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What a Long Strange Trip It's Been [Apr. 29th, 2009|11:18 pm]
Almost a full year, it's been since I last posted here, and longer still since I did any new pages to the comic.

As stated in my previous entry, I suck.

I am working on a full reboot, of the comic and of the site itself. The majority of what is done on the comic was slapped-together drawings, rather than a sheet of panels (ie what the REAL comic book artists do.) I need to go back and fix that. I also need to settle on a style (looking back at the first several pages, I cringe; it looks like I've had several different artists working, sometimes on the SAME PANEL.) I also need to decide on the format, if I want to stay with the shades of gray style I'm using now, straight black and white with minimal shading, or full color. I also need to re-examine the story, both what I have posted and the original novelized form I wrote that started this whole thing rolling; improve what works, cut what doesn't, yadda yadda. The original story (which all three of my hard-core fans are privy to) started with Mark having a dream. The comic, as you see it now, begins around chapter four of the novel. I now think it was a mistake to remove all that initial story. I had removed it for fear that the story was too bogged down, initially, since the main point is a guy getting turned into a robot.

This was a grave mistake.

M2 is NOT just about robots. It's about the characters: all their bizarre little quirks, their hopes and fears, their interactions with each other and their own desires.

Think of it as getting in the car and taking a trip to some fantastic place. When you tell your friends about the trip, are they going to ask "Hey, what kinda car did you drive?"

It's not about the car, even if it's a seriously awesome car. It's mostly about the trip, and the destination. Sometimes it's more about the trip THAN the destination. Watch any road trip movie if you don't believe me.

I cut out THE STORY for the sake of a plot device, and that is a critical error that must be rectified, just as if I tried to tell of a trip to Disneyland, and spent the whole afternoon going on about my awesome gas mileage.

I considered doing a full rewrite of the story and totally removing the robot. Seriously. I'd change a few things: names, appearance, etc. Just write the story without all the sci-fi hullaballoo. But then I realized that the robot is the catalyst; without the robot, how likely would it be that Janine ever noticed Mark? How would Deek get his chance to shine if not for unwisely sucking Mark's mind into the machine? Would Mia be forced to confront her feelings for Mark if she weren't so closely tied to his survival?

All stories require a primary catalyst: Life is normal, something bizarre happens, and the characters' lives are changed, forcing them to adjust to a new set of circumstances, often resulting in a drastic alteration of their destinies. Such is the robot.

So, the robot stays, but it will be returned to its proper place as a catalyst, rather than the focus, of the story. And it's gonna take some time to get that going. I plead for your patience, adoring fans. I'm working on it as fast as my life will allow.
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I SUCK [May. 21st, 2008|09:44 pm]
I suck.

In fact, I suck so much that I am just going to assume that someone out there reading this is saying to themselves “Nah, dude. You don't suck. You...you're doin' good.”

But I'm not. I suck. Thanks, though.

But this is not why I suck. I suck because I haven't updated my comic for nearly/over six months. See? I suck so bad I can't even remember how long it's been since I've updated.

I'm in a quandary. I feel like I should be pushing the story forward, getting to the robot bits I've been promising and all of you have been waiting for (I assume?) but I've run into some problems with that.

For one, the model for the robot STILL isn't finished. And without that model, the story does not progress. I am not NEARLY a good enough artist to draw panel after panel of the M2 in various poses and angles and be able to update in a reasonable period of time (like I am now???)

After having done page one of chapter three and being just tickled at how well it looks, I then decide that I need to progress the story, even though I am not properly prepared to do so. So I sit on my thumbs and stare at the screen. I doodle. I watch a lot of TV.

I stepped out into the back yard a couple of nights ago and stared at the stars, thinking about the problems I am having with what is SUPPOSED to be my masterpiece. I then realized that without the robot at all, I would have a really good story. I love drawing and writing the interaction between the different characters. I love Mark's constant self-reflection. I love Penny's creepy little crush on Deek. I love Janine's viciousness, and that sly little look she gets when she's about to get her way at someone else's expense. I find that the only thing I really like about Mark being in a computer, then being stuck in a robot body is the idea itself, and the odd twist it puts on the interaction.

