Mark and Jenny Running Commentary by Julie Bihn
4/8/98: An Introduction
This whole thing was inked with I believe a Uniball Micro pen. Given a very talented artist, Uniballs can be great. Given someone who's crummy at inking, well, this is what you get.
Why did I start this series? Well, I wanted to have some kind of weekly comic. I remember how...er...Eisu, I think his name was? --how I loved looking at his comic/manga "Gomen Nasai," a romance-type pseudo-weekly. I didn't even like the characters or the premise all that much (both were okay, but I didn't love them). But it was just SO exciting to see a comic that was updated every week! So I thought I'd do the same. (It was also during my freshman year of college. Frankly, I didn't have any friends at school, so the Internet was my social outlet. A common story, I suppose. At least I did a little something while I was bored. ^_^)
Heading. Why doesn't Mark have any bangs? I don't know. Musta been the original design for him.
Panel 2. I'm not entirely sure why I portrayed myself as not that bright, because I really am pretty smart. Oh well. Probably just more of my wacky self-deprecating humor. Note the Kenshin T-shirt.
By the way, I actually don't generally have anything really resembling bangs, not even that scattered little bit of bang that always comes out on Anime Julie's forehead. HOWEVER, if I wake up and my hair's REALLY messy, I actually DO get an Anime Julie-style bang thing going on. (So if I actually look like Anime Julie sometime, watch out!)
Panel 3. First appearance of Mark and Jenny in the comic! I probably should've kept more of Jenny's cynicism and observational skills later on. Oh well.
Panels 4-6. I never had any plans for those random kids reading the comic. But wouldn't it be great if they came back later?
Panel 7. I like the phrase "twisted brand of justice." But I really should've phrased it: "See Mark and Jenny WREAK their own twisted brand of justice." I've liked the concept of "wreaking justice" since the mid-1990s, when I was in high school....
4/15/98: A Simple Crime page 1
Panel 2. This Circle K--er, Circle R (not like you can tell from the scan)--is a copy of the one in Tucson near the University, where I sometimes found myself waiting for the shuttle that goes between Tucson and Phoenix....outside tables and everything.
Panel 3. Note the wedding ring shot to establish that Jenny's married. Witty. Not that I went out of my way to indicate that she wasn't married to MARK....you know, sometimes people don't catch that...
Panel 7. Reference to them being in a comic. Get it?
Panel 15. Why the heck are there 15 panels in one page??? Well, it's a trend my readers are used to, I think. One time when my brother, my mom, and I were in Anaheim near Disneyland, we saw a kid make a beer run out of a convenience store... I'm not exactly sure why the convenience store clerk's shirt is striped like a referee's. Or why the clerk is outside the door, farther from the door than the kid. Maybe he was out smoking.
I'm also not sure; I might have originally intended for said clerk to be a recurring character. Oh well.
4/22/98: A Simple Crime page 2
I apparently changed my shading method to 16 grays instead of black-and-white on this page.
Panel 2. Like how the horizon magically disappeared?
Panel 3. Mark establishes the clerk's gender. Yay, Mark! It also establishes his conservative leanings. Well, he IS rich. ^_-
Panel 6. Note the Mair the Defender keychain. That series pre-dated "Mark and Jenny" by a few months. I never did decide about Mark's Corvette; I'm not sure if he got it when he was in high school or not. If he DID get it from his parents, he'd never part with it, but I had this clear concept that Mark was the type who would donate his car to charity if it got scratched and buy himself a new one.
Panels 8-9. Guess who didn't feel like drawing someone running in a natural position?
Julie's Thought of the Week. Current readers should find it cute how I apologized for updating 10 hours late. Look at me now; I miss for a month and barely say a word!
4/29/98: A Simple Crime page 3
I'm not sure how I was doing the lining of the pages at this point. Right now I use a T-square, a lap desk with a little paper/pencil rest on the bottom, and a triangle of doom (right-angle 45-45-90 clear triangle). Back then I printed out templates from my computer and made photocopies, then put the lines in by hand and whited-out the overlapping black spots. Not too efficient.
Panel 4. One of my first attempts at the irritated Anime person expression (T_T). And probably the worst.
Panel 10. I know this isn't the best laid-out of pages, but even my younger brother found the idea of someone singing "Karma Chameleon" pretty funny. One of my favorites.
Panel 21. Before I understood that Anime blushes should all face in the same direction. Or at least before I cared.
