Zinnober really really really REALLY likes rockets. Can you tell? If it were possible to strap any more onto that ride, he would.

WHROOM

Nothing fazes ostriches, not even rockets

Page Sixty Seven: WHROOM

WHROOOOOOOM!! Page late on account of sound effects. (As in, I forgot to draw them and had to scramble around drawing some at the last minute… And then scanning them… And then scanning them two more times because I screwed up… Yeah, guess I’m still pretty discombobulated.) (Sound effects are obviously crucial to this page.)

Meet Zinnober, brother of Cyril, son of Schwartz (and two more of his unfortunate brothers are riding in the sidecars here, not that you can see much of them.) Zinnober specializes in pyrotechnics. He really really REALLY likes rockets, and things that go “WHROOOOOM!!!” This extremely energy-inefficient rocket-powered flyer is his own design, of course.

The ostrich riders are random ostrich riders. Because, ostriches.

Sozzled Pilot

Highly Competent Minions...

Page Sixty Six: Sozzled Pilot

Did I totally forget Monday…? I TOTALLY FORGOT MONDAY. Whoops. Hey, I have a valid excuse, though! I spent the entire weekend at the Pixar Master Class! And yes, it was as awesome as it sounds. Three days of massive info-dump from the lead animators, story people and art people at Pixar, with tons of behind-the-scenes examples on a big screen… My brain is still in Pixar-land right now, so I’m kind of disoriented, probably won’t be fully back on Planet Earth until next week…

Flying in Style

Flying First Class

Page Sixty Five: Flying in Style

Meet Cerulean Khrome, AKA Cyril (and one of his brothers poking his nose into the third panel…) He really digs flying. Especially flying with style. And a fully stocked bar. This wind-powered flyer is his own design, of course. (And behold, yet another dashboard design that I will seriously regret later on… What was I thinking with all those art-nouveau swirly bits…)

Promising Terrain

Schwartz, I think you've made a detour to Thoth, check your map...

Page Sixty Four: Promising Terrain

We never said Schwartz was the most competent operative… But hey, he sounds official and that’s what counts. And no, I don’t know what that creature is. Or who it’s munching on. But I’m sure it’s perfectly friendly! Er… Right? No?

Status Report

The boss is not a patient boss...

Page Sixty Three: Status Report

Schwartz! Whom we have all probably nearly forgotten, but yeah, he’s still flying around the place… As a bonus, a close-up of the dashboard of his home-made flyer. The vials contain moonbeams and mud – moonbeams for lift and mud for gravity. Altitude and speed are more-or-less controlled by varying the proportion of mud-to-moonbeams. (And yes, I’m going to seriously regret the totally ad-hoc design of that dashboard one of these days…)

Irksome…

No news is not good news...

Page Sixty Two: Irksome…

Gleep! So late! Sorry, I’ve been in crazy deadline mode all day… But here’s a page finally! In which there is no news and Saralactra is irked. (No I have no idea what she’s building, or why it needs fish…) (And no, she’s not combing her hair with a wrench.) (Although, you know, I suppose she might do that, in a moment of abstraction…) (So maybe she is.)

Sky Spies

Snooping in Style

Page Sixty One: Sky Spies

Looks like her Majesty has an aerial audience. They are not impressed.

Queen-Sighting Confirmed!

I Spy a Sky Spy

Page Sixty: Queen-Sighting Confirmed!

People these days, they just don’t appreciate impromptu landscaping… (There are many, many people in the Queen’s domain who would really rather she stay at home, believe me…) Aaaand, guess who else is back! Yep, the Three Red B- er, Witches! 😀

And yeah, this page is later than usual, sorry about that… I kinda totally forgot it was Monday. Whoops. (Holiday Mondays always mess me up. Now I’m going to spend all of today thinking it’s Monday instead of Tuesday…)

Reckless Tourism

Now, that's what we call a challenging golf course...

Page Fifty Nine: Reckless Tourism

In which the Queen indulges in a spot of sightseeing, to the considerable confusion and dismay of her subjects… With Slope and Megra in tow. Her majesty does tend to drag people along when she drifts. Much to the annoyance of many an accidental tourist…

(Oh geez, almost up to page sixty? I really need to stop spending my lunch breaks sketching dogs and work on the buffer for this comic instead, I’m falling rapidly behind where I should be…) (There’s just way too many cute doggies in the park, though.)

