From this first comic Jake & Leon began. The comic has served as art testing, extra commentary, or just an escape from a bad week, either for me or the world in general. October 26, 2019 is when it began, serving as a way to introduce my weekly comic reviews, but when that went daily it opened a weekly collection of article links that might have just been an excuse to keep the comic going since I still could have made an article about those. Eventually I got tired of saving article links without major commentary until the end of the week and the comic had its own posting.
I forget every year to do these annual wrap-ups of my favorite comics from the past year on their proper date. And I did so few last year I didn’t even bother, deciding to combine it with this year. Although in hindsight that would have made for a shorter article so I just made myself more work, but considering what I went through last year I wasn’t exactly thinking straight, was I? So we have a more robust choice this year. So from the past two years, which Jake & Leon comics did I think were some of my better work?
Sometimes I have to laugh at my own stupidity, especially when it actually affects the comic. I keep a small notebook nearby me, even by my bedside, to keep this from happening again. And yet I’ll still screw it up somehow! Never challenge the depths of my failure!
Now I have a dedicated “set” to design off of for the art studio. If only I was so lucky. Sometimes I have to remind myself that Max’s origins involved silly marketing ideas, although maybe I’m just moving away from that and Max is just Jake’s art buddy and the strip’s set designer. I have no problem with Max evolving as a character from a one-note joke since it means I can use him more.
This was the beginning of a storyline where Jake went to spend Christmas with his family in California. and had I not gotten sick just after Christmas I could have finished it. I had a few more jokes I wanted to do before Jake came home, but at least we got to meet his family.
Not my usual kind of joke, and it doesn’t give Jeannie quite enough panel time, but sometimes you write what’s in your head. Sometime this year one of my reviewer buddies came out as transgender and is going through the operation to switch over, so hopefully she isn’t mad at me for this one.
You may notice Leroy slightly resembles Jake from the first strip, and I did that on purpose. They’re not supposed to be twins, although I guess it does look that way now that I really look at it. But it’s more finally using the name than the brother himself. When I first worked on the art style, without even considering a comic strip, I drew a second character (after a fight trying to reproduce “proto-Jake”) and called him Leroy. However, when I introduced them to the internet I called them Jake and Leon, which certainly serves the logo layout and two four-letter word names (shut up) flows better. So I decided Leroy is Jake’s brother and I finally got to use him. Leroy takes a bit from proto-Jake. Now what to do with proto-Leon?
I have a rule that at least one of the title characters has to show up in a comic, but this joke wouldn’t have worked if Jake was a focus character. So I allowed boyfriend Kevin to open the punchline. Speaking of Kevin…
Yeah, this gag was kind of the reason I even gave Jeannie a boyfriend. When the grocery store I worked at made me a cashier I hand-made my own signs for those charity things stores do. The then-unnamed Kevin was the character I used. That store got bought out by the people who fired me, so I consider Kevin mine since they used nothing of the old store (and I was the only one who used him anyway–got compliments) but the rented building and shelving. I just wanted to use him in something.
This would have gone on to a joke featuring the three siblings, but then I got sick, leading to a storyline about what the characters did during the big time off, which comes into play in a later comic we’ll be seeing. I want to find a way to use that joke but I want all three siblings together again.
If you can’t make fun of having to have a colostomy bag for six months it’s going to be even more depressing. This was catharsis for me and I like it for that alone, even if the joke falls short. It’s also rare I communicate with the cast, but in my comic they’re actors in a “skit show” so it works fine, like on You Can’t Do That On Television, for anyone who remembers that show.
It’s true. DC almost got to do Transformers. I wonder how that would have turned out? This is actually two jokes in one comic, one about the Black Lanterns, and one about how in so many different continuities Optimus Prime dies. What used to be a crashing blow to 80s kids is now an obligatory cliché and I’m getting tired of it.
The only reason this is on the list is because I’m going through Art Soundoff at the moment and I really like the design of the aliens. I wonder if I can use them again in something? Or I’ll probably just forget them with my luck.
Dirk Slade was a comic character I created in the 90s and did nothing with. I wanted to make fun of tough guy characters with tough guy names. What if a man with a tough guy name didn’t want to BE a tough guy? Anybody remember action star Jeff Speakman? It’s true. Look him up.
This is when I was going in to have my insides reconnected. Remember that bit about the vacations from the surprise surgery? Leon didn’t get to go on vacation because I couldn’t think of where he could go and figured that would set him apart from the others. This is me making it up to him. I’m not the kind of writer who likes to torture his characters. So he got to go to Japan.
Year 8 (from creation date, not on the calendar year)
I try to keep politics off of this site, to be a respite from the soul-crushing stuff, but this joke had to be made.
Speaking of Art Soundoff this is when I started the recurring storyline of Jake and Max starting Herodude And Enemies, their own webcomic. I’m hoping to have that be a recurring thing in 2018, but I’m not sure how. Per rules I have to fit it into three panels plus the hosting segment with either Jake or Leon or both. It’s pretty much my humorous look at creating a webcomic. After a few gags about trying to come up with some good ideas we had this:
Come on, who doesn’t want to read this comic now? Why is the costume high-tech? Why not?
My first attempt to shade in the regular characters’ style. Also this is a horror flashback for the Art Soundoff participants. 🙂
Ah, Free Comic Book Day, when I can make fun of Jake’s obsessions while discussing my own experience. See also ConnectiCon comics.
One of the running commentaries on this site is the demand from some moviegoers for “realism” in their superhero stories. Realism. In a story about guys in padded outfits pretending to be spandex, who fly around and punch each other into buildings.
I see those stories where people dress up as superheroes to visit sick children, see the looks on their faces, and wonder what monsters are responsible for Superman stories I can’t show to eight-year-olds!
Sometimes the GI Joe toyline could be weird. I saw an article about the Pogo and the joke came pretty quick.
I know I’m not the only one who wants to see Billy Batson get his Captain Marvel name back. Marvel can’t seem to make a decent character with that name. Even the current Carol Danvers one can’t hold an ongoing. Plus I thought Warbird was a cooler superhero identity for her.
I’ll never understand stories where a scientist creates an obviously destructive device for the benefit of humanity. I don’t think they make those anymore since the mad scientist went out of style.
This book will haunt me forever. Thank God I’m done reviewing it. It took up months of article time examining every stupid thing in it.
It took me…I mean Jake and Max months just to come up with the first villain. I was ready to have them lock themselves up until they came up with a villain and have Leon co-host with the rest of the cast, but then this name came to me and the character followed. Writer’s block is a pain sometimes.
And the first comic done on the graphics tablet. I’ve gotten a little better in the month since I’ve had it, but I still have a lot adjusting to do. Fortunately for me that’s what this comic is for.
And those are my favorite Jake & Leon comics for the past two years. Hopefully next year the anniversary will be on time.