So, it looks like its been, ehhh…roughly a year since I’ve updated this site, because obviously.
This isn’t even a new piece, sadly. I actually did this a few years back, and it was one of my first forays using my “New Style” (chronicled in painful detail here). I liked it well enough that it inspired me to begin regularly drawing again, and was the impetus for revamping my portfolio site, and you can see how well that turned out.
Anyway, this is the duo of Bubsy Bobcat and Mai Shiranui, moderately (in)famous video game celebrities and central characters of my old webcomic Pixel Chat. The comic was centered around a gaming talk show, where semi-obscure game characters of the past would appear as their current day, aged selves, usually having transitioned away from the spotlight of the entertainment world and into some sort of inevitably-dispiriting post-creative field pursuit. I’m not going to sit here and say that it was a great comic (though I certainly feel it had its moments), but the story ended on a cliffhanger of sorts, with Bubsy getting booted from his hosting gig Ann Curry style and the reigns being handed to the deeply-obnoxious Gex the Gecko.
This pic reflects the general direction I wanted to move the comic in. I had always intended for Bubsy to regain his role as host, but then I realized that I was never particularly fond of the whole structured “talk show” format, and the need to create an endless wave of minimally-developed “guests” to pad out stories, when what I was more interested in was Bubsy and Mai themselves, expounding upon what made them tick individually and how their oddball relationship actually made a degree of sense. That central idea of exploring a platonic male/female relationship between two people of seemingly oppositional temperament, professional accomplishment, age, ambition and even species got carried over wholesale to my more recent comic endeavor Birdoh.
So Bubsy didn’t return as host, and instead transitioned into the spirit-diddling world of big box retail employment. Mai stayed on as co-host of the show, approaching her position with a degree of transgressive, pseudo-anarchic glee, knowing that her star power and sex appeal gave her carte blanche to do and say more or less whatever she wanted without fear of repercussion. When Bubsy was host, she had a vested interest in making the show work, since its success meant everything to him professionally. With Gex as captain, she was more than happy to let the whole affair skid violently off the tracks and light her proverbial cigar on the smoldering ashes.
In short, the goal was to move the comic away from being so closely bound to the whole contemptible “video game webcomic” archetype, and into a broader life/observational/lightly philosophical direction, which sort of defeated the purpose of writing/drawing a webcomic built around recognizable, pre-existing video game characters. I realized with Pixel Chat that I don’t enjoy writing about retro video game ephemera, because there’s simply not much to say beyond “Hey, remember that thing from the past!?”. I’m sure there are people out there doing enjoyable things within that framework, but I just don’t have the capacity for puckish whimsy or non sequitur zaniness that seems to drive most gaming comics out there. My writing seems to just naturally swerve towards shit that’s sad and depressing, and laughing because fuck it, life is crazy. I’m not smart enough to turn that predilection into effective Skyrim jokes.
But, I got a nice picture out of it, and I’ll always have affection for these two. Someday maybe I’ll get off my ass and actually spend some time wrapping the comic up, just for my own personal closure.