Have you ever wondered what all goes into an episode of Superpop?
Of course you haven’t! Let’s talk about it anyway, because my newsfeed is empty and maybe somebody will archive dive it someday!

A lot of them start here, in the magical binder of terrible episode ideas!

This thing is basically a fossil.

Look familiar?

Before I had a website, back when a  Tumblr was something you drank out of, my friends and I used to pass this around to keep us sane in math classes. It’s seen wars, man. I didn’t really grow up with comic books, but for some reason I decided I was going to make them. I dunno.

There are about sixty episodes in here from that era, not counting guest comics (I started using a sketchbook in college and for some reason that made it less organized). The other half is crammed full of concept art for arcs that I haven’t gotten around to yet. Did you know that Superpop has a storyline eventually? It’s awful!

Recently I’ve been trying to work on the newer ones that I drew in Japan, but a lot of my favorite episodes are really old. The theme of revisiting terrible work is important to (S)HIT, so sometimes I like to try to squeeze one of them in now and again. Turns out I wasn’t as funny as I thought I was, so it takes a lot of work to make something salvageable out of them! Let’s have a look at one and laugh at my expense!

Oh my god, my EYES!

 

Wow, isn’t that awful?

When I first started drawing comics, I relied on the “two talking heads” model a lot to deliver punchlines. Maybe I still haven’t fully shaken the habit, but it’s something that I’m conscious of now and I try to avoid it whenever possible. So old episodes like this, which seemed hilarious to a sixteen year old in PreCalc, maybe don’t fly so well today.

Anyway, I liked the idea of this comic, but it needed a lot of work.
I think I had just finished reading Shogun; everyone seemed awfully excited to kill themselves and sometimes it seemed like they were competing for it. I decided I still liked the joke, but the static “stand there and deliver some lines” format hadn’t held up so well. So it needed to be redrawn. It needed more action!

Another thing that needed work, which I’m still kind of lazy with, was the panel format. When I first created Superpop, I was, I dunno, six? Maybe seven. Absolutely no understanding of how to format a comic, is what I’m saying. All I knew was that comics had heroes and they spoke with speech bubbles and got into fights sometimes. So panels would be small, always square, sometimes even touching like bricks, and there’d be too many irrelevant frames of animation. Sort of like this;

Not actually from a seven year old.

What’s sad is that’s a little bit better than 2nd-grade Val.

Anyway, once I figured out that was stupid, I settled on a Yonkoma format. Setup, buildup, climax, punchline. Wham bam, thank you ma’am. Except, that gets a little boring after a while. I still like it, but that binder is full of this kind of joke. So this time, it’s  got to go. What we ended up with was this;

 

I'm still blind! Ahhh!

 

Which is at least a little better. There are some different shapes in there, but there’s room for improvement once it goes digital.

But here’s the part that sucks because I don’t own a scanner. These terrible photographs you’re looking at? That’s all I have to go on when working on the final copy, either. Which means I get to redraw all of it…

Oh, hello old friend.

By mouse.
Oh, the horror.

It’s horribly inefficient, but so far the most accurate way I’ve found to do it is to take a sloppy photograph of my sketch, and carefully draw over it with a combination of brush and pen tool for the curves. It makes things look a little straighter than I like (shift+clicking saves me a lot of time) but it gets the job done. This usually takes around two hours, maybe a little more for the longer comics.

Coloring it is the most time consuming part, though; the last episode I published took somewhere around eight hours from base to shade, which is actually faster than normal for me! (I cheated a lot and hope you can’t tell). Usually, if I get burned out a comic, this is where. But it’s also my favorite part, because there’s all sorts of things you can do here that you really only get to play with when you’re publishing on the internet. It’s fun to screw with panel borders and transparency!

I think some other day I’ll show you guys how I shade these comics, and why it takes so long. I remember Tylor asked once, but honestly; it’s not complicated at all. You’ll probably be disappointed once you actually see it.

Anyway, the end result is this;

Bushidope

Which is a lot better than what we started with! There’s still a lot that I could improve on, not just with this episode in particular, but with all of them. I’m getting there, though!

This entry is getting too long, so I think I’m gonna cut it short here.
People of the future! Thank you for reading!

Unless you didn’t, in which case, well, whatever, we can still be friends.