Panel 24?????. This could be the most panels I've ever crammed onto a page. Of course this would've been better if I'd've done it in two pages. Oh well. It's still a fun (though wacky and lengthy) page.
Julie's thought of the week. I'm not really a fan of the Dave Matthews Band anymore; in fact, "Before These Crowded Streets" isn't even a great album (though it's not bad). I haven't even bought their latest one (I don't even know its name--the one with "The Space Between" as probably the only good song on it ^^;). And no, I don't have an accountant.
5/6/98: A Simple Crime page 4
I finally got my lines straight, but didn't understand the concept of putting space in-between panels...
Heading. Look! Mark got his bangs!
Panel 4. The name 'Jon' was, I believe, stolen from the title character of "A Heart Made of Glass" (now offline, I believe, and the artist, Clay, was doing an adult comic last I saw)... But Clay was one of my first online encouragers about "Mair." In fact, if you check out that series' guest art gallery, you can find some art by him...
This is also one of the few installments of "Mark and Jenny" where the characters not only solve a case, but do it in a mildly efficient manner.
Panels 12-14. What can I say? My mother's a Southern Baptist and a feminist. My upbringing was not normal.
5/13/98: A Simple Crime page 5
Panel 3. One of my favorite things about American comics is it's the one genre where you're encouraged to have cursing represented euphamistically (instead of actually spelling out the words). I make it a point never to curse, myself.
Panel 4. This was done back when ER was actually compelling. I started watching as an excuse not to go to bed by 10 PM on Thursday nights (my mom was hooked on it before then), and continued to watch it through most of my college career, finally giving up in the fall of 2001. Though I'm back again; it may be poorly written and over-the-top, but in Phoenix, there aren't syndicated shows like the Simpsons on opposite it. ^^;
Panel 7. Mark apparently has a magic Corvette that can comfortably seat three. It comes up later too. I guess I should've actually LOOKED at a Corvette first. Actually, I have a Hot Wheels Corvette somewhere...
Panel 11. Social humiliation is a fairly effective deterrent to crime.
Panel 19. Mark and Jenny kind of take turns being the ones to be morally outraged at technical illegal behavior. Though Jenny's usually the one who gets upset.
5/20/98: A Simple Crime page 6
Panel 3. Oh! Samuel! Smooth transition there, Julie!
Panel 17. Well, when you don't have a very fine pen and you don't effectively use a ruler, hatching doesn't come out very well, now does it? Technically my second attempt at SOME kind of shading in this series (the first was young Jon's hair). Interesting use of perspective on my part...
Julie's thought of the week. I really am a grammar fiend...I'm not even that GOOD at it, but if I see a typo or an its/it's mistake.....bad things happen.
5/27/98: Home Life page 1
The dip pen! The lines are a little thicker; other than that the inking doesn't look much worse than usual. Weird. I was using a dip pen on random copy paper from Kinko's or the U of A's copy machines, so the results weren't so good. The dip pen tore at the paper something awful... I'm pretty sure I didn't letter with a dip pen, at least.
I knew even when I finished this page it was too sappy. -_- I'm not even 100% sure why it was there. I mean, "Mair the Defender" was partially based upon my own romantic motivations, but I have no idea what's up with Jenny and Samuel. Sure, they love each other, but why? I don't know. But then, probably some couples off the printed page (monitor?) also don't know.
Panel 5. First appearance of Samuel. ::bad sitcom "Whoo"s ensue::
My main motivation behind Samuel was, I believe, something to ensure that Mark and Jenny didn't have to be a romantic couple. And I gave him a funny nose. There wasn't much deeper to him than that then, and there's still not (although the rainbow wig's kind of nice).
Panel 16. The floor in their kitchen, I guess it is? is a little like the floor in our bathroom (I don't remember if we got it before or after this comic, though!). Except in our bathroom it's all at an angle (diagonal). Very cool-looking. At least I used a LITTLE perspective on the one in the comic.
Julie's thought of the week. I can't believe I was wearing sparkly green nail polish back then...I must have gone to "Bath and Body Works" with my then-roommate. That's right. Around Christmas time. I wanted sparkly red but the green had a little charm that was a ripoff of Luna from "Sailor Moon" so that's what I got. I still have the charm and the nail polish, though the latter's probably dried up.
6/3/98: Home Life page 2
Wow, look at the witty contrast between Jenny and Mark's home life! Brilliant. -_-
I meant to show right off that Maria doesn't really like Mark that much. But when I tried to make her finally dump him, I felt too bad for Mark (plus someone whined that I was going to be mean to Mark) so I couldn't do it. ^^;
Panel 1. More of Julie's patented craaaazy perspective! I kinda like the headlight effect, though.
