It was during this time that Kim Belding posted some old comics that he did when he was 10 years old, where he introduced a new character, Mr. Blob. He had a short lifespan in Picpak comics and only stopped by for a few strips, but myself and Jon Esparza saw great potential in the character.
What followed was my effort to convince Kim to bring Mr. Blob back to the world of Picpak comics.
I began playing around with the idea of bringing in another of Picpak’s much forgotten characters and have them go on a road trip adventure. So I enlisted Picpak’s brother Scraps to join Mr. Blob on this adventure and show Kim that there was life in these characters. Still influenced by my literary background, I wanted to make Mr. Blob seem alien by quoting classic literature, here he is quoting from Finnegan’s Wake.
I also wanted to show that Mr. Blob would not be phased by anything that happens in the strip. He is an alien after all and would have seen things much weirder than a spooky old house. One of the recurring themes is that all the classic cars they use always break down.
There were several references in this comic to comic horror and I was beginning to experiment with backgrounds and adding details to the comic. I wanted to experiment with something more than just a talking heads comic strip. This series is also when I began using the Prismacolor markers as well as sketching in blue pencil before inking. Unlike the last series, I was learning the tricks of the trade and starting to apply my own ideas.
I was still having issues drawing in details and facial expressions, in many cases I had worked with models from Kim Belding’s web page, but now I was having to go off of the models and began adding my own details and expressions. I also introduced Suzanne from Don’t Pick the flowers and the idea of special guests came to mind as well as having the crazy pop culture cars.
It’s still very amateurish but the process of learning to draw comics and show motion was beginning to show some signs of improvement. Every panel was like a little challenge and I had to figure out how to solve the problem. It was beginning to be a challenging process, but at the same time it was also fun.
Mr. Blob was still based on Kim’s original drawings from his 10 year old self and it was long before I gave him a more modern makeover and made him my own, so his features were still quite undefined here and I was relying on Backgrounds to bring out the detail in the comic rather than the characters.
I threw in a bunch of references to Jon Esparza’s comic Bubblefox and Mike & Mindy and of course the whole CRAZY concept of the place names is based on his CRAZY-world. The canvas paper I was using for this still had the same issues as before where the grain of the paper interferes with the comic. I like the gag’s but the execution was still a little awkward.
Picpak finally shows up and he brings his singing car and trees from his animated short “Feelin’ Groovy” that he did from his college day. Again, the canvas paper was not a good choice for drawing comics, but as these were only done for the amusement of friends, I wanted to use it up. Mr. Blob is once again quoting James Joyce.
At this point, Kim Belding’s sister Jenna was also getting into the comic and I threw a few references her way with the whole Dr. Who angle. The van at the end is of course the famous Winnebago from SpaceBalls the movie. Picpak’s jalopy is based upon the famous jalopy from Archie comics as well.
We have some more science fiction references in this one. I was heavily influenced by my admiration of the background details in Joe Flander’s comic Ninja & Pirate. I loved the simple style of drawing he used juxtaposed with the detailed backgrounds and thought that it might also work for me. I don’t really see any comparison to his work except in the concept though. He was and is still light years ahead of me in skill level.
Finally everyone makes it to CRAZY-world. I thought of doing a crazy montage scene with everyone dancing to “Jailhouse Rock” or something like at the end of the Blues Brothers, but instead just finished it here. Mr. Blob was still dropping philosophical quotes and I tried to tie the whole thing together. None of this comic was scripted, I just drew it panel by panel and went along with it letting the comic take me where it wanted to go. I also finally used up all the canvas paper at this point, (thank God) so I called it an ending.
It was from this that I got another surprise:
Kim officially signed Mr. Blob’s character over to me Root Beer Party style. He was inflated and sent over the border where we celebrated with Mug Root Beer and Victory Pudding which turned out to be Thrills flavored. Thrills gum is sort of a novelty gum that Kim sent to me and Jon from Canada. It tastes like soap. It is not a joke gum, it even says on the package that it tastes like soap, this was their marketing campaign??!! That stuff was awful, but Mr. Blob was now mine and I would put him to good use as mascot of the Root beer Party.