A Slight Change of Scene

Confused yet?

Page Fifty Eight: A Slight Change of Scene

She’s baaaaaack! And she’s brought mountains! Now, isn’t that nice of her.

Yes. She does this. Yes. It’s a problem.

My Sainted Aunts!

Golf, I have no clue...

Page Fifty-Seven: My Sainted Aunts!

And now back to our irregularly scheduled program after our colorful pin-up break… WHAT can possibly be interrupting the sanctity of our golf game!? WHAT!? Stay tuned to find out! And yes, I know this is a very odd game of golf we have going on here… Suffice to say golf and golfing-babble is all Greek to me, so this is my general impression of the Mysteries of Golf.

Golden Queen

Because you can never have too much gold filigree

Special: Golden Queen

In Honor of Passing the Fifty Page Mark

BEHOLD. Her Majesty in Solid Gold! WHY, you may ask? Because I wanted to do a special splash page to mark the fifty page point… And what better way to do so than with a solid gold statue of the Queen! Complete with tourists. And Seagulls. (All right, this is a trifle past the actual fifty page mark, there were delays. But it’s all for the best, because now I can post this at a convenient break point between scenes.)

And yes, there will be a regular page too, fear not! Er, but on Friday instead of Thursday (obviously…) So, a little later today. After my nap.

Mystery Queen

Her Majesty invades the page...

Page Fifty-Six: Mystery Queen

THE QUEEN LOOMS. How portentous of her… Yes, she’ll wander back on the scene soon! And she really is the greatest nuisance of the realm. We shall soon see why. (Well, one reason why. There’s a lot of reasons.) Stay tuned!

And the art should start getting increasingly up-to-date from here on… Dates are fuzzy, but I think we’re nearing the end of the 2006-2007 pages. After that is a bunch of 2009-2010 pages, and then it’s all recent stuff from there! (Nothing got done in 2008. That was a crazy year for a number of reasons.)

This Old Lady…

Vitalia does go on, doesn't she...

Page Fifty Five: This Old Lady…

Lightning sketches! Is any of this significant? Could be! And yes, I totally want a bandolier of pencils like that…

Also, there’s another mouse running around on this page, see if you can spot it… (Mice, they’re everywhere.)

Introductions

May the Furze be with you!

Page Fifty Four: Introductions

(Really have got to get better at timely updates, aarrggh..) Oh look, actual introductions! Sort of… I tend to neglect those. I can easily go 100 pages or more without any of the characters learning each others’ names. They’re always too busy running around in a vortex of distracting incidents. Nicknames abound in my worlds.

(Please excuse any awkward layout issues… This is one of the pages where I’ve had to retrofit new script changes into old word balloons, never an easy task. I’ll be SO glad when we get to the later pages where the balloons are separate from the art…)

the Russian word is supposed to mean “fool/idiot” or something like that… Got it via an online dictionary, feel free to correct me if it’s dead wrong!

Secret Exit Theory

Gotta be a rabbit hole somewhere, look at all those rabbits...

Page Fifty Three: Secret Exit Theory

Gyaah, late again, sorry! Migraines struck again… But yes. We have here Vitalia’s Secret Exit Alternate World Theory, based on every fantasy classic ever… Because, there’s always a way back, amirite?? No…? Guess she’ll just have to get used to this place, then.

And yeah, Fursovich hasn’t heard of Alice in Wonderland. (Actually, there’s a lot he hasn’t heard of…)

Also, bunnies! :3

Where, Indeed

Welcome to RetroFuture! Or... someplace...

Page Fifty Two: Where, Indeed

And thus endeth the flashback! (For now…)

And I gotta go collapse now… The last few days have been kinda hectic.

A Slight Detour

This is not a regular service of the MTA...

Page Fifty One: A Slight Detour

Hold onto your hats – whoops, too late. This is simply not his day… Unintended interdimensional shortcuts AND he’s lost his hat!

(On the plus side, this is probably a faster way to travel than the subway… As long as you don’t care where you end up.)

Adventure Incoming!

Heads up...

Page Fifty: Adventure Incoming!

One of the lesser-known perils of back alleys: inter-dimensional rifts! Talk about a shortcut…

And hey look, page fifty! Woohoo! Hmm, I really should do something for the fifty-page mark… I have got a really silly picture I sketched for the occasion, guess I should finish that? Or maybe I should get that character section up finally, heh. (Or maaaybe I should catch up on my buffer… I seem to be rapidly falling behind due to other deadlines, eep!)

