MICE Workshop

No, unfurtunately I will NOT be conducting a drawing workshop for mice (the animal) this weekend.  I will be conducing a unfolding comics workshop for MICE (the comics fest) this weekend!!

Fold-Out Comics with Jon Chad
If you thought that a book is just made up of a cover, back cover, and all the business in-between, think again! There is a wide variety of folding and book construction techniques that can help create a truly unique reading experience. Jon Chad from the Center for Cartoon Studies will walk through the basics of comic-making and how to make your own unfolding minicomic!

I'm super-duper pumped and ready to go!  Come on down and see some great examples of some unfolding books, as well as make your own!  Also, I'll be selling those new-fangled robot blueprints that I printed earlier this week.  You'll get one FREE with a purchase of my book, Leo Geo, or it's just $5 on its own.  Just please...PLEASE don't sell these blueprints to the forces of evil!!

See you there!!


Operation: Robo No Go

Sorry for the spat of silence from us here at the Fizzmont Institute.  Things got REALLY tense here for a little while.  A Code: Red All Stop was declared on ALL ongoing projects.  Everyone was called into  the Fizzmont HQ in Italy in order to rally all departments for a joint venture.

We were told at HQ that enemies of the Fizzmont Institute were planning something BIG.  We had reliable leads that indicated that the puppet companies Harada Robotics Design Coalition and Qhumlata Energy Drive Systems had been commissioned to design a giant robot for EVIL!  While I can't reveal the details of what went down, but nearly 90% of Fizzmont departments contributed to what is now being called Operation Robo No Go.  I'm happy to report that the operation was a complete success!  Not only did we cripple Qhumlata's ability to fabricate the necessary reactors, but we also obtained all 75 copies of the blueprints of the giant robot from Harada's lab.

Whoever was planning on building this robot is going to be out of luck!  I have to admit, even though the robot in the blueprints was meant for evil, it's a pretty sweet image.  I have been given permission by the Fizzmont Institute to sell off the extra blueprints, with the stipulation that I don't sell them to the forces of evil.  No problem!  I'm going to have these classified documents for sale at the upcoming MICE comics show this weekend in Boston!  You should come by and say hi!  This is my fist time at MICE, and I've heard its a totally awesome show.  


SPX Goodies

For those of you who pick up a copy of Leo Geo at SPX this weekend, you'll receive it in a handsomely printed liquor bag.  Unfortunately, I didn't have the time to screen-print it, but that gave me the ability to have a design with a butt-billion colors.  Was it hard to put through a photocopier? Maybe a little!  It was harder to set up the custom paper size.  I think they came out pretty good!

As I mentioned last post, I will have a copy of the BAD-ventures of Bobo Backslack dummy.  I realized that a lot of people haven't even seen what that looks like, so I thought I'd take a picture, just in case you won't be at SPX : (


SPX or Science Propagation eXperiment

Hello!  This week classes are starting up at the Center for Cartoon Studies.  It's been great to see all those bright-eyed and bushy tailed 1st years jumping into the curriculum.  I can't wait to see what they come up!

Well, things have cooled down with LG2, thankfully, so I've had time to unwind with some pinball and Leo Geo illustrations.  I've got a nice buffer of blog fodder.  In other news, I'm going to be hitting the road this weekend; the road...to Bethesda, MD, for the Small Press Exposition!  This is one of my favorite shows of the year.  I feel like I haven't gotten the chance to be as excited as I could be, but let me tell YOU, once I get in that car, and the rubber hits the road, this Chad is going to be P-U-M-P-E-D.  Naturally, I'll have copies of Leo Geo on me, as well as issues of Bikeman and the Bobo Backslack dummy (if you really want to read about a guy living in a snake, kissing cats).  For the third year in a row (hat trick!) I'll be tabling with the beyond talented Colleen Frakes and Laura Terry!  I can't think of a more deadly 3-headed beast!  "But JON CHAD?!" I hear you cry, "where can I find this majestic amalgamation of talent?"  Ha ha, ASK AND YE SHALL RECIEVE!  I swiped this map from Colleen!
We're right by the entrance at J3!  Pretty choice!  Come by and say hi!!

Anywho, I was combing through some old photos at the Fizzmont Institute and I came across this little gem taken back in 2002:
You can see Leo Geo booting up our supercomputer that was built by his brother, Matt Data.  One of Leo's other siblings, Alan Aqua, is there on the right hand side.  FizzCOM (as he's since been renamed by the Department of Preemptive Legal Action Avoidance) had worked out GREAT ever since.  He manages to keep track of the wide variety of experiments going on here at the Institute.  Since I work mostly by a drawing desk, the only times I interact with him is when I visit the Scanning Division to scan original art.

Well, I hope to see you guys at SPX! 