I toyed with the idea of completely dropping Mark II and starting all over, this time without the robot stuff. But as I thought of it, I realized that Mark's accident caused a huge shift of dynamic. Mark was a nobody, but this made him a Somebody. It got him noticed. It started a huge set of interactions that probably never would have taken place otherwise. So the idea of dropping the M2 from Mark II was, itself, dropped.

Leaving me where I started.

But the more I thought about over the last couple of days, the more I came to see that I don't HAVE to make the robot the focus of the story. And honestly, I never meant for it to be. I finally remembered way back when I first came up with this idea, the brainstorming sessions I had.

“A kid gets his consciousness put into a robot. How is he going to react to that? How will others react to that? What WOULD be the impact of something so incredible?”

Interaction. That's what drives me, what fuels my creativity and my very desire to create. Not “How can I make my robot look cooler?” or “How far from reality is this?”

So I am going to go back to focusing on the interaction. I'm keeping page 1 of chapter 3 just as it is and I'm dusting off all those roughs I did of the following pages. It's long, it's wordy, it brings in more back story, and it's a beautiful interaction between Mia and Nancy. I'll get to the robot when I get to it.

But I do have some questions, and I really hope you readers will take the time to reply.

Do we prefer color, black and white, or the gray shading I use now?

Is the size of the comic okay? Does it need to be bigger?

The page graphics; too much? Is it distracting from the comic? Other than ALL the links being dead, I mean (and I am trying to fix that!)

Thank you for your time, assistance, and most of all, your patience.
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IT LIVES!!!! [Apr. 7th, 2008|08:05 am]
Sorry, I've been absolutely swamped of late. I'd forgotten how insane getting my life ready for a new baby is, plus the usual insanity that usually goes on.

But that's ny one reason I haven't updated since the PreCambrian Period. I have seven pages of roughs, starting from the current page with Mia and Nancy (I'm sure you know the one I'm talking about, it's been sitting there for months).

I'm just not happy with the story, particularly how it's progressing. We're starting chapter three, and it hasn't even covered a full 24 hours. We've only just gotten a glimpse o the robot, which is one of the primary foci of the story.

We've gotten a good deal of teen angst, unrequited love, societal woes, techno niftiness, and a delightful little chick-fight. All good things, and all very representative of the comic. But the next seven pages were going to be yet another long, drawn out conversation providing back story that you probably don't need and wouldn't progress the story one jot. Mark is a good guy, we know that. Doesn't take a wild swing to left field to deduce that he was a good kid, too. Mia's in love with him, we all get that, and since she's been by his side at the hospital 24/7 since the accident, Nancy has probably figured it out too.

Thus, the next seven pages, while well drawn and superbly written of course, are pretty pointless, I'm shelving them and starting chapter three over. The page that is currently burned into your retinas is about to go bye-bye; I won't say it never happened, but it would have occurred between chapters 2 and 3. I'll be jumping the story ahead a bit, to a point that makes more sense and actually MOVES the story forward instead of mucking around with unnecessary back story.

When will I do this? Well, not that I've managed to conquer this bit of writer's block, it will be soon. I still have a bit of work to do on the M2 robot, modeling and rigging, which Bar is helping me with, when Kiki isn't using her spleen as a hackie sack. But I am working on the roughs AS WE SPEAK. Progress is being made, and I hope to have a page up by the end of this week.

As always, I am DEEPLY grateful for your indulgence.

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Holiday Hell [Jan. 13th, 2008|12:33 pm]
Yeah, you now how I said I was going to get a ton of work done on the comic over the holiday?

Nuh uh.

At now time over the last three weeks has there been less than 7 people in my house, at least three of them small, noisy, borderline psychotic children. I was lucky to squeeze in the last update.