One of Those Days

Sad Artist in Rain

Page Forty Nine: One of Those Days

…When it’s pouring rain and you have no umbrella and you’re lugging a big awkward painting and it’s around lunchtime so it’s impossible to catch a cab… Oh, and it’s the middle of the Depression. Yep.

Of course I couldn’t resist tucking in various bits of historical paraphernalia and going off on more research than necessary… That glimpse of a cab took ages of research. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find accurate reference of a New York taxicab likely to be in use between about 1932 and 1936? (Pro tip: if you’re looking for historical car reference, search for the websites of companies that rent historic cars for films and events. Reference bonanza.) The “El” refers to the old elevated trains, long gone now except for the West Side High Line which is now a fancy-schmancy park. The guy selling pencils is a nod to the many classic comic collections I read over and over as a kid… I remember the depression-era comics always seemed to feature guys selling pencils or apples for a dollar, and that stuck in my head, so I had to sneak one in. The barely visible outfits of ladies on their lunch break were gleaned from browsing my costume books, of course (because I’ll take any excuse to browse costume books…)

Back in Brooklyn

Housecleaning, what is that...

Page Forty Eight: Back in Brooklyn

Flashback time! All the way back to 1936, and a very messy studio! (Mine is not unlike that, except there’s no table so everything is on the floor.) And I may have to bring Frank’s painting into actual existence one of these days, just for kicks… (Come on, it’s got rockets, babes with whips, and giant robo-serpents, what more could you ask for!)

(Yeah, kinda late, but with the awful events of yesterday, it just… sort of didn’t seem right to be posting comics…)

Bad Tidings

Better get used to this place, kid.

Page Forty Seven: Bad Tidings

In which certain people are not as much help as they could be and Vitalia hears the worst news you can hear in an alternate world… To whit: sorry kid, you’re stuck here! (Well… At least they have donuts here. Could be worse?) Also we’re about to go into one of my favorite sequences… Whee!

Donut Break

Sure you don't want one o' them tasty toasted frogs?

Page Forty Six: Donut Break

WAGH sorry this is up so late, Monday was sort of a mess… But yes, new page finally! In which donuts are dispensed to our long-suffering cast. You can probably guess which “damn big animal” ate everything else in the meantime. (Lunch seems to be a running theme in this comic…)

Fed Up

Fear the wrath of a fed up Vitalia!

Page Forty Five: Fed Up

In which Vitalia has finally had ENOUGH, and says so! And some other people have probably had about enough of Vitalia as well… BONUS: Can you find the mouse? 😀

Tripping!

Squirrels!

Page Forty Four: Tripping!

In which various parties experience shock and displacement, to the astonishment of neighborhood squirrels… Which neighborhood is the question, though.

(And yeah, this should have been up a lot earlier, but first I had to go draw this picture. Heh. I HAVE NO REGRETS.)

Don’t Touch That!

I don't think that's Google Maps...

Page Forty Three: Don’t Touch That!

Wait no don’t touch the mysterious gizmo, you don’t know where it’s been… whoops. This is called learning by doing. What doesn’t kill you makes you smarter! (Maybe.)

Fursovich is saying “what” in Russian. At least I think he is, according to the Russian phrase guide I scrounged up on the web, haha. (Someone tell me if that’s not what he’s actually saying…)

Meltdown

Sheesh, girl, take a breath before you pass out...

Page Forty Two: Meltdown

Vitalia sums up the first forty-two pages in one run-on sentence! With no benefit from punctuation! I’d say it’s a pretty accurate summary. From her point of view. And now… about that thing…..

The Welcoming Committee

What we have here is a failure to communicate...

Page Forty One: The Welcoming Committee

It’s the champion miscommunication tag team! Critical information might filter through eventually… (I never said Vitalia was terribly swift on the uptake.) And yeah, there’s a reason why one of those dudes knows about America and gets the “not-in-Kansas” reference while the other obviously has no clue.

Freak Out

Do Not Feed the Tentacle Monsters

Page Forty: Freak Out

In which Vitalia freaks out! And asks questions! And narrowly avoids becoming the appetizer of tentacular pond things! I’d say those are all pretty valid questions… Does the perv in the trenchcoat have any answers? Or more questions? Stay tuned!

