A New Direction

November 30, 2009

I was doing work on another page in pencil and really got into the pencil work. Sometimes when I am working with other mediums I forget exactly how much I love working with graphite. I came up with a new composition in my head in which Khaoc sleeps within his holding apparatus in the automated prison, and I would like to work the entire thing up in pencil.

This is probably going to preoccupy me for some time, but I will try to post w.i.p images of the project as it progresses.

In the meantime, here is an image of a drawing I completed in September that I feel represents how complete I want this current project to be:

This was my interpretation of Glorfindel fighting the Balrog after the fall of Gondolin from Tolkien’s Silmarillion.

I was working on the fully painted page and decided that it was not up to my standards. Oh well.

I started working on a new page using the technique below, and it is turning out much more to my liking. I experimented with a simple image before I started on the page, and this is what came out of it:

This is Abram, the main character in Walden Earth, in his old Death Ball uniform. The technique worked really well and I am excited to try it out in a sequential format.

I’ve been working pretty diligently on the page I promised to post last weekend, but it’s still not done. It’s taking much longer than I expected, and it’s tough to do as much as I’d like during the work-week (Saturday – Tuesday for me), but I won’t post it until I like it.

I’ve been painting the panels in full acrylic, and I have to say that I am not 100% pleased with the results.  It doesn’t quite have the “fresh” look that I want.

For the next pages I do, I am going to use a technique that I developed a couple months ago and since forgotten about. It looks like this:


Basically, it is ballpoint with gray-scale marker, with an acrylic wash for the flat color, and Prismacolors over that.

I hope to have the first page posted by the end of the week. I’m going to begin work on the cover soon as well, so I might be posting some preliminary ideas and sketches for that in the near future.

Progress update

November 21, 2009

So, I slacked off on Thursday and did nothing but play the Asheron’s Call free trial all day. That game is underrated.

Man, I really underestimated the time it takes to paint a page. I spent a full day’s work on the page today, but only got a little more than a third done. Being new to the fully-painted comic doesn’t help. Next time, I’ll think twice about making big groups of tiny figures in multiple panels. However, it works conceptually, so I’ll just bite the bullet.

Anywho, I’m even less sure of when it’ll be done. I’m learning a lot as I go, and picking up on shortcuts already. Things are looking up, but moving slow, currently.

W.I.P page 6, Walden Earth

November 18, 2009

Below is the W.I.P version of page 6 of The Aftermath: Walden Earth #1. Page 1-5 belong to the prologue I posted below, and since we haven’t yet worked out all the imagery for it, I skipped it and went to page 6.

Since I paint very opaquely with acrylic, I basically just sketched everything in as fast as I could. It’s kind of embarrassing to post this because it is just preparatory, but I said I would, so here goes nothing.

Sorry that the bottom is blurry. Camera ran out of batteries. As you can see, there are a few problems, and some blatant mistakes, but the paint will cover those up, hopefully.

I’ve never actually painted a comic page, but I paint a lot in acrylic, so I only half know what to expect as a final product.

I don’t know exactly when the fully painted version will be up, but I hope I can knock it out in the next day or two unless I run into some unforeseen major issue.

Right now I’m finishing the inking for the second attempt at The Aftermath: Walden Earth #1, page 1.

Like I have said before, the first round was finished and submitted in August. This time I’ve decided to change some things. First of all, it’s going to be fully painted. Secondly, I’m going to attempt to do the entire comic, cover and all, instead of finishing just enough pages for a submission.

If you’d like to see the old comic pages for the Aug 09 submission, head over to the Aftermath myspace page, linked on the right. The pages are from two separate scenes, not sequential, and they are done with ink and marker.

You will also see that I added a page on the new game “Epic Mickey.” If you are interested in our opinion on that development, please check out that article. Me and my brother, while initially discouraged, think that it might in fact push us to better the comic by amplifying the kind of violence and horror that people expect from the post-apocalyptic genre. Also, it challenges us to be that much more creative. So, all things are looking good, and moving forward.

I hope to have the finished inks up tomorrow.

Here’s a sample of the old pages below:

Some general stuff

November 16, 2009

My first informal post! Here we go!

My brother and I came up with the idea for The Aftermath about a year ago. It’s based on dreams mostly, but what we wanted to do was to give a mythological world for a lot of our ideas/dreams to thrive in. We really love Tolkien, and admire the care he took of Middle Earth, so he has always been a big inspiration to us. In order to follow Tolkien, however, it meant creating a fictional world, a fictional time-line, and even a fictional spiritual world. It took a long time, and it’s still evolving week to week, but after more than a year (we were developing this idea even longer than that of The Aftermath) I think we have made the tiniest bit of headway.

About a year ago, like I said, it all came together and we came up with a solid foundation for our new mythology. It is an apocalyptic mythology. That means the apocalypse is ongoing, and, unlike many movies/novels/games, in our world that process takes a long time. If it had to be placed in a genre it would be considered “horror.” So, we have a horrific apocalyptic mythology? Sounds cool, right? I always thought horror movie villains deserved more mythology than the limited attention their backgrounds got in their movies. This gives me the chance to see that idea through. And it allows me to create my own villains. Khaoc is one of those.

The first event within our mythological time-line that we decided to tackle in comic form was that of Walden. If you read my previous posts you’ll see that Walden was the first major force to develop after the catastrophic events following the appearance of the fabled god-child called, simply, The Guest. Walden can basically be summed up as a militaristic, killer Disney-ish, nation-state.  They have a pantheon of cartoon characters that they worship and so forth.  Dewey Dog is the most famous and beloved of all. The real leader of Walden, however, is the mysterious Captain Smile-A-Long.