On the plus side, though, one of my Christmas presents was a lovely new 11 x 17 scanner. As you may know, I do the comic on comic boards, which are too large for regular scanners, which means I have to scan in sections, then spend about an hour aligning all four pieces. No more! One scan, no aligning, just straight to the good stuff.

More bad news, though. As you may know from previous journals, Barbara is pregnant. We still don't now if it's a boy or a girl (the wiggle worm decided to play shy at the last ultrasound), but the due date is mid May.

A couple of weeks before AKON.

Which means if I did AKON this year, I would be doing it totally by my lonesome. Which means no food breaks, no bathroom breaks, no get-up-and-check-stuff-out breaks, and no one to help with getting anything ready.

One of the main things I was going to sell was Mohawk plushies, which Bar was going to put together since I can barely patch a hole in my socks. Well, I still can't sew worth a damn, so no plushies. And with school, taking care of Alex, taking care of Barbara, TRYING to get the comic out more than once a month, and taking care of whatever kids that get dropped on our doorstep, there is just no way I'm gonna be able to squeeze AKON into all that. I will still be going, but I won't be getting a table, unfortunately. So that's a big New Years Bummer. But at least I'm getting a baby out of the deal, so it ain't ALL bad!

As for the comic, I MIGHT be able to get some drawing done tonight, depending on what time Bar's parents and her nieces leave and how well Alex is behaving. Otherwise, it will be Tuesday, since I have school and Bar has an appointment with her Ob/Gyn Monday. I also have to locate Manon, my inker, whom I haven't seen or heard from since December, but if I can't get hold of her or if she's too bogged down with school, then I will just have to ink that puppy myself.

HOPEFULLY, hoping perhaps beyond hope, I will have an update at the end of the week.

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Comedy skit [Dec. 18th, 2007|01:19 pm]
Okay, I just HAVE to post this.

As you all probably know, I am a student at the Art Institute of Dallas. This past term I had two classes with the same teacher, Mr. Eudy. Great guy, fantastic teacher, absolutely no complaints whatsoever about his abilities.

In one of the classes, 3D Visualization (which is an advanced 3DsMax class,) we had a variety of assignments. Now, to pass the class, you have to do the assignments, of course, you have to post tutorials of how you are doing the assignments on our forum, critique other people's posts, then at the end turn in a disk of your completed assignments and a PDF compilation of your forum thread.

Well, going into this class, I could tell I simply was not ready. It had been almost 4 years since I had a Max class, and the guy who taught it was a total spazz. I learned almost NOTHING from that guy.

So I get into this class and Mr. Eudy is just zooming along, and the class is staying right up there with him, meanwhile I'm sitting here just trying to get the program to run. I felt like a Neanderthal Man, suddenly unfrozen in the 21st century, staring in awe and fear at all the blinking lights.

So I hire a classmate to tutor me, and she did a fine job; well worth the money, no question.
Well, despite this, by the last week of school I feel like I have learned just enough to be able to TAKE this class. Not actually PASS the class, but confident enough to take it over and do well.

I only managed to complete TWO of the dozen assignments we had, and only posted tutorials for one and half of another. I didn't bother critiquing anyone...I mean, who the hell am I to throw stones?

I didn't even show up for the last class, which put me well over the allowed number of absences, thus an automatic fail. I didn't complete my thread or compile it. I didn't turn in my final disk. I just totally dropped the ball. I sent him an e-mail, explaining that I didn't feel I was ready to pass this class. I didn't want to be in the same position when I had to take the next Max class, so I felt it was better in the long term to just flunk this class and take it over.

Lo and behold, I got my final grades today. He gave me B. I did almost NONE of the work, I turned in NONE of the assignments, I did almost NONE of the forum posts, I skipped the last day, I even sent a mail BEGGING him to flunk me....and I got a B.

Now, the other class he taught, which I actually worked really hard on, completed the assignments to the best of my ability, did the tutorials, did the critiques, handed in the final project and the PDF compilation with four part harmony and stuff like that, and got a C+.

