Robot Comic Introduction

October 26, 2007 - posted in work in progress

To start my new robot comic, I made a three-part introduction.


I’m Workin’

October 24, 2007 - posted in work in progress

I’m workin’ today. Are you workin’?

Where the Paths Cross

October 20, 2007 - posted in work in progress

So there’s the animated Work In Progress, and the comic strip that stems from it. Both take place in the same fictional world of robots. The short is more broad and doesn’t revolve around any specific character. The strip has several regular characters.

But there is at least one moment when the strip and the short cross paths. This still from the comic strip depicts some robots coming across a skeleton under a berry bush. What they have stumbled on is the aftermath of one of the scenes from the short.

That seems to be the only moment where the two stories overlap so far. That’s all I know.

Ed Emberley’s Fingerprint Drawings

October 19, 2007 - posted in work in progress

My mom recently retired from many years of teaching elementary school. She collected hundreds of childrens’ books over the years, which she has now passed on to her grandchildren. Among the books we got was Ed Emberley’s “Great Thumbprint Drawing Book.” I came across it the other day and looked through it for the first time since maybe 3rd grade.

It seems to have been, for better or worse, a terribly strong subconscious influence on me.

Non-Animated WIP – Sneak Peek 2

October 11, 2007 - posted in work in progress

Non-Animated WIP – Sneak Peek!

October 10, 2007 - posted in work in progress

Here are a couple sneak peeks at some of the non-animated portion of the Mystery Work in Progress. Obviously, it’s a comic strip sort of thing. I don’t know where it’s going, but I’m going to keep making it for a while and see what happens.

Soon this thing will launch full-steam on its own Web site. Stay tuned!


Test 1: “At the End of the Day”


Test 2: “Superbot!”

The Frog Fountain

September 5, 2007 - posted in sundries

Between a pile of freelance work and my usual day job, I’ve continued creeping along on the non-animated facet of the Mystery Work In Progress, which I still hope to launch this fall.

I was doing more writing than I had time to animate, and most of the writing seemed to center around the same themes and characters. So now I’ve got all this material and I need to put it somewhere. It’s a little bit like having to poop… except for the impulse to share it with the public… which in both cases is unhealthy…

A lot of this writing was done at a certain coffee shop (I won’t mention its name because all you have to do is look out your window and there’s probably one there). Normally, I’d hang at one of the local joints. But this particular location, in a busy shopping district in Kansas City, has a special feature that I enjoy.

This bizarre fountain, brought back from Italy in 1928 by a major Kansas City land developer, depicts a frog squirting water straight into the crotch of a cherub, who looks absolutely ecstatic about the whole thing. (who wouldn’t?)**

About two feet above this lovely scene is a large window and a comfortable table inside the coffee shop. Beyond that is a fireplace. There is no better place in the world to write cartoons.

A constant stream of tourists and suburban shoppers passes this fountain, holding their shopping bags and cameras. As I sit there, every few minutes I’m treated to the sight of a family doing a double take, stopping in their tracks, pointing, smiling, joking amongst themselves, and then snapping a picture.

Kids under a certain age don’t find it funny or odd. (why on earth wouldn’t a cherub have a frog squirting him in the junk?) Older kids find it hilarious. Most adults do too. Some of them try to hide it. Once in a while a pack of high-school kids will walk by and struggle to maintain their fragile teenage composure. Few can resist smiling as they pass.

Nothing washes out the wretched stench of cynicism that can come from working in commercial art like spending an hour next to this statue. People are caught off guard, and for a brief moment they stop trying to look cool and just smile and point like first graders. It’s an oddly beautiful thing.

You can keep your Rodin and your Michelangelo and your Lipchitz and Moore. Give me Rafaello Romanelli’s masterpiece, “Frog Spritzing Cherub In Wee Wee.”

So that’s where I sit and write sometimes. If you’re ever in the neighborhood, come say hi. Better yet– let’s have a secret code so I’ll know it’s you!

If you see a guy sitting at the table by the fountain, watching the people and scribbling in a notebook, come up to him and say this Secret Production Log Pass Phrase:

“Excuse me. I’m looking for Mr. Romanelli.”

If he replies with the Secret Production Log Answer Phrase:


then you’ll know it’s me… or some unsuspecting, foul-mouthed stranger…

A Mystery Work in Progress and Its Hideous Spawn

April 21, 2007 - posted in work in progress

The 8 or 10 of you who read this production log have no doubt been wondering, “Where has Chris been lately? Has he fallen ill? Joined the Army? Gone to prison? Has he killed again?! Oh, dear. We should have kept a closer eye on him!”

It’s a funny thing, life. The last post I made here was about how I burned out on comic strips at the age of 23, and have never looked back.

Well, in putting that post together, I was forced to look back. And with ten years’ distance, I actually kind of liked what I saw.

Long story short, I’ve been experimenting with something new.

I might be announcing this new thing in about a month. It takes a different approach to the same material I’ve already been dealing with in the Mystery Work In Progress. Work on the short will continue too. But the story and its characters have become too big for one short, and have splintered into two projects– one animated, and one NOT ANIMATED! What?! Yes.

I feel very weird and unsure about all this. These past couple of months have been a hell of a bizarre trip, with flashbacks and strange feelings of being young again, even though I can’t stay up past 9:30 anymore. But I’m following my gut, and that’s never failed me before! (oh, wait…)

Stay tuned!

The Insects

April 19, 2007 - posted in sundries

Here are some specimens from the ol’ robot entomology collection. Might these have anything to do with the Mystery Work in Progress? Probably not. But I’m not sure yet. The words that best describe the Mystery Work in Progress are: a) “Mysterious,” and b) “In Progress.”

Green Screen Movie Magic

April 18, 2007 - posted in work in progress

Last night I put Post-It Note tabs on my fingers and waved my hand in front of a video camera for a few seconds. Why did I do this? Don’t worry your pretty little head about it. It’s all part of my patented Cargo Cult animation process.

This has nothing to do with the cartoon, but I noticed in the background of my weird little green screen experiment, you can see a hilarious NYT Style Magazine spread on my desk. On the left is an article called Starved to Perfection: Why Are We Not Entitled to Take Up Space? which documents the horrible images many women have of their bodies and the obsession with looking thinner at all costs. Fair enough.

On the page facing the article is an ad for Tummy Tuck Jeans shrieking:


This is obviously a subject NYT Style takes very seriously. And as you can imagine, it really got me thinking about how fat and disgusting my hand looks in this video! God! It’s so fat and ugly! My finger is, like, bulging out around my ring! God!

I’m putting my hand on a lettuce and cigarette diet until it’s pretty again.

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