Panel 6. Look how considerate Mark is of his servants. Too bad I didn't know his cook would be Iron Chef Campbells!
Panel 14. First appearance of Hun. I knew Hun's story right off but took my sweet time in telling everyone else why Mark likes her so much. My cat meows a lot too.
Hun is gray like my first cat was. (Well, OK, Maggie, the cat I have as of this writing, is gray too.) Partially included for deep reasons (TM), partially for a cute fuzzy.
Panel 21. Note the girly things on the right side where Maria should be. Not like she's ever worn a bow in her life, but hey. She DOES wear lipstick...
6/10/98: Instupditude page 1
Instupditude is my favorite title for an arc of "Mark and Jenny." Unfortunately, I couldn't just make up a word for every arc. Well, I guess I could've, but most of 'em would've been stupid.
Panel 3 if you don't count the clock as a panel. Wow, the floor got diagonal, just like my bathroom. Coincidence?
Panel 6. My mom is scary in the morning. I'm pretty cranky too, but at least I don't talk loud enough for it to be heard on the other end of the house....
Panel 13. I actually had a big mental debate on whether Jenny wore lipstick, or if she (and all women in that universe) just normally has, well, lips. I think I decided on the latter. I tried to design Jenny without lips (most of my females in other series don't have any colored lips) but I just couldn't pull it off. So I made all the girls in that series have lips. I guess it's the style of "Mark and Jenny." Yup.
Panel 16. Come to think of it, I don't think they air soap operas at 9 AM, do they? Oh well. She probably should've been watching a game show. At least, I know that's what Mark would've been watching. ^_-
Panel 20 if you count the second clock but not the first. Yes, Mark had a cell phone. Remember, this was 1998, a bit before EVERYONE had a cell phone. Well, OK, I don't, but everyone else does.
Panel 21. And yes, it was before TiVo. ^_- I don't think I'll ever pay to get that machine/service...
6/17/98: Instupditude page 2
Panel 2. Wow; Maria spent the night who-knows-where. I didn't remember being so dark so early on. ::pauses, remembering the content of this arc:: Maybe I do.
Panel 8. This clerk must be related to the one who was working the night before. But the eyelashes and small eyebrows indicate it's a woman. I'm a great artist that way. ^_-
Panels 9-11. This really does pretty much sum up why Mark and Jenny do what they do. Well, that and if Mark were a police officer, he'd definitely be accused of being corrupt...
6/24/98: Instupditude page 3
I won't even tell you where my near-life-long amusement with...er...those kind of women...came from. Well, actually, I don't know, except I remember back when I was younger the street Van Buren was home to, well, yeah. So I had a little paper doll Barbie that came in a cereal box and with some creative cutting and use of marker, I managed to make a Van Buren Barbie. It's gotta be around here somewhere, still; I don't think I threw it away. It used to be on the actual cork bulletin board in my room...
Panel 1. Mark suddenly got a collar on his shirt. Weird.
Panel 3. Check it out; I forgot to ink in Jenny's braid. Spooky.
Panel 7. Ah, yes, Mark loves his costumes. I hadn't cosplayed (dressed up as an Anime character) by this point yet, myself...
Panel 10. Wouldn't it've been brilliant and ironic if I had made Maria one of the serial killer's victims? (Whether or not I had Mark rescue her in time? ^_-) Most of my readers don't care for Maria...
Panel 12. Inking fishnets with a dip pen was fun. I'm not entirely sure why Jenny felt the need to take her hair down for a costume she's completely opposed to...oh well.
Next time. ??? Isn't it quaint that I used to have some kind of notion about what was to come when I put up a week's installment?
7/1/98: Instupditude page 4
Black Magic ink doesn't work well with photocopy paper and a dip pen, unfortunately. Lots of splotches. I guess it's kind of sad that I used a dip pen for months and never really got any better...
Panel 1. No, I never put too much thought into designing Mark's house or the various knicknacks that populate it.
You know, in Japan at one point in time rich people accumulated lots of wealth and goods, but, unlike in Western countries, it wasn't considered classy to display them all haphazardly, so they kept most of their goods locked in sheds and only displayed a few items at a time? A good idea, really. I mean, er, maybe that's what Mark does, yeah. That's why all his goods are always changing in his house. Uh-huh.