And so here I am. Bitching that I DIDN'T flunk a class.

Thankyew...thankyew...I'm here all week. Try the chicken parmesan and don't forget to tip your wait staff!
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BIG ANNOUNCEMENT TYPE STUFF! [Nov. 28th, 2007|03:32 pm]
A LOT of stuff going on!!

Chapter 3 is officially started with today's posting of the cover and I think it looks pretty nifty! The website is up and running, obviously, but I still have quite a bit to do until it's fully functional. Here is a run down of the various pages you will see soon!

*CAST-Much like before, only with a better format!
*GALLERY-This will have a link to my Deviant Art site, my M2 related art, and some of the stuff I'm doing in school!
*STORE-M2 SCHWAG!! We don't actually have any yet, but this will soon change as we start gearing up for 2008 AKON!!
*CONTACT-is already working!
*LINKS-Politics, webcomics, cool sites, the woiks!
*OPINIONS-This is a little something for Daddy; a place where I can rant and hopefully educate the masses!
*STUDIO-Takes you back to the main TFMo Studios page, which will be a jumping off point to other sites within the studio!

ADVERT-Yep, I'm selling space on my site! Slip me a banner, or for a nominal service charge, I can make the banner myself. Prices and whatnot forthcoming! This goes along with the HUGE advertising blitz I will be doing a little bit before AKON.
**Little Black Box-Vote buttons (with incentives!) and a hit tracker will go here.
**Not-as-little Black Box-MUSIC!! Here I will have a mini jukebox, featuring hits that, I think, capture the spirit of MARK II!

ARCHIVE-This is gonna be some cool little thumbnails of the previous comics, instead of the guessing game calendar thingy on ComGen!

I only have a couple of weeks left before Christmas break, and I'm still behind in one of my classes, but I'm gonna be zipping through that as best as I can. Then, over break, I am going to be working like a chimp on amphetamines to get the site fully functional and bust out with story!

Now for the really BIG news....I'M GONNA BE A DADDY AGAIN!!!

Just found out that Bar is pregnaciously pregnant! We still don't know what the gender is, but we will be finding that out in a few days. We've already picked out names; Katherine Elizabeth Elmore if it's a girl (Kiki for short!) or Thomas James Elmore (T.J.) if it's a boy, named after me and Bar's fathers.

One thing to note here, twins run predominantly in Barbara's family!!! YIKES!! So now we're trying to think up alternate names for both boy and girl! Suggestions are always welcome!!

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TA DAAAAHH!!!! [Nov. 16th, 2007|04:17 pm]
That's right, kids...the new page is UP AND RUNNING AT LAST!

Except for the parts that aren't, of course.

The Shop is down until I get some merchandise together. Not much point in setting up a shop without something to sell, yeh?

The Opinion page is going to be something fun for me, mostly. Still figuring out how I wanna do the format for it, so it's dead for the moment.

I still have to create pages for all the previous pages of the comic, so the Archive, First, and Previous buttons are pretty much useless at the moment. But you can still pop back to ComicGenesis to see the old stuff for now.

Gallery will have several links on it; it will take you to my DeviantArt page, my MARK II art page and my non-strip art work. But at the moment, it too is dead dead deadski.

Links are dead. Cast page is dead. Um...yeah, about all I got up there is the last page of Chapter 2, the Live Journal, the Shoutbox, and the Contact.

I'll be posting progress updates in the Shoutbox, or you can just click away at the various links like an epileptic drummer until you find one that actually works...shyeah...good luck with THAT.

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Taking a teensy break [Oct. 22nd, 2007|09:48 pm]
Yep, I gotta lot on the ol' plate for the next couple of weeks, so I'm taking a little break from the web comic.