The idea for Walden, as it stands today, came from a dream my brother had in which a bunch of people were being transported on some tram with a giant, rusty, scary cartoon face on the front. He told me that dream in October of 2008, and now that scene is in the first issue of Walden Earth. Hurray!

We  already attempted to submit the idea to a few publishers in early August of this year, but got nothing back the first time. No bigge. The stuff I will post over the next months will be going towards my next submission, hopefully to be sent off early next year.

The ClownKhaoc vs. Chrome DomeBoot FaceAbram at the Entrance to Dewey's HQ

Some stuff that was included with the submission sent out back in August 2009. Currently reworking for a new submission hopefully sometime early in 2010.

More to come.


An old man sits above a field of bodies on a twisting, gnarled obsidian throne. He leafs through a massive volume. The wind propels black sand and debris through the air, but the old man and the figure kneeling before him remain untouched.

The figure questions the old man, “How is it possible, how do you know all this?”

The old man responds, “You will understand, as it is my purpose to make you understand, in time. We have important business between us.”

The figure looks up at the old man, silent, as if in a trance. “Please, tell as much as you can.”

The old man smiles, his intimidating countenance is broken with unexpected kindness. He turns a page.

“You may not know, but, following the catastrophe marked by the appearance of The Guest, the first great power to emerge on the planet was Walden. It’s origins go beyond even my lifetime. What is important to our purposes is what it became. In the hands of its shadowy leader, Captain Smile-A-Long, whose character will become clearer through the telling and whose exploits we will discuss more fully some other time, the family friendly and cartoon-centric international corporate entity turned into a real world power. Buying out what were the major developing cities of the time, and then annexing all other productive, resource rich real estate across this continent, Walden became an unchallenged, dominant nation. Exclusive to those who would pledge undying devotion to Captain Smile-A-Long and his Smile-A-Live-Long-Day-Directives, the poor, the sick, and the resistant were pushed to the frontier and their towns suffocated in shadow of the resort-style, escapist parks that were Walden’s specialty.”

“I’ve seen them. The grinning faces and old buildings. The men of metal and the men of stone.”

“Yes, their influence can be glimpsed only in their ruined state today, and in their novelty items.”

The old man holds up a whistle, and smiles. “I kept it to remind me of those dark days. But, in their heyday, how brightly Walden shone.”

He lets the kneeling man hold it. “It’s yours. The threat has passed.”

The kneeling man stares at the item in his hand.

“The Empire, increasing in its decadence and perversion, year by year, lasted nearly two centuries. Inexplicably, the sinister Smile-A-Long persisted as well, never aging, never slowing down – a fact that constituted much reverence from the Waldenites for their leader and the promised Walden Way. However, grim events were in store. As Walden grew it became increasingly dependent on automation. Soon, Waldenites merely took on titles. Their actual duties, their occupations, were carried out by the artificial intelligence that Smile-A-Long had developed to perfection in order to strip humanity of its influence in his Empire. Then he disappeared. Most people thought he finally succumbed to death after all these years as the new leadership told them, but I know this is not the case. Later, he told me himself his true reasons for abandoning his Empire at the apex of its power.”

“You met Captain Smile-A-Long?”

“That was one of the most frightening days of my life. Chaos itself – staring me in the face. The closest, well, actually, the second closest I ever came to death.”

“But, I digress. As you will see, this dependency on automation eventually led, perhaps deliberately, to Walden’s destruction, and to some of the bloodiest days this world has ever seen.”

The old man turns the page. “Here follows the tale of the last great Walden institution: Walden Earth, and the great men therein involved.”

Copyright Molen Brothers 2009

The story of The Aftermath begins with the appearance of a mytho-historic entity known as “The Guest.” The Guest, a genuinely magical child with no name, instigates an apocalyptic catastrophe designed to challenge the people of Earth to justify their own existence on this planet.

Thus, in the wake of the apocalypse, things turn for the worse. The Walden Corporation, a company comparable to our own mega corporation/animation studios, gains power and buys out nearly every major city on Earth. Each city is stripped of its former personality and is transformed into a secure, resort style retreat in which the rich, seeking to escape the bleak and brutal reality of the post-Guest world, pay top dollar for uber-escapist lifestyles. Surrounding neighborhoods and quaint, historic getaways are bulldozed for resources which are used in the construction of dozens of Walden-based chain restaurants and mega-stores. The poor and the resistant are slain without mercy.

In this way, Walden citizens can be shipped around the world via the Dewey Dog Tram, the Flying Squirrel Express, or the Lily Pad Cruiseline from Walden Paris to Wally Washington D.C and onto Porty Pig, Oregon. In each city Waldenites will find the same familiar, comfortable, unthreatening Walden based culture and cartoon imagery. The iconic Walden characters, with Dewey Dog at the forefront, will greet them as they arrive.

The greatest achievement in Walden’s history is the fully automated theme park and resort – Walden Earth. Now former US citizens don’t even need to leave their own backyard to experience “True World Travel!” Walden Earth is comprised of various, distinct areas based on locations world-wide.

Now, Walden Corporation is collapsing and Walden Earth is silent. A transport bus carrying a group of Walden POWs breaks down in the abandoned Walden Earth Transit Center. They soon find that, for them, the desolate, deteriorating theme park is less than welcoming. Walden’s overly-enthusiastic cartoon grin, in its insane neglect, has become murderous. Dewey Dog is coming for them.

Copyright Molen Brothers 2009