Wheels comic for December 17, 1999

This visual still makes me grin.

When I was drawing Wheels strips, I would search Google Images for pictures of trucks, so I could get the scale and details approximately right. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a picture of the underside of a truck trailer? (I finally wound up pulling a Hot Wheels truck out of my old toy box and using it as a reference.)

It helped that I had already established a minimal, sometimes-even-sketchy style. No worries about the uncanny valley.

More Wheels comics

Wheels comic for December 16, 1999

You can tell this was written ten years ago. Do they even make car phones anymore? After all, why would anyone buy a phone that only works in your car? It’d be like buying a phone that only works in your house.

Anyway, this strip marks the introduction of Max, though he won’t be officially named in the strip until three days from now. You’ll be seeing more of him — he was fun to write for.

More Wheels comics

Illegal alien?

I just started re-reading my copy of Illegal Alien, a sci-fi murder-mystery courtroom drama. (Aliens visit Earth, a man is murdered, suspicion falls on one of the aliens. Good book.)

That got me thinking. Ignore the murder thing for a moment — just focus on the “alien” part. What would happen if space aliens landed in Arizona right now? Would they be asked for their papers? Arrested? Deported? (What would that mean?)

After all, I doubt the legislators thought to make a special case for first contact. Would there be an opportunity to waive the law for a special case like that?

I just wonder about these things.

Me the webcartoonist

Note: if you came here for programming stuff (and you’re reading this instead), consider subscribing to my programming feed instead of my general feed.

A little over ten years ago, I did a brief stint as a webcartoonist for hire.

I was working for a Web development company, and my boss sold a client on the idea of putting an original daily comic on their site, as a way to get return visitors and word-of-mouth advertising. The comic was paired with a joke-of-the-day e-mail, which really was there to serve as the RSS feed for the comic, except that nobody had heard of RSS yet. The client was in the trucking business, so the comic, naturally, was trucker-themed. It was called “Wheels”.

I took over as writer/cartoonist about halfway through the run. The previous cartoonist had been getting paid for her work, but I wound up not earning a dime for my month-and-a-half run (there were miscommunications). But I found that I enjoy writing funny stories about misfit characters (as reprised in “The Littlest Evil Overlord”), even if I can’t actually draw characters that look the same two days in a row.

At the end of the initial three-month run, the client canceled the project, having found that they really weren’t very good at marketing a webcomic to their customers. Thus ended my brief, not-so-lucrative career as a cartoonist. Shortly thereafter, the client got bought out by another company, their old Web site (with the comic on it) was taken down, and my hard work and misfit characters vanished into the dusty archives of memory.

Until now. I’ve managed to dig up old copies of all 50 strips I drew, and I’ll be posting them here over the next few weeks for your reading enjoyment (or other emotion, as appropriate). I’ve even got a few ideas for new content, which I might or might not get around to ever writing.

Stay tuned.