As usual, I'm swamped. I got scads of school work, plus we're trying to put together a surprise party for Bar's grandmother's 76th birthday, plus we're having our seasonal health issues (what can you expect when the weather goes from 90 one day to 50 the next?). Also, I'm trying to get the new site together, since that lovely six weeks of backlog got devoured by me and Bar being sick for almost he entre time. I also have another announcement, which I will not be making at this time, but soon!

As for the website, I've decided on a deadline; November 15th, the approximate anniversary of the creation of MARK II, will be the day I FINALLY get the new site up and running enough to have everything on it that I currently have here on ComGen. Naturally I won't have the store up and running because I don't have any merchandise to hawk there yet, but the new look and all the archives and galleries and LJ's and whatnot will be as accessible there as they are here (moreso, I hope!)

I will still be working on art for the comic, but for now I'm focusing more on creating a backlog again, and hopefully getting everything together to return to 2-a-week updates.

In other news, we have a new inker! Everyone say hello to Manon Stane, a lovely young lady and classmate at the Art Institute. As you recall, Curly Coleman was inking for me, but our schedules just aren't jibing, as is wont to happen at an accelerated school like AID. I'm hoping to get her on the Photoshop work for the comic, but we'll have to wait and see.

So, I will still drop by the site from time to time, and if I get some spare time, I will try to at least post some filler (I'm working on covers for the various chapters; the swirly Mark pic will be replacing the somewhat crappier rain scene, I have the reds done for chapter 2's cover, and I already have the concept for the chapter 3 cover, which shouldn't take too much effort.)

So stay tuned, kids! We shall return!

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MORE NEWS!!! [Sep. 4th, 2007|02:39 pm]
Those of you who peruse the shoutbox already know this, but I'll go ahead and say it again because, for me, this is a MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENT: The next six weeks of comics have been penciled! Which finishes out Chapter 2 of the comic and hopefully heralds a return to REGULAR UPDATES!

Despite what the Archive calendar says, the big two-pager I just uploaded is this week's update. By next Tuesday, there will be another update, and so it will go. My next step is on Wednesday, when I hand off the penciled pages to the loverly Curly Coleman for inking. If all goes as I hope it will, she will have them all inked by next Tuesday, so we can have steady updates while I work on the new web site.

Between my vivid imagination, Curly's diligent work, and Barbara's mind-boggling abilities with Dreamweaver and 3dsMax, the new site should be up and running in plenty of time for (dun dun DUNNN!) the beginning of CHAPTER 3!!

You guys are gonna LOVE Chapter 3. We'll get to see more of Deek's friends in action, more Mohawk, and at long last, the COMPLETED MARK 2 ROBOT! So clear your schedules for Tuesdays, kids!

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THE BIG NEWS!! [Aug. 12th, 2007|01:39 am]
Actually, two big newses!

NEWS 1: As of page 23, I want you all to welcome Curly Coleman, my new inker! She's a fellow student of mine at the Art Institute of Dallas and a helluva sweetie for helping me on the comic. And, since I have her doing the inks, we'll hopefully be able to go back to a two-a-week update! Everyone give her a big howdy!

NEWS 2: I have TOTALLY HAD IT with ComicGenesis. I'm grateful to them for hosting my site all this time, and I'm deeply appreciative of the fact that this is where MARK II got its most significant start. That being said, it does me no good whatsoever to be on a site that has been so difficult to use, that forces me to limit my page format, that offers no technical support, and that (in spite of their getting a new server) spends more time being down than up. ComGen IS a free site, and you get what you pay for. Therefore, I am leaving ComicGenesis. I have already gotten a new server and a Comic Soon page up. The new addy is http://www.tfmostudios.com so zip over there and bookmark that baby! I will be working diligently to get the new site up, where you will not only find MARK II, but also a little strip me and Barbara play with from time to time called BARBIEDANCE, Barbie's own webcomic XENIDA, as well as a FAQ page, the text of the MARK II story, a HUGE gallery of non-MARK II related art, dates and locations of the cons we will be setting up booths at, and an online shop for when we start offering merchandise!

Remember, that new addy is http://www.tfmostudios.com

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