Junior Mad Scientist – Lab Notes

NOBLE FAILURE #8 (Another 24-Hour Comic)

September 12th, 2007 by Weber

NOBLE FAILURE #8 (August 2007)


(This probably should have been posted prior to my September attempt. Ran into some problems trying to layout the pages and get them converted to decent sized PDFs. Problems solved, thanks to the wife. See below.)

Noble Failure #8, Part I — “Monkeys On An Elevator
(click here to download PDF) (1.34MB)

Noble Failure #8, Part II — “Inter-Galactic Space Patrol”
(click here to download PDF) (1.6MB)

The August comic is — surprise, surprise! — another noble failure. I’m not even sure if they can be considered noble any more, just failures.

Don’t get me wrong: the stories are getting better and art is a little more serviceable, but I’m barely paying attention to the time requirements any more.

When I start these things, it’s with the full intent to do all 24 pages in 24 hours. But man, it’s getting rougher, even with all the household/baby wrangling support from the lovely and talented Stephanie. By hour 18, I’m pretty well fried.

I’m glad I’m doing this little project, and pleasantly surprised with most of the results. I’ll tell you what, though. I’m already looking forward to January.

The August issue started great: ten pages in eight hours. How awesome is that? Frickin’ awesome, if you ask me. Then things started to fall apart: Distractions, my perfection obsession — the usual.

I did get all 24 pages penciled in 24 hours, but then went back and did the inks.

Due to layout changes in the two stories, this issue is split into separate files.

Read. Enjoy. Comment.


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“five gesticulating ants”

July 19th, 2007 by Weber


“On Friday noon, July the twentieth, 1714, the finest bridge in all Peru broke and precipitated five travellers into the gulf below.”

So starts THE BRIDGE OF SAN LUIS REY, one of the finest books in the English language. (Thornton Wilder’s “faintly contemptible vessel” earned him the 1928 Pulitzer Prize for literature. Wilder was 31 years old. THE BRIDGE was his second novel. The son of a bitch.)

Today — today exactly– marks the 293 anniversary of the fictitious rent, but how often can it be celebrated like this? On the precise day, date and hour?

The last time we could have done so was in 2001, an interesting year for Wilder’s story. Not only did the dates coincide for the bridge, the story was used to commemorate collapse — the September 11th felling of the Twin Towers.

On September 21, 2001, British Prime Minister Tony Blair quoted these last few lines:

“But soon we will die, and all memories of those five will have left earth, and we ourselves shall be loved for a while and forgotten. But the love will have been enough; all those impulses of love return to the love that made them. Even memory is not necessary for love. There is a land of the living and a land of the dead, and the bridge is love. The only survival, the only meaning.”

Mr. Blair’s reading resulted in a well-deserved “rediscovery” of THE BRIDGE and Wilder’s other works.

THE BRIDGE OF SAN LUIS REY is not an easy book. Wilder never comes right out and tells, “Why these five?” There’s a lot to get from it and it is worth repeated readings, or listenings of Sam Waterston’s excellent performance.

Even if all you get from it is that last bit, about “the bridge is love,” then you’ve got a lot more than you had before.

The next “Friday noon, July the twentieth” to won’t be until 2012, 2018, then 2029.

Mark your calendars.

(click here for more on THE BRIDGE OF SAN LUIS REY)

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Noble Failure #7 (Another 24-Hour Comic)

July 19th, 2007 by Weber

NOBLE FAILURE #7 (July 2007) — Super Samurai Special!


Revenge Of The One-Arm Samurai
(click here to download PDF) (1.8MB)

The ink on this comic makes all the difference. The story was good in pencils, but with the heavy blacks and strategic use of wash, it’s SO much better. I’m sure you’ll agree.

This month’s effort is a comeback after my breakdown on #6 is already one of my favorites, second only to The Pancake Tree.

Along with narrative improvements, you’ll notice the change in presentation: no more clicky-open-X-to-closey for viewing each page. Now the comic is all there in one easy-to-ready file.

Why the change, you ask? Blame it on my dead grandmother. The PDF format worked so well for that story it seemed smart to try it on a longer one.

Yeah, yeah, there are still a few technical issues to work out. Even so, this may become the standard presentation format for any future comics, including the five 24-Hour ones left for 2007. Let me know what you think via the comments section.


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Noble Failure #7 — Super Samurai Special!!!

July 6th, 2007 by Weber


This month’s 24-Hour comic came out better than I expected.

Due to a number of weekend commitments this month (e.g., the upcoming L.A.T.E Ride though downtown Chicago, and the San Diego Comic-Con), the latest attempt was started at 6AM on the 4th and, within a mere 20 hours, 24 pages of comics were scripted and penciled.

Alas, no cover.

During the time it took to ink seven of the pages came the realization that there was no way to finish this book and make it look any good. So yes, another “noble failure”, but I’m happy with it.

And right about now you’re wondering, “If it’s so damned great, where are the pages?”

I’m probably going to catch a lot of crap for this, being how it’s against the official rules, but I’m going to finish inking the pages. The story warrants it. Besides, the pencils are illegible as scans.

Patience, my friends, patience. The finished inks should be up by next Thursday. They’ll be worth your wait.

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Noble Failure #6 (Another 24-Hour Comic)

June 14th, 2007 by Weber

Noble Failure #6 (June 2007)


Apologies for not posting last Thursday night/Friday morning; I was deep in the throes of this month’s 24-Hour Comic. And it wasn’t going well.

