It’s the second anniversary of Zunfa Comics! It’s been a crazy ride, or some other useless cliche like that. But those cliche exist for a reason! It really has been a great thing to do, making comics with my best friend. If I could do anything forever, it would be to sit and draw comics all day.
I’m very proud of this comic, and Ephemeris, and everything we’re working on. I was going to compare it to Robert and I having a baby, but that’s not quite the right analogy. It’s kind of its own thing! But I’m glad to have this fantastical friendship with such a talented writer as Robert, and that we can shape these strange fictions while they shape us. It’s like an ouroboros on a record player.
So, for the second anniversary, here are mine and Robert’s…
TOP FIVE ZUNFA COMICS STRIPS EACH
We didn’t see each other’s lists in advance, and I think it’s kind of interesting just to see our selections. Mine, in chronological order:
The Search For Kim
We were already fascinated (read: obsessed) with North Korea by this point, but it was from this comic on that it really became a thing in Zunfa Comics. It was the first time we depicted North Korea as Starfleet – this is the joke it came from! – which is still grandfather-claused in today. (That’s actual sheet music for Amazing Grace, incidentally.)
But Your Kids Are Gonna Love It
This is one of those jokes where everything fell into place so perfectly. The title still kills me. We couldn’t have planned two seemingly unrelated things to fit together better; the fact that (at least I reckon) the matchup is incredibly funny is just gravy. I’m also still mostly pleased with the art in this one; especially rare for something I drew during the Illustrator years.
+2 To Evasion
I remember writing this comic so clearly. I’m still proud of the joke! (Not to mention the speech balloon layout.) This was back when we didn’t restrain ourselves from making every second comic about Apple’s poor ethics, even by multinational corporation standards. I don’t know how many comics we ended up doing about that, though, really; I guess it just felt like a massive influx at the time. I get really nostalgic looking at this comic, and it wasn’t even that long ago. Weird.
The Sound Of ‘One’ Stock Crashing
I remember writing this strip very clearly too; most of them I just remember that we wrote, I don’t remember actually writing them. I love the muppet noses and I’m still mostly happy with the art. And I love the Master as a character – I was so excited to bring him back in The Fouriad. More than anything, I love the idea that backstage at E3 Microsoft would somehow be consulting Zen koans slash puns for advice.
Rushing Out Doors
It’s especially rare for me to be genuinely happy with the art in all three panels, but I am with this one even in retrospect. I’m often not happy with my line work or how the individual lines look when they fit together, but here (especially panels 2 & 3) it looks, to my eye, almost like it was drawn by someone else. Like it was one you’d buy in a store! This comic is also sort of the ideal to me as far as Zunfa Comics goes: we satirised some topical politics that was making the news, but we did so through the lens of popcultural things. Plus (as Shortpacked! cartoonist David Willis knows all too well) Reagan is just so much damn fun to draw.
I couldn’t narrow things down properly, because I am terrible, so here are four runners-up that – while they didn’t quite make the cut as my favourites – I still love or think are significant to the run of the comic:
Lies (I love a good bit of slapstick)
No Hero Of Canton (Martin and Robert’s relationship, funny faces)
Flags Of Our Fatters (this strip went to Chicago as part of a press package)
Performance Blaaarghht (I love the foamy textures as Martin vomits all over Robert)
Well, I Guess He Was The Son Of God (I love the first panel art, Mesba doing funny background things, jokes about history and religion)
Now I present Robert’s list and explanations, which are oddly and touchingly positive about me (our bromance is up to at least eleven years by now).
Same Old Song And Dance
I like this one because at first it was such an odd-sounding idea to put Tony Abbott as Pee-Wee Herman, but the third panel makes it so incredibly appropriate.
I’m pretty sure I wrote all the dialogue for this one – it’s usually Martin who comes up with where things will go in terms of the joke, and I turn that into wordy-words – and I’m proud of it because I feel like it encapsulates one of my biggest problems with The Amazing Spider-Man. (I will admit that the Raimi movies are a little loose with how often Peter has his mask off, but not to the same extent.)
I feel like it talks about an interesting point but in a funny way, which is what we’re almost always aiming for. Martin’s blog post also adds a lot.
+2 To Evasion
To be honest, maybe two thirds of the time, Zunfa Comics is a political comic. It is not a Political Comic in the sense of having pictures of things with words written on the things in the most direct of metaphors, but comparing Apple to a rules-lawyering Dungeons and Dragons player is as close to that as we’ve ever been. I think it works, although my favourite part is the exchange between the IRS guy and Bill Gates in panel 2.
Another TASM comic – gosh – and this one I love for the opposite reason: it’s all Martin. Most of what I write is prose, and this is the kind of joke you can only really do visually, so I’m glad to be a part of it in some sense.
Five That Aren’t Quite In The Top Five
Saving A Well-Travelled Bisexual Lady From Historical Revisionism
It’s the last panel.
Marian Will Damn Well Stay A Maid
The whole concept really works, but my favourite part is the alt text.
The Oncumbing Apocalypse
I like thinking of Benedict Cumberbatch as a strange, ghostly creature. It was also basically an excuse so Martin would draw cool, strange, ghostly creatures, because I can’t, and it turned out awesome.
Episode IV: A New Joke
“You have failed me for the last time, Grand Moff Kenai from Brother Bear.” That is my favourite line I have ever written – not just in Zunfa Comics, but of anything I have had a hand in creating. I love that line so much, Martin gave me the original artwork and framed it, and it hangs on my bedroom wall.
What’s Up With The Many N Securities
The artwork is beautiful.