The story of Henry

I said at the end of my previous blog entry that my next webcomic after Badass Brat would be more ambitious, and yes, I was referring to Twice the Triplets. Before that, though, I had made a short lived comic – one I did end up showing online – called Henry the Comic Strip Character. It was just a silly little thing I felt like doing when I felt burned out on Badass Brat at one point. I wanted to just have fun making a comic, not work hard or worry about quality, just indulge my silliest impulses in the form of a crudely drawn comic strip with excessively stupid jokes and giggle at readers’ confused response. I didn’t much care if anyone other than myself found it entertaining at all, but judging by the response I got, some people did see the humor in it (though they would usually wish it had better artwork). If I am to be completely honest, I should admit that there was a touch of parody about the comic, aimed at the “intelligent, hard working wife and fat, lazy stupid husband” sitcom cliché, but I am not going to claim it had some sort of high-brow subtext.

Groundbreaking comedy.

Henry was originally written in my native Norwegian, and probably is read best that way, but I nevertheless translated most of the strips into English and made them available starting right here.

So. If I made Henry, then how exactly was Twice the Triplets my next webcomic after Badass Brat? Simple: After I made Henry, I made the last few Badass Brat strips after having had a break from it for some time. When the comic ended shortly after, the next comic I made which actually went all the way to becoming a webcomic was Twice the Triplets. So what I told you was true… from a certain point of view.

Buzz the Brat

At some point after my fairly insignificant first webcomic, I started thinking up another comic that I wanted to do. My initial idea was to have it center around two kids, a boy and a girl, who lived in neighboring houses after one of their families – I forget which one – had just moved in. It was to have an extended cast featuring the kids’ parents and siblings, all of whom were going to have very distinct personalities and unique interpersonal relationships (their dads, for example, were going to hate each others’ guts for reasons I no longer remember).

I made two or three strips introducing roughly half the cast, before scrapping this version of the comic in favor of a much more ambitious one. This comic, I thought, was going to be so much more than a simple newspaper strip style comic. It would be so much better drawn than anything I had ever done before – dang it, I was gonna practice hard to make that possible – and it would feature a large cast of well rounded, complex characters, and it was going to lend itself well both to hilarious short gags as well as more dramatic storylines, and it was going to be presented in a unique format that would fully accommodate my vision, and it would be updated in chunks of pages at a time, pages showcasing the different aspects of the comic, and, and…

…and I ended up getting exhausted just thinking about it. This was never gonna work. So I created Badass Brat instead.

The first Badass Brat strip went online in November 2005

Badass Brat was even less complicated than my original version of my cancelled project. The premise: A little boy drives his family crazy with his horrid behavior. Growing up, I’d always loved comics about bratty kids doing bratty things – from The Katzenjammer Kids to Calvin & Hobbes (though the latter example obviously has more to it than just a bratty kid, including concepts and topics I didn’t fully understand as a kid), I couldn’t get enough of troublemaking little jerks. So why even try to make my own comic about anything more than that? Continue reading

My first webcomic

I suppose this is basically my introduction blog post, part 2… But in this part, and the next couple of posts, rather than trying to tell people who I am, I will be trying to tell people what my webcomics are. Just my webcomics for now, mind you. If I were to start talking about every comic I’ve done, I’d be here a long time.

Wait, that came out sounding kind of wrong. If I come across as bragging about having some long history with the comic industry, then, uh – no. When I say I make comics, I mean just that. It’s something I do as a hobby, for fun. Not professionally. Actually far from professionally.

But I have been doing it a long time. Well, it’s all relative I guess, but my first webcomic went online all the way back in 1999. I was pretty much just a kid back then, and really into Star Wars. And as probably anyone who’s really into Star Wars could tell you, 1999 was a significant year because it saw the release of the first new Star Wars movie since 1983. I was getting my first taste of online nerd culture, reading (but rarely posting) various usenet groups where Star Wars was the topic of conversation.

That was what inspired me to make a comic about a trio of Star Wars fanboys, and – for the first time in my life – share my comic with the world (well – unless you want to count the comics based on Bible stories me and a friend drew when we were like ten years old that got published in a bi-monthly religious publication). I used a free hosting service which has long since died, and – if memory serves – put up somewhere between five and ten comic strips before basically forgetting the whole thing and leaving the comic and website to rot. I do remember going to various online communities and posting links to it, hoping for people to check it out and give me feedback. In the end, I think I remember about three guys responding. One guy on usenet was very negative, another guy on some forum was quite positive and the third guy agreed with the second guy. I guess a 66.6% approval rating isn’t bad for a crudely drawn comic done on crappy printer paper with cheap drawing tools.

Sadly – okay, I’ll be honest – luckily, this comic has not survived the years since its creation. I have nothing left of it to show you. The website hosting it is long gone, as are my own files. And the original drawings, well – even if I should come across them in some forgotten chest in the attic one day, I doubt they will have aged well given the paper and tools I used. And I’m okay with that. Even though that one guy found my jokes funny.