This one feels less like a “Noble Failure” than a Miserable one, though I did learn more about my process and what it might take to make a successful one next time. Things such as:

  • Don’t make a day-start after 7AM or an evening-start before 9PM
  • Do a couple of pages of art first, then move to a script session
  • Don’t script for more than 90 minutes
  • Do draw and ink the longest story first
  • Don’t waste time calling ComEd about the power being out
  • Do a good job of lettering sound effects
  • Don’t rush the art; you’ll regret it
  • Do schedule more than two weeks between 24-Hour Comics

As you’re bound to notice, the Mr. Punch story isn’t finished. The four pages presented aren’t even inked. Fret not: the world will eventually see how it ends. I’ll be using it to help me learn the secret kung-fu of vector graphic illustration.

“There’s a difference between knowing the clipping path, and walking the clipping path.”


So, yeah. Stay tuned for that.

Enjoy the comic.

nf6cover.jpg nf6p01.jpg nf6p02.jpg nf6p03.jpg nf6p04.jpg nf6p05.jpgnf6p06.jpg nf6p07.jpg nf6p08.jpg nf6p09.jpg nf6p10.jpg nf6p11.jpg nf6p12.jpg nf6p13.jpg nf6p14.jpg nf6p15.jpg nf6p16.jpg

Posted in 24-Hour Comics, Art, Comics, Stories, Writing | 3 Comments »

My Dead Grandmother Keeps Getting Mail

May 31st, 2007 by Weber


My Dead Grandmother Keeps Getting Mail
(click above to open the PDF) (1.5M)

(Best viewed at 85% zoom or higher. Scroll slowly when reading.)

Here it is! The long-awaited, much-touted mystery comic. It took nine months to do, but the finished story came out much better than expected thanks to two key people:

The wife, who aided with various visual elements and let me tie up her iMac for a whole day.

My wonderful and tolerant mother, who provided old snapshots and acted as a photo reference without asking too many questions. (And to think she was worried I was going to do something weird with those pictures.)

This comic is dedicated with a great deal of love to the memory of my grandmother — who really did die 14 years ago and whose mail still gets delivered to my house.

I miss you, Charlie. Now more than ever.

Posted in Art, Comics, Stories, Writing | 2 Comments »

Noble Failure #5 (Another 24-Hour Comic)

May 24th, 2007 by Weber

NOBLE FAILURE #5 (May 2007)



At last, a full 24-page comic. It took 32 hours to complete. The extra time included a much needed nap and two — yes, TWO — trips to the orthodontist. Without the various interruptions, the book would have clocked-in at 26 hours, so it was going to be noble failure either way. Still, I’m fairly pleased with this effort.

Scanning/rescanning, sizing, and uploading all these pages has eaten-up all this week’s hours allocated for blogging. Rest assured, though: there will be more details soon on the overall process, this particular issue, and what was done differently to help me finally hit the standard page count.

Meanwhile, enjoy!

Have a safe and happy holiday weekend.

nf5cover_a_sm.jpg nf5cover_b.jpg nf5p01.jpg nf5p02.jpg nf5p03.jpg nf5p04.jpg nf5p05.jpg nf5p06.jpg nf5p07.jpg nf5p08.jpg nf5p09.jpg nf5p101.jpg nf5p11.jpg nf5p12.jpg nf5p13.jpg nf5p14.jpg nf5p15.jpg nf5p16.jpg nf5p17.jpg nf5p18.jpg nf5p19.jpg nf5p20.jpg nf5p21.jpg nf5p22.jpg nf5p23.jpg nf5p24.jpg

Posted in 24-Hour Comics, Comics, Stories, Writing | 3 Comments »

The Scrimshaw Skeleton

May 10th, 2007 by Weber


When Webmaster MIKE created this site, he added the subhead, ‘Startling Stories For All Ages.’

“So,” you’re asking, “where are the stories?”

From all the art and book reviews I’ve posted over the last six weeks, it’d be fair to suppose there aren’t any stories — startling or otherwise. Maybe it’s propaganda or wishful thinking.

Ah, but there are stories. Many. And plenty of other writings.

Several aren’t up here yet due to logistics: I’m still figuring out the best way to present those online. Some things are in the process of being written. Others are just too painful to share. Not because they’re personal or tragic, but because the writing is terrible.

I’m working on it, though.

One story, I can share from the still-being-worked-on file, is my prologue to THE SCRIMSHAW SKELETON.

Read the rest of this entry »

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The Request Lines Are Now Open

April 26th, 2007 by Weber

The site had been live for a couple of weeks when came this unexpected piece of fan mail:

I‘ve checked your site out a couple of times and it looks good.

I feel that you should put that poem you wrote about “loving you best when you are very far away” on there. I love that one!

Also, be careful what you wish for if you ask other people to write something about you! I’ll bet I could come up with a something verrry interesting!

Keep up the hard work!

Love, Mom

This started a hunt through the floppy disk archives for something I wrote back in 1993. It was eventually re-discovered on one of the dozen or so back-ups that was part of my regular college writing routine.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Noble Failure #4 (Another 24-Hour Comic)

April 26th, 2007 by Weber


NOBLE FAILURE #4 (April 2007)

READ! the stunning conclusion to TOPOR: THE THING THAT SLEPT — Can the diminutive Dr. Riley and his sexy, cycloptic, assistant survive the tired trespasser from space?

GUFFAW! at the antics of those mischievous MONKEYS ON AN ELEVATOR!

WONDER! why I can’t do 24 pages in 24 Hours!

(scroll beyond the art for more sly commentary)

nf04cover.jpg nf04p1.jpg nf04p2.jpg nf04p3.jpg nf04p4.jpg nf04p5.jpg nf04p6.jpg nf04p7.jpg nf04p8.jpg nf04p9.jpg nf04p10.jpg nf04p11.jpg

(Sincere apologies to the great Jack Kirby for misappropriating some of the artwork from Fantastic Four #1. The King is dead. LONG LIVE THE KING!)

Read the rest of this entry »

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