69. Bigger on the Inside

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The first five pages of Asteroid Stu and the Mind-Duel.

Like Dr. Who’s Tardis, Dr. Dud’s Simulated Ivory Tower is bigger on the inside.

I always get some strange kick when I’m able to bust out of the “series of little boxes” mode in a comic book. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a very useful convention, I don’t think I could make coherent (or at least semi-coherent) comics without it. But it’s fun to give the usual format the slip every once in a while, like escaping from prison. Only sillier.

I said in the last post I was going to post one page at a time. Phooey with that! It just doesn’t make sense from a storyteller perspective, does it?

Dr. Dud, alias Professor I.Q. (or Eyecue), alias Dr. Deviant, alias Benny the Beard, and his amphibian assistant SuperFrog are my oldest cartoon characters. I think Dr. Dud came first when I was about 12 years old. He was based on a friend’s crazy scientist character, who was in turn a direct steal from Isotope Feeny, a Terrytoon villain who was the foil of Tom Terrific. Here’s a YouTube sample, “Isotope Feeny’s Foolish Fog.” I saw Tom Terrific on “Captain Kangaroo,” an ancient kid’s show. If you get these references without doing the research, you’re a “senior citizen” too.

SuperFrog, an amphibian from another galaxy, originated while I was an undergraduate in college, when I should have been studying for my calculus or German or sociology classes. I always have had a certain empathy for frogs.

This amphibian connection was born out much later when I was in a men’s group in the 80’s. [See “Mythopoetic men’s movement.“] We would pound on drums and talk about our feelings and make up little rituals. It all sounds incredibly silly –it was, but it also was a way to relate to other men in a different way than I’d ever experienced. At one point, emulating Native Americans (we imagined –we were all middle-class white guys, so what did we know?), we chose animal totems. The other guys picked macho critters –wolf, bear, cougar, and the like. I think I settled for an otter. But later on, I realized my true totem: the humble frog.

A good totem for a meditator, I think! Frogs can sit perfectly still for long periods, waiting for a bug to make a fly-by. Of course, a frog’s brain is about the size of a jumbo peanut, but somehow, I don’t feel diminished. You can have your big mammals. I admit they’re impressive, but even with a large dose of wild imagination, they just aren’t “me.”

Frog Mask
Frog mask hanging in an honored spot above my studio door.

MC&S-72 Multiverse Comics and Stories, 106 pages, full color, is available from Amazon in Kindle and hardcopy formats.

AS&MD-72 Asteroid Stu and the Mind-Duel, 54 pages, black and white interior, is also available in Kindle and hardcopy formats from Amazon. Both comics include Edzl, the Nebboid from the Vague Nebula, who will be the lead character in a running feature story, “Edzl’s Awakening: Or, Yes We Have Some Nibbanas.” This will be part of Pause & Reflect Comics, currently in progress.

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