Panels 5-7. Note the use of connecting lines instead of arrows. Classy, huh? ^_-
Panel 9. Yes, an actual killer. Really quite dark...
Panel 11. Most likely inspired by the Simpsons Halloween episode where Mr. Burns says he'll owe Smithers a Coke if the Homer brained robot experiment fails (I believe).
Billy's thought of the week. According to my brother, this was during the "Home Run Chase" of 1998, where a home run ball of Sammy Sosa's would be worth lots of money. So, to throw it back would be, well, throwing away lots of money.
Next time. A kind critic would interpret my brother's comments as "I would like to see more; you have left me in suspense." But I don't think he laughed at the comic either. Oh well. The crossdressing thing's a cliche anyway.
7/8/98: Instupditude page 5
Panel 3. Why Jenny actually trusts Mark here, I'm not sure.
Panel 6. One of the former pastors of my former church actually did that crayon/rocket ship thing at a restaurant in Prescott. (For the record, I seriously have the utmost respect for that man. He was a highway patrolman near retirement when he felt the call to be a pastor. So even though he was almost at retirement from the force he had to do it anyway. He's actually smart too. Not much like Mark. ^_-)
Panel 7. Of course, I'm a grown woman who loves Japanese animation. Why Mark was Tuxedo Mask, without a mask, is beyond me. But I was hesitant to use really really obscure Anime references; I was afraid no one would get them...
7/15/98: Instupditude page 6
Panel 2. I had a pretty poor idea of word balloon placement at this point.
Panel 4. Ah, the one thing Mark will put above a friend--his girlfriend. Well, that's not entirely true; I think my main point was that the poor guy's easily distracted.
Panel 5. I also like Mark's name being a pun....
Panel 7. Marvel at my ability to draw firearms.
Panel 10. Hey, he's not making the reservations right now!!!
Panel 11. I'm pretty sure I wasn't using the Corvette model car to draw that. I sure HOPE I wasn't; I can be an almost adequate life-drawer.
Julie's thought of the week. I really hate being lectured by dentists. All right, all right, I don't floss, but even if I did, women have hormornal changes that make their gums more vulnerable at different times of the month. That's more than my male readers wanted to hear.
7/22/98: Instupditude page 7
Panel 2. Maybe I actually looked at a model car this time.
Panel 3. I try to always make sure my characters are wearing seatbelts. I was trained since I was very small to always wear a seatbelt, so now I put it on automatically, even if I'm in a parking lot...
Panel 6. Jenny's actually quite pretty (from what I understand), or at least not bad-looking. But then, that murderer doesn't have the best taste in women...
Panel 9. Jenny, like most women, doesn't like being told she's ugly. I don't know that it's completely in-character to have her be quite that vain. Oh, it probably is.
Panel 10. I think the murderer has control issues.
Julie's thought of the week. I seem to be trying to have some kind of mildly amusing thing right before the last panel, then make the last panel all dramatic to make you come back next week. Not the brightest of ideas.
7/29/98: Instupditude page 8
Panel 2. Tried but true (I think)--any takeoff of the old light-bulb cliche is kind of funny.
Panel 3. Note Mark's extreme concern with Maria's well-being.
Panel 7. Not only is this guy a murderer, but he's sexist! Now he's in trouble...
Panels 6-11. Impressive; I drew the holster (or lack thereof) in four different ways in the four panels that show said holster.
Panel 9. I hope everyone figured out that was Mark. I'm not sure if he's wearing a wig or not, though; I think he is, but what kind of moron would not wear a wig and yet not change his hairstyle much...? Well, if it was actually colored I guess we'd know the answer. ^_-
Panel 11. Mark seems a bit like Dale in Rescue Rangers in that he enjoys crossdressing a little too much. (He was not inspired by James in Pokémon--this site implies that Pokémon hit US TV September 7, 1998--a few months after Mark's dopeyness and cross-dressing were established. I didn't really get hooked on Pokémon until I think 1999. Of course, that summer I bought Pokémon Blue, and it was all over...)
8/05/98: Instupditude page 9
I don't quite recall what my scanner was doing, but I had to scan it in in grayscale, which is why it's so dark and smudgy compared to my other pages. Well, all right, why it's so dark; I guess all my pages are kind of smudgy. ^_-
Great thing is, I demanded that everyone should write me a thank-you for putting it online at all.
One nice person did!
