Geek Speak – Heroic Poser

I don’t know if I’m in love with these names, but I’m officially going with Ted and Francis for these characters. They were going to need names eventually, but I couldn’t settle on one that A.) I liked, and B.) didn’t sound like I was lifting it from another (perhaps better) comic. With no better options presenting themselves I have arrived at Ted for the guy who talks to animals and Francis for Captain Dum Dum. To be honest I do think Francis is a funny name for a superhero.

The process of completing the finishing work on these strips using Sketchbook Pro seems to be getting easier, though it does still take more time than if I were to do it by hand. On this strip I think it helped to do the finishing work using a brush with settings I had customized. Tweaks to the brush settings produced the cleanest lines I’ve made in Sketchbook Pro yet.

From the moment I created these characters I knew they were going to be roommates. The struggle was to find a reason for them to stay together. Every time I imagined Ted talking about his crazy superhero roommate, who also happens to be dumber than a bag of hammers, the only response that made any sense was, “Why don’t you move?” If they’re brothers it solves the “Why does Ted stay?” problem and it raises the stakes in the relationship. Me likey high stakes. They make for good comedy.

Star Trekking

A few times before our son was born my wife and I left our daughter in the capable hands of friends who volunteered to watch her, and went out on a date night. We didn’t really deviate from dinner and a movie for our date night activities, but getting time together without the offspring is such a rare opportunity we weren’t going to let a lack of originality be an obstacle to our enjoyment.

Our first dinner and a movie date was to see Star Trek: Into Darkness, which I covered in an earlier post.
It may come as a shock, but I really like Star Trek. I can barely remember a time that I didn’t enjoy taking an hour or two to sit down and watch some episodes of Star Trek, Star Trek: the Next Generation, or one of the many movies (though some are better than others). I’ve even enjoyed several of the Star Trek novels. Every time [insert your favorite captain here] gives the order to go to warp speed and the action cuts away to an exterior shot of the Enterprise as its powerful engines send the ship hurtling off into the stars I get a small thrill.

My lifelong love of all things Trek can be easily traced back to my grandfather on my dad’s side, a man I grew up calling Grandpa. He had an incredibly active and inventive mind and was constantly tinkering with things. His life was amazing. He was born in the early 1900s, moved with his family to Alaska long before it was made a state, became an airplane mechanic and pilot with is brother and flew charter passengers into South America, he was in the Alaskan Guard (not the mainland U.S. army) in World War II, and the list goes on from there.

Here’s the thing, I was born in the late 70s, and he was already, admittedly, an old man by then. We were products of radically different worlds. He was one of the greatest generation, and I am marginally Generation X. His is the generation of flight, the space race, and many of humanity’s landmark achievements. Mine is the generation of video games and MTV. Any chance of us finding something in common was pretty remote.

Then he introduced me to Star Trek, and we found it.

We would talk for hours about all things Trek. The movies, the shows, the latest episode of Star Trek, the Next Generation. He would tape episodes of the original series off of the TV and give them to me on VHS (these were the days before DVD, never mind DVR). I would watch them over, and over, and we would talk about them. He had a bookshelf full of Star Trek novels, and I read many of them.

We were Trekkers. Across a rift of years that constituted not one, but two generations the bridge of the starship Enterprise brought us together. I can’t watch any Star Trek now without thinking of him, and how much I miss being able to share it with him. It’s a bittersweet thing, but it’s very special to me.