Saturday, March 21, 2009

"We manufacture miracles"


This was one of the ideas Leo and I pitched as a DFC strip. Fangleworths was a factory run by robots. They built the kind of way-out gadgets that used to feature in articles about the way we'd live in the future. Except that future never arrived - instead of anti-gravity galoshes and teleport tubes, we got iPods and... er, more iPods. So Fangleworths was constantly on the verge of bankruptcy. They do say write about what you know :)

The team line-up there is (left to right) Chug, Fidel the inventor, Boomer, Rummage the "dog", Nettie, and the big guy is Stacks.

We had some idea the strip would be created in Lightwave. Leo actually had made all the 3D models, not just the characters but the factory itself.

Fangleworths would have been for younger kids than Mirabilis - so probably a better fit with the readership the comic ended up with, I think now. But, much as I like our robots, I'm glad we went with Mirabilis instead.






8 comments:

  1. That looks terrific. I know David Fickling mentioned Pixar in reference to the DFC's philosophy of quality storytelling, and Fangleworths gives that feeling right away with its 3D graphics - wonderfully evocative. (Wasn't Sneaky the Elephant tried out in 3D at first?).

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  2. By one of those curious coincidences that make you wonder if the world is actually a tightly-moderated MMOG, the guy who did the 3D version of Sneaky used to work in Leo's studio in Brighton.

    We were definitely aiming for the Pixar feel with Fangleworths. Or Pixar by way of Aardman, maybe, since it's a bit too British in feel to be truly Pixar.

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  3. Oh they're all so cute!! :)

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  4. "They built the kind of way-out gadgets that used to feature in articles about the way we'd live in the future. Except that future never arrived - instead of anti-gravity galoshes and teleport tubes, we got iPods and... er, more iPods. So Fangleworths was constantly on the verge of bankruptcy."
    That is all very ironinc given the current situation. Maybe, just maybe the DFC is just not catching the kid zeitgeist and does hark back to an older age of comics too much. Are we all making anti-grav galoshes rather than iPods?

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  5. That is always a risk. I aim to create the feelings that my favourite comic strips evoked in me as a child, but not to copy those strips themselves.

    TV21 was the must-have comic when I was 8 years old, but copies of that (oh yeh, I still have them all!) look pretty staid alongside 2000AD twenty years later. Agent 21 is like your uncle answering letters compared to the anarchic exuberance of Tharg the Mighty.

    These days, most kids' all-consuming obsession is reserved for things like WoW, Mirror's Edge, God of War, etc. (I know that 10-year-olds are supposed to play God of War, but they do.) I guess the DFC could have done with a dash of that, while not necessarily having to go as far as doomed, suicidal Spartans painted with the ashes of their own dead foes :)

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  6. In my rose-tinted and naive (I've been told!) view, it's always a good story that matters, no matter what the packaging (eg. the style of the comic). Locking into current kid crazes might be good for the short-term (and that's in no way a bad thing), but if the story is genuinely good, it can be about anything. The shelves of WHSmith are full of "comics" all trying to cash in on current bandwagons.

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  7. I agree with Garen. I talked to Tom DeFalco just before he became Editor-in-Chief at Marvel.

    He told me that Transformers was just about the only licenced property that had worked. By the time they'd got a licencing deal for a toy, set up a comic, written it and drawn it, the kids had moved onto something else.

    Fangleworths looks great

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  8. I heard from a friend of mine who deals a lot with the UK Film Council. They are all saying, "Look for the next Twilight! Look for the next Slumdog!"

    As he pointed out: "Isn't the whole point about Twilight and Slumdog is that they weren't what anybody was looking for?"

    Non-creatives look for rules and formulae. Meanwhile, the rest of us just create stuff for ourselves and hope!

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