Panel 1. I'm a big fan of music notes in cartoon balloons. Even if it doesn't really reflect which note the character's talking in. ^_-
Panel 4. It's not quite fair of Jenny to say Mark's stupid for cross-dressing; the plan wasn't a bad one, all things considered. But Mark's instpuditude causes it to pretty much fail anyway.
Panels 6-8. Surely there's a lesson in layout to be learned here.
Panel 11. This has got to be the most inefficient serial killer ever. Answering the door when he's supposed to be killing people, tying up people instead of just shooting them, etc., etc. Well, that's good for Mark and Jenny, anyway. ^_^
8/12/98: Instupditude page 10
Now, I'm not sure WHY this one scanned in so starkly. Oh well. It's interesting how I went from having too many panels per page to, perhaps, too few (most of these aren't enough to hold someone for a week, I don't think).
Panel 3. Well, *I* thought Jenny's eyes looked more compelling than Mark's...
Panels 5-7. Yeah, a cheap gag. I'm not always above that. I like the storm cloud over Jenny, though.
Panel 8. Again with the handcuffs. (They're all over Fox Tales. Unless by some off chance I've rewritten the series and had it redrawn by now.) I'm not sure why, unless it's because of my like of the Miranda episodes of Bonkers (which vaguely has to do with the police ^_^;;;).
8/19/98: Instupditude page 11
I'm not sure what turned my art and lettering so sloppy...
Panel 1. Speaking of "You're Under Arrest," Jenny looks an awful lot like one of the characters from that series...-_-;;; That's one of the reasons I tried later to change her hairstyle, but it just didn't work.
Panel 3. Wow, an innuendo that makes Mark uncomfortable.
Panel 5. One of my first tries at extreme expressions in this series. Ouch.
Panel 6. I love the "Cantalope?" line. I just wish the panel had been better laid-out.
Panel 9. Mark always knows how to say the right thing, doesn't he? ^_-; I doubt this is the first time he and Jenny were arrested, anyway.
Come to think of it, Jenny's paranoia about her husband is kind of creepy.
8/26/98: Instupditude page 12
Panel 2. Note the lack of grays compensated for by curved hatching. I didn't say it was successful...
Panel 3. About now (maybe a little earlier) sweatdrops grew rather more prominent as I decided I didn't hate them after all.
Panel 5. Actually, from what I understand, it's rare for the police to apologize to anyone, but it was a nice device, and it kept Mark from getting strangled to death. ^_-
Panel 8. Ah yes. Such a cute word, Instupditude, and a word that hints that I had a clue where the arc was going when I started it. A trend which was not to last long, as any longtime readers know well. Oh well...
Speaking of which, it's too bad I didn't draw Jenny in a more provocative/sexy manner. Or is it?
Panel 9. Another Anime convention, the kind of X-shaped throbbing veins to indicate rage. Jenny gets those a few times, I think.
9/02/98: The Weekend page 1
Panel 1. One of my strangest car attempts yet.
Panel 2. I never understood why fishnets were considered so trashy; they cover MORE skin than pantyhose. Societal, I guess.
Panel 3. That's just mean of Mark. Unless it's too late for him to wake up his driver. Or maybe it's showing the consequences of hitting others. Nah.
Panel 10. Ah. Look at my lines of happiness drawn around Jenny. Beautiful, huh?
Isn't it cute how I used to actually keep track of days? Their first case in the series was on a Thursday (ER was on), then they went out the next day, and now Jenny notes she'll see Mark on Monday? That was back when I planned fairly far in advance sometimes, though.
Julie's thought of the week. Ah, yes. That friend of mine changed colleges after her freshman year. Haven't heard from her in a while; I think she signed my guestbook. Of course, I had an alterior motive in noting that I had a friend obsessed with swords. Namely, letting everyone know I had friends. ^_- (This was my sophomore year of college, when I was actually friends with my roommate and had a couple more friends besides. Good times...)
Also note that I actually drew some pages BEFORE the night before they had to go online. Wow.
9/09/98: The Weekend page 2
Panel 1. Yeah, given my conservative leanings, I'm guessing I had trouble drawing this panel.
Panel 7. First hint that they're not so well off. I'm still not sure why Jenny's so insecure, given Samuel's seeming utter and unconditional love. (That was part of his character from the beginning too, come to think of it.)
Panel 8. Is this the third page in a row ending with Jenny being surrounded by lines? And this was back when I planned them out in advance!
Julie's thought of the week. Actually, that prime-time Conan O'Brien special was self-serving and not even that funny. (Was it really that long ago? It doesn't seem it...)