(And dang, page forty already? I seriously need to catch up on my buffer before I run out of pages…)

Hold It, Kid…

Oh no, not the Arm Grab!

Page Thirty Nine: Hold It, Kid…

They are in fact floaty, wobbly rocks, it’s not just Vitalia… (Although she is also rather floaty and wobbly at the moment.) Who are these guys? What’s going on? Will anything be explained ever? Will Vitalia overcome the dreaded Arm Grab? Stay tuned for the next almost-but-not-quite-timely update!

(Also, this is another rare case of going back and editing pages… The last two panels were in fact drawn a few years after the first two. Hence the style shift.)

Crash Landing

Twister malfunction...

Page Thirty Eight: Crash Landing

Some people are going to need a few bandaids and ice packs before this is all over… Could have gone worse, though. At least they landed on something solid. (Had about two hours of sleep yesterday, so yeah… kinda fell asleep before I could post an update. Whoops.)

Inadvertent Hitchhikers

Twister! Whose leg is whose?

Page Thirty Seven: Inadvertent Hitchhikers

Okay, I’m sure we all saw that coming… Vitalia’s picking up hithhikers left and right! This time, she’s found partners for a giant game of inter-dimensional twister! Will she ever get a chance at a real conversation with any of these people? Stay tuned! (Okay, so today’s page isn’t up early, but it IS up on the correct day… So, yay?)

Chaos!

Fun with sound effects...

Page Thirty Six: Chaos!

AUGH. I TOTALLY FORGOT ABOUT MONDAY. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN. Whoops. I got so distracted by work-related crises I didn’t realize it was time to post a new page until sometime Tuesday evening… WHOOPS. (And I’d even spent time this weekend making sure I had all the custom lettering ready for this page, ahaha, so much for being prepared…) Um, maybe I can make up for it by posting early on Thursday? Anyway, yes, have some deluxe, grade-A chaos! (This is what Monday felt like, actually…)

Unexpected Company

Guess who's coming to dinner!

Page Thirty Five: Unexpected Company

Just dropping in! Don’t mind that enormous animal in your campfire! Yes, Vitalia is becoming a master of the Dramatic Entrance… How long will her visit last this time? Will she ever stay still long enough to say hi? Will she ever stop screaming long enough to breathe? Stay tuned!

Meanwhile, Anywhere…

Someone's dealing off the bottom of the deck...

Page Thirty Four: Meanwhile, Anywhere…

Somewhere else yet again, a friendly game takes place with a full deck and then some. And we finally meet Frank and Fursovich! (Also known in my deranged mind as “Frank-n-Furter”…) These are the guys running around on the cover of this chapter (about time they showed up in the comic…) They’re a couple of bums but I like ’em. This is gonna be fun. Oh, what, the screaming in the background…? We’ll see what that’s all about on the next page! Stay tuned!

FUN FACT: This page is my little homage to the bats in Pogo and their eternal impossible card games… Which probably only a few other people reading this will get, but who cares. Walt Kelly rules! Everything I know about inking I learned from Walt Kelly.

Up, Up and Away!

Quick! To the Batmobile!

Page Thirty Three: Up, Up and Away!

And we’re off on a Wild Goose Chase! With a variety of flyers… (Flyers are by far the best way to get around the Queen’s realm, due to a general lack of infrastructure.) Most notably the, uh, untested batmobile built and driven by Peziza, with Mezereon in tow. (Peziza is more or less a student/intern of Mez, who probably regrets taking her on.) In the background, a couple of contraptions built by Mezereon’s younger brothers, one sustainably wind-powered, and the other very unsustainably powered by way more rockets than necessary. We’ll see more of Mez and Pez later… Meanwhile, Stay tuned to find out what the heck happened to Vitalia!

True confession, that whole bottom panel was drawn several years later than the top two panels… So if you see any discrepancies, that’s why. (I’m trying to prevent myself from redrawing old pages, because if I start redrawing everything this comic will grind to a screeching halt… But every now and then there’s a panel that just bugs me so much I have to do something about it. This was one of ’em.)

Commence Project Wildgoose!

A bit breezy up there, Schwartz?

Page Thirty Two: Commence Project Wildgoose!

