Wheels comic for December 20, 1999

Introduction of Lenny’s girlfriend. I don’t think she ever had a name.

My artist’s tools consisted of copier paper and Sharpies. (Pretty fancy, eh?) Each single-panel strip filled most of an 8.5×11″ sheet of paper. I did most of my drawing with the “fine-point” Sharpies, which are actually pretty thick; once the strip is scanned and reduced, the line thickness ends up looking pretty good.

For this strip, I did most of the girlfriend’s face with “extra-fine-point” Sharpies, which actually are fine-point. It’s a pretty striking difference in thickness, and I’m not especially pleased with the final effect.

I’m more pleased with Lenny’s face. I intended his expression to be neutral, but the way the slight diagonal got pixelized makes it look like he’s grinning. I call it his “I’m gonna get lucky” grin.

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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.

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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.

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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.