I'm not sure why I'm so obsessed with apologizing for how crooked these pages are; they don't look too bad to the me of 2002.
9/16/98: The Weekend page 3
Panel 2. First appearance of Maria.
I love short hair on girls who can pull it off (which is probably 20% of the human population, 90% of the cartoon/Anime population). I always imagined Maria as a wholly unsympathetic character. But if Mark loves her, she can't be all bad, right? I dunno...
It's already irritating that she's complaining about Mark being maybe an hour late, while she didn't even come home the night before. Hypocritical, I suppose. On the other hand, I HATE to wait for anyone....
Maria doesn't know what she wants, I didn't know what she wanted--neither was good for her back then.
Her name in theory might have come from the Counting Crows song "Mr. Jones." Since I got about half of the Fox Tales characters' names from that album...
In case you couldn't tell, those cross-shaped dealies on her dress are supposed to be sequin sparkles. Always a hard thing to do in comics.
Panel 9. She hates cats. She must be a bad person.
Panel 11. Now Mark's words have hearts around them. Doesn't say much for his masculinity. Good thing he's not concerned with that. ^_^; A rather poorly-laid out panel, though.
9/23/98: The Weekend page 4
Panel 1. Yup. Hun's a lot like my cat Maggie. Meow meow meow meow. Rubs up against black pants especially. Etc.
Panel 7. Mark is rich, in case you hadn't figured it out. ^_- When you take into account his investments, bank holdings, land holdings, etc., he's STILL bringing in more money than he can spend, even when he buys gaudy diamond bracelets for his girlfriend. He is RICH. If he were living here he'd probably sponsor a ride at Disneyland. Maybe pay to have the PeopleMover refurbished and returned to Tomorrowland. Did I mention he's rich?
Panel 9. At least Maria admits something was her fault!
Panel 10. I was careful to make Mark and Jenny the same height (to an extent that implies equality). Samuel's usually an inch taller than Jenny, and Mark's only a bit taller than Maria, but he's taller in some panels than in others....
Julie's thought of the week. Yeah, I was in a kind of lame Japanese class. Well, the class was great (both classmates and teacher), but the teaching materials were horrible. "Tenisu wa shimasu ka?"
9/30/98: The Weekend page 5
Panel 1. This was probably one of my first kiss scenes (outside of Fox Tales, anyway). It wasn't entirely poorly drawn, either.
Panel 3. Kind of cute expression.
Panel 4. In case you haven't noticed, I generally have a lot of trouble drawing characters close together. Even hugging characters are quite far apart usually. I don't know if that's deep-seated psychological problems on my part or what. But in this panel Mark and Maria are pretty close.
Panel 6. Never mind.
Panel 8. Mark insists on opening the door for Maria. I had a male friend who did that for all us girls for a while...
Panel 9. Don't ask me where Mark's supposed to be in this panel. I think he's leaning over the car door. But that would imply the window was open...
10/07/98: The Weekend page 6
Panel 1. If we take Maria at her word she and Mark can be a good couple.
Panel 4. I'm not sure if this longing is out-of-character for Maria or not. She comes from lower-middle-class roots. But one would think she'd enjoy being rich (or having a rich boyfriend, which, in this case, is pretty much the same thing).
I still love Jack from Jack-in-the-Box, but I'm a bit tired of their food...
Panel 10. One of the earliest instances of Mark totally abusing his money/power.
Panel 11. ...BUT, it's socially unacceptable, so Maria is actually not pleased...
10/14/98: The Weekend page 7
Panel 2. I think Mark was taking Maria's question as a compliment for a moment until he figured it out.
Panel 3. I just noticed Maria was wearing a necklace, and was shocked to see she's been wearing it throughout this arc. Crazy.
Panel 7. I don't know what's up with the tear coming out of one eye. Maybe Maria has some kind of illness. ^_-
Julie's thought of the week. I got turned onto Instant Oatmeal for a few non-consecutive months during my college career. I've still got some in the cupboard, actually...
10/21/98: The Weekend page 8
Panels 1-6. One of my few effective (I think) stretches without dialogue.
Panel 10. Come to think of it, if Mark had any sense, he probably would've told the waiter to take the food away and bring something fancy. Oh well. We DO know that Mark doesn't have any sense...
10/28/98: The Weekend page 9
Panel 4. In case you hadn't noticed, Mark would give any amount of money for someone he cares about.