And we’re off on the Great Wild Goose Chase! In Schwartz’ uniquely convoluted flyer… (His own design. Obviously comfort is not his first priority.) (There’s a reason he wears all those layers…) A fine(?) example of occult engineering, this flyer is steered by strings, and runs on moonbeams and mud – vials of moonbeams provide lift, vials of mud are used to counter lift and control altitude.

Also! Check out the character development process for Schwartz in this Character Development Special on Schwartz over on Queen Gwenevere’s Ramblings!

Man Your Machines!

Magical Mystery Machines...

Page Thirty One: Man Your Machines!

OKAY, here’s page thirty-one finally, argh, I need sleep now… Anyway. This is Schwartz. You met him a few pages ago receiving orders. When he’s not receiving orders, he likes to give orders. The more official-sounding, the better. And he takes himself and his commands SERIOUSLY. Unfortunately the crowd he’s ordering around here consists primarily of his seven sons, and they don’t take him seriously at all.

(Psst, and while we’re at it, Happy Valentine’s Day? Bah, I wanted to do a Valentine’s Day splash page, but deadlines and migraines left me noooo time… Maybe if I get a chance I’ll do a late one over the weekend.) (Maybe.)

Witches Aloft!

Bickering Aloft

Page Thirty: Witches Aloft!

And that’s what the feathers are for – combination stylish hair ornaments and flying surfboard-things! (That’s two of their uses, anyway…) And just for the record, that background was drawn and inked twice. (I wasn’t satisfied with the first take, so I was crazy enough to do it all over again.) The things I do for this comic…

(Sorry about the extremely late update – been wrestling with migraines for the past four days. UGH. Just when everything was getting back on track, too…)

Activate Feathers!

Behold the Brat Pack

Page Twenty Nine: Activate Feathers!

And now the feathers come into play! Told you they weren’t mere hair ornaments. Plus, hints! And kvetching! Bellona is clearly the brat of this bunch… (Excuse the lack of backgrounds… The next page will more than compensate for this, believe me.)

Okay, I couldn’t resist making alternate dialogue for that last panel

Disgruntled Freelancers

Bitching and Moaning

Page Twenty Eight: Disgruntled Freelancers

Yes, Bellona is the whiny one. She does have a point, though, they’ve been chasing after the Queen for ages with no clue and no results… (And the update schedule continues to be rather wobbly and probably will be all month… Deadlines are eating me alive.)

Scheming

Does this look like a face you can trust?

Page Twenty Seven: Scheming

Plotting and scheming and general foreboding! Also, check out the Character Design Special on Saralactra over on Queen Gwenevere’s Ramblings! (BONUS: Includes a glimpse of really early Erroneous!) Saralactra is another one of those characters who goes way back, the current incarnation is version three…

Schwartz!

Schwartz! Yo, Schwaaaaaartz!

Page Twenty Six: Schwartz!

Yes, Saralactra likes to boss, could you tell? Aaaaand introducing character number… uh, eleven, I think? Out of I don’t know how many. Yep, cast of Thousands, that’s my style! Speaking of which, I’ll try to get character development on Saralactra and Schwartz posted soon… (And why yes, I am having fun with all that paraphernalia in the background.)

(Aaaand yeah, late as usual. It’s been a long day.)

Those Damn Drifters

That camera angle..! Unbelievably awkward!

Page Twenty Five: Those Damn Drifters

The plot thickens! With an “unbelievable” up-skirt shot on candid camera! And yes, Saralactra takes herself way too seriously. And tends to be overdramatic.

(Yeah, I know, I need to get a better grip on my update schedule… I think it’s the cold weather. All I want to do is hibernate right now.)

Fun With Mirrors

Something is wrong with your reflections, ladies...

Page Twenty Four: Fun With Mirrors

No, that is not Erroneous, though I admit there’s some similarity from the back… That’s Saralactra, occult engineer extraordinaire, designer of all that gadgetry in the background and probably of the “evil chair” she’s sitting in as well. When in doubt, remember both Sara and her hair are shorter than Erro and his hair. (And this is one page where I really find myself wishing I was up to page eighty… That’s the point where I stopped drawing the word balloons as part of the artwork. Retrofitting necessary dialogue edits into un-editable balloons is awkward as heck.)

Those are two-way magic mirrors the girls are using, by the way. A specialty of Saralactra’s. We’ll be seeing a lot of those.