Click for larger image. Do it. You know you want to
see more of the classy lady.
Woobner was a comic idea I created in the late 90's. I say "idea" because it was never completed, and I can't remember why. I had the first issue written, the first few pages drawn, inked the first couple pages and colored the first - not the best process. I guess I was going for a "proof of concept" - I wanted to make sure it looked good before I got too far into it. Stupid.
First page inked, no color. But you could have
figured that out on your own, couldn't you?
I do like the way Woobner looks now, though, so I wish I would have finished it - at least one issue. The story was about this freakish little character (named Woobner, of course - I stole the name from some co-workers at the time who made up the term as kind of an all-purpose insult - "You're acting like a Woobner!") who, for no clear reason, was very popular with the ladies (hmm... was I projecting my own fantasies?). His personality was a lot like Pee Wee Herman's, except he was bitter - bitter and jaded.
Even though he looked like a little elf with a skate rat's hairstyle, Woobner worked as a male model (comedy), but that was actually a cover for a his sideline as a spy. He was part MacGyver, part Austin Powers, with a little bit of Maxwell Smart thrown in for good measure. He also had a sweet girlfriend who kept him in line (surely more self-projection).
Panel detail. "Frig" was to be Woobner's catchphrase... even though
it's just a single word.
Before I began the project, I'd been in touch with an editor from Fantagraphics, a great independent comics company who published two of my favorite books at the time - Eightball (which spawned the movies Ghost World and Art School Confidential) and Hate. I think I'd sent this editor Science Geek, a zine my friend Doug and I put together (he wrote it, I illustrated it and laid it out), as well as some other black and white illustration samples.
The editor, whose name I can't recall, liked my work and sent me a nice handwritten note asking me for some examples of full comic stories. I'd done some short one- and two-page comics in black and white, but nothing longer. Woobner was designed to be a full-length example to show that editor.
Another panel detail. I must have been reading a lot of
Little Annie Fanny around this time.
I used my traditional pre-digital technique - brush-tip markers over pencils, photocopy (onto 11x17" 20 lb. paper, for this piece), and color the photocopy with Prismacolor markers. I also lettered the page by hand, using the same markers, which gave the words a nice integration into the rest of the linework.
During this time, I was still experimenting with the size I'd work at - specifically, how much larger than the final piece I'd lay out the page. Sometimes I'd shoot too large, and when the piece was reduced, the linework was a little too thin and too tight. Other times I'd start too small - too close to the final size - and I wouldn't have that extra little bit of space for the smaller details. Here I think I got it just right - the linework was just chunky enough for my liking.
The colors were less blended than I was shooting for, but for the most part, I like them, too. At the time I was working on Woobner, I was aiming for a totally smooth, modeled, Richard Corben kind of look, but the different levels of color now look charming and hand-created to me - a lot of digital colorists shoot for the same "imperfect" effect. The wet edge - where the markers hit each other - looks more pleasing to my eyes now than it did then. That's what an oversaturation of digital work does to you, I suppose.
Perhaps someday Woobner will live again - or at least, maybe the first issue will be completed. It could be a one-shot. Or a web comic. Or even a musical. Hey, if The Last Starfighter can be made into a musical, I think I've at least got a shot.