The rest seems like a cheap fix. But then, was anything really fixed at all...?
I still don't understand Maria enough to explain her actions, except no one likes to see anyone cry; that's just how people (usually) are. Though it's usually kind of pathetic when a guy cries (at least, according to Hollywood stereotypes).
Julie's thought of the week. I swear I wasn't drunk when I wrote that. I think I was making something up to be cute, or maybe it had roots in something, but it's long gone, whatever it was.
11/4/98: Catastrophe page 1
Panel 1. Mark reads before he goes to sleep? I guess it's not out of character, since I drew it. ^_- I wonder if he likes children's books, like I do...
And yes, animals do tend to hide their pain when they're sick, not whine for attention. But Hun's not that smart...
As for Mark and Maria sleeping in the same bed, I actually meant to write a whole heavy-handed arc about how awful it was for Mark to lose Maria, especially since they had consumated their relationship (assuming they had, anyway; sleeping in the same bed doesn't NECESSARILY mean any relations were going on...). But when I was dissuaded from making her leave Mark so he could find someone who actually deserved him, that went away.
Panel 8. I think this arc started because aforementioned sword-loving friend thought the cat was the cutest thing in the comic. Admittedly, it's wrong to say EVERYONE loves cats, but cute fuzzy animals are the cheapest and easiest way to get readers to your comic. Well, assuming you don't want the comic to be--er--geared towards the adult audience.
Julie's thought of the week. I seriously do like melted ice cream much better than un-melted. Ice cream soup, if you will. Plus, then you can mix it with chocolate and every bite's equally chocolatey...except if it's melted, maybe it's not really a bite....oh well...
11/11/98: Catastrophe page 2
Panel 2. Make the hair longer, take away the bangs, and that's what I look like in the morning.
Panel 4. Kind of impressive that Mark hasn't figured out that Maria doesn't like Hun yet...
Panel 5. Yay, blatant disregard for what day it is! I doubt Mark and Jenny would go out to fight crime on a Saturday.... Actually, I'm pretty sure it's Monday. But this is the first time I actually skipped a couple days in the "Mark and Jenny" chronology.
The first, but certainly not the last. Hahahahaha!
Panel 9. Utterly improbable situation, but that's the best part of "Mark and Jenny!" Besides, it's not like Mark OR Jenny is a trained professional in the art of...er...vigilante-ness...
Of course, that's also one of the major problems of this arc--pairing up Maria (a character few people seem to like anyway) with Jenny, and leaving Mark (the most popular character, at least with the girls) by the wayside. Mark gets left behind a lot, actually; I'm not entirely sure why. Although someone once said that Mark has the best superpower of all--lots and lots of money--so maybe he's just too powerful.... Or maybe nothing constructive gets done while he's around. ^_-;;;
11/18/98: Catastrophe page 3
Panel 1. I changed Maria's hair here, to make it less sketchy/easier to draw. Now it's just got darkening-type lines on the bottom-half, not all over. I'm not sure if it looks better or not, but that's her current look. I guess she combed all the dark lines out of the top once she got up that morning. ^_-
Looks to me like she's driving Mark's Corvette, but I don't know. I also wouldn't put it past Mark to buy Maria a car. Heck, he'd buy Jenny a car if she'd let him. Maria takes Mark's presents more freely...
Panel 3. I scoff at rulers! Ha!
Panel 5. I don't think Jenny likes Maria too much. But even if she didn't dislike her, it's hard to pleasantly greet someone who looks ready to kill someone...
Panel 6. I'm not sure if Jenny likes cats, or just knows why Hun's so important to Mark. (I think she does like cats, though.) Either way, she and Samuel probably can't afford to have one. ^^;
Panel 8. Mark lets Jenny drive? Of course, that doesn't explain why Maria would tell Jenny that Mark wanted her to drive... Of course, the reason she told Jenny Mark wanted Jenny to drive was because it's always fun to see Jenny drive. She enjoys it rather more than I do...
Julie's thought of the week. Cabbits are in the Anime Tenchi Muyo and related series. (I don't like Tenchi Muyo at all, but cabbits are cute.) Babbits are on the more obscure series "Kodomo no Omocha" ("Child's Toy"), which is a hilarious Anime with a fast-talking girl. That one will probably never make it to this country, which is too bad.