Atragon: an Intersection in my Venn Diagram of Interests

I’m a HUGE fan of Tokusatsu, especially the Toho franchise.  Godzilla vs. Megalon?  Godzilla vs. Destroyah?  Godzilla vs Bioante?  Are you kidding me?  This stuff is PURE GOLD.  When I heard that Tristar was going to be releasing an AMERICAN Godzilla movie, my adolescent Jon Chad heart leapt for joy.  Well, we all know how THAT turned out… 

As if PLEADING for my forgiveness, Tristar released the Toho Godzilla 2000 movie stateside.  While not the best Godzilla movie ever made, it was the first in the Millennium series of Godzilla movies, and the only one I ever saw in theatres.  It remains on of my favorite movie-going experiences.

Meanwhile, on a different arm of movie interests are submarine movies.  This love is something that my father and me share.  My dad sums it up best:

“It’s got all the attraction of the war genre, with the added pressure of the encompassing ocean.  You’ve got an underwater fortress, manly men that have nowhere to go but straight into danger, and you’re guaranteed that some poor plucky young sailor named after a New York borough is going to have to swim into the flooded engine compartment at some point to close a valve.  What’s not to like!?”

Ahhhh, truer words have never been spoken. 

All of this is merely to set up these two differing cinema interests.  Where they intersect is the 1963 Japanese Tokusatsu film, Atragon.  To sum it up, a race of people living underneath the earth, the Mu Empire, plan to invade the surface.  To accomplish this, the Muians steal the I-403 submarine from WWII veteran, Captain Jinguji.  Even though Captain Jinguji has plans for an even more powerful Undersea Fortress, the Atragon, he is still upset about Japan’s defeat in WWII, and refuses to help.  He eventually comes around and agrees to help the surface humans; launching the Atragon against the Mu Empire.  The final battle pits the Atragon against a kaiju (Japanese giant monster) controlled by the Mu; Manda the sea serpent.

I know that I say this a lot, but this movie HAS IT ALL!  There are freeze rays, submarines that can also fly and have drills on the front, explosions, monsters, you name it!  Is it cheesy?  Most assuredly, but that only adds to the charm.  There’s something really authentic about the conceit of making a submarine fly.  It’s a great combination of two distinct genres that make for a really unique movie.  

In 1995, Phoenix Entertainment released a two-episode anime special based on Atragon named Super Atragon.  The design of the titular craft (which, admittedly, is called the Ra in the anime) is awesome.  While it plays a little fast and loose with the aliens and the story (and there's no Manda) it's pretty fun.  My favorite part of the anime is the cylindrical, almost monolithic alien warships.  They're not particularly inspired, but each comes with an bevy of "gravity lenses;" rings that fly around and redirect lasers.  Super cool.  So cool, in fact, that I drew some fan art.


Crush them, Giant Robo!! pt1

I'm going to take a quick departure from talking/stressing about working on LG2 to talk about something near and dear to my heart: giant robots.  I'm a huge fan of the giant robot genre, but more so a fan of the super robot subsection.  There are two subsections to the giant robot genre: real robot and super robot.  Real robots are defined by having mechanics and operations based on real world physics, as well as limited ammunition.  Perfect examples of real robots would be Mobile Suit Gundam, the Evangelions, Patlabor, Mechwarrior, etc.  The super robot genre I find to be characterized by two things: mechanics or operations based on fictional elements/undiscovered power sources, and a method of control that isn't appropriate for the complexity of the robot.  Let's look at a roster of super robots: Jehuty and Anubis from my favorite robot game of all time, Zone of the Enders, the Megazord, the robots from Robot Alchemic Drive, Red Baron, RahXephon, the Argento Soma Robots, etc.  I could go on and on. 

(Tetsujin 28-go and his archrival Black Ox)

The single robot that started the ENTIRE super robot genre was Tetsujin 28-go, known in america as Gigantor.  Tetsujin 28-go was created by manga artist Mitsuteru Yokoyama in 1956.  Wildly successful when it came out, it has spawned several animes and manga sequels.  The titular robot in the series was controlled by 10-yr old Shotaro Kaneda by means of a hand-held remote control.  Let's take a second and zoom out here.  A gigantic, super-powerful, humanoid robot is controlled by what amounts to an Atari controller.   ?!?!?!  As if.  This is the crux of the super robot genre, though.

In 1967, Yokoyama was asked to write a premise for a Tokusatsu TV show (tokusatsu is a genre of Japanese television that translates out to "special effects" it covers everything from Atragon, to Gojira, to Zuranger [power rangers] I LOVE IT).  Yokoyama wrote a premise for a show that he called Giant Robo; "A robot that can only be controlled by a hero"  In Giant Robo, the titular robot is controlled by Daisaku Kusama.  Daisaku controls Robo by speaking into a watch.  ONLY Daisaku can control Robo (as opposed to Tetsujin, which anyone could use as long as they got the Atari stick).  Giant Robo was constructed by Daisaku's father for the international terrorist group, Big Fire.  Naturally, he has a change of heart at the conclusion of Giant Robo's construction, and hands over control of Giant Robo to his son.  This is a start of a really charming precedent in the giant robo genre of the main robot having been built originally for EVIL!  Giant Robo had a run as a manga and as a live-action TV show (known in the US as Johnny Sokko and his Flying Robot.)

That's it for the Giant Robot history/rant...FOR NOW!  Next time: fanart and Giant Robo: The Day the Earth Stood Still!!!