11/25/98: Catastrophe page 4
Panel 2. Come to think of it, Jenny's enthusiasm about driving probably stems from my college experience. For my first three years of college, no one I knew who lived nearby had a car, so we walked EVERYWHERE, or even sometimes took the bus. That's not much fun... I personally don't like driving much, but it's great to at least have SOMEONE with a car who can take you where you want to go. ^_^
Panel 7. This was just supposed to be a cute/pathetic panel. If it had had grays in it it might've helped; it looks like a sketchy meowing mess, the way it is.
Panel 8. Nope; Maria doesn't like cats. Not just Hun. Any cat.
12/02/98: Catastrophe page 5
Panels 1-3. Looks like Maria's afraid of cats....hmm...
Panel 8. It's kind of an Anime thing to have characters glare at each other and shoot lightning between their eyes and such. Also note Jenny's magic disappearing bandages.
Panel 10. Ah, Bruce/Sparrow. I thought he was kind of funny--an actual fake superhero in the world of vigilantes. But alas, he went away forever....or did he? Well, as of this writing, yes, he's gone.
In case you couldn't tell, this is a half-parody of the old Batman TV series (which I never saw, but which had hokey sound effect words come up during fights). It's also parodied on the Simpsons at least once (remember when they were trying to make the Radioactive Man movie and in the campy 70s version, he and Fallout Boy had to fight the Scoutmaster?)
12/09/98: Catastrophe page 6
Panel 1. I still don't quite understand why guys like to watch girls fight...
Panel 4. One of the first times a character's actively angry at the creator of the series (me). I like doing that, though. ^_^
Panel 9. The best way to get people to work together is to give them a common enemy. That's why some sociologist theorize that the only way to world peace is if aliens attack Earth. That's too bad, really.
Panel 10. First appearance of Cat. That's right; even when Maria decided she liked the cat she was too lazy to give it a real name. (Or--was I too lazy to name it? We may never know!)
I meant for it to be kind of a friend for Hun, and another cute fuzzy.
And no, I don't condone pet abuse. But did you ever notice there's some animals that just plain love the person who hates them the most? I don't understand why that is, but it's kinda funny.
12/16/98: Catastrophe page 7
Panel 1. Yes, the cat has spiraly Anime-type eyes. Anime characters sometimes go spiraly-eyed when they get whacked on the head. It happens a lot in the early episodes of the series "Rurouni Kenshin."
Panel 2. Jenny doesn't condone pet abuse either.
Panel 9. Jenny doesn't look like she's quite forgiven Maria for kicking that cat. Of course, probably some of my readers haven't either. ^^; But since the cat still likes Maria, hopefully most people think it's OK.
Julie's thought of the week. Yes, that 'Oro' thing actually got me out of getting thwacked. Only once, though.
12/23/98: Catastrophe page 8
Panel 1. I think this concept came from A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett; if not, it was probably another children's book. The basic concept was that the cat might be a very nice cat, but the problem is, Maria just doesn't like cats in general, so, by extension, she can't like this cat.
Panels 8-9. And now Jenny becomes the cold-hearted one! Of course, Jenny was quite recently used as bait herself...
Hun is very affectionate. I love cats like that. I've never had a cat who loved being petted all the time though; most just tolerate it. But then, my senior year of college (well, first two semesters out of three ^_-) my roommate had one, then two, VERY affectionate cats. Of course, that's well after this arc was written....
Panel 11. My aunt hates cats, I think because her brothers were mean to her using cats when she was younger. She stayed in our house a while ago and we had to lock up our innocent, stupid cat Maggie because she hates cats so much.
12/30/98: Catastrophe page 9
Yes, I inked this one with a paintbrush. (Well, I don't know about the lettering...) Have you ever seen those Chinese or Japanese drawings that are just a few simple strokes of a paintbrush, but look like a pretty woman or nature scene? I'd love to figure out how to do that someday...
Panel 3. See? Even Jenny remembers being used as bait. Smooooth.
Panel 7. Why anyone would think they couldn't be seen in a small alley is beyond me....of course, if it were the area of Tucson near the University, there probably would already be homeless people populating that area...
Panels 8-9. Probably my biggest failing at hatching. I probably should've done the lines on at least Maria and Jenny in some kind of curved/sketchier manner (to show that the lines were going over something). Well, I SHOULD have just grayed it on the computer, but at this point I was still insistent upon making comics that would photocopy...well, OK, Mair was an exception...^_^;;;
And with that I end this year's commentary. Click here to go on to next month's--but the best idea of all would probably be to at least go to the next comic page to look at it before you read the commentary. ^_^