This week’s comic was a kind of a collaboration, The Tree-Gnomes were one of those random things I think up while I’m doing a mundane task… like picking pears….

Ben and I “then”

it developed further as a random text message that I bounced off of my friend Dave and eventually turned into the bizarre strip that I uploaded on Tuesday night.
The Christian Bale comic was born out of an actual conversation I had with my friend Troy which, in my opinion, was funnier than the comic it inspired.
I’ve been creating characters in some fashion for a long time. Usually in the company of friends. Some of the earliest character collaborations I can remember were with my childhood friend and neighbor Chad Hawthorne (mind you living in the country a 3 mile bike ride still constitutes a neighbor). We would draw sketch book cartoons/comics. Usually they were expansive parody… we did a Ghostbusters fan-fic (I shudder to call it that) that added new Ghostbusters and “new slimers” to the pre-existing universe (that idea now seems sacrilege… there can only be ONE slimer… but to a kid?.. more is better) I also did a series in my sketch book called “peace patrol” which was a blatant rip of G.I. Joe and Thundercats… (cartoons that were not altogether peaceful… and my cartoons were no exception)

But it was when my good friend Ben Kruger and I were hanging out regularly throughout High School and even much of our college years that we practically oozed characters. We started with audio… we recorded seemingly endless hours of “radio shows” it was as low tech as you can imagine we hung out around a single microphone and nerded out. (Two Teenage boys talking non-stop into a microphone into the early hours of morning? It was simultaneously as terrible and incredible as you might imagine.) Then somewhere half-way through high school Ben got his first video camera. The characters he started to create took on new layers, he learned how to do more with his camera and we ran the gamut of character archetypes. We created sci-fi super hero movies, and campy schlock horror movies (they were more intentionally funny than scary and were not even remotely gory). My younger brother got in on the act and he made classic kung-fu film parodies with Ben. We lived for the weekends and we made movies at just about every chance possible.

10szbuds

Ben and I “now”

Ben went on to college to earn a degree in video production, and I’m so happy to see that he’s still out there continuing to make videos with new characters. His new videos are fun and random like the old days but they carry new messages and new purpose that obviously a couple of bored teenagers weren’t quite so worried about. He’s using puppets, and props and split screen techniques to create a a unique one man show that is really a treat. If you haven’t discerned this yet I am highly biased about his work but I hope you’ll see past my bias when I state that I highly recommend giving his Lost No Longer YouTube Channels a view. If you enjoy my sense of humor I think you’ll see why we got along so well.

So then onward into the present… his recent vlogs have made some call-backs to those old videos specifically the ones where we fought against an evil Power Ranger (about 2-3 feet tall) named creatively enough “Death Ranger.” In a fun twist I’ve made an off screen referential entrance into the Lost No Longer universe. I’m as interested as anyone to see where this is heading.

 

Characters interact with each other, and that’s born out of our real life interactions (in the case of Tank-Monkey however… I do not actually drive a tank or know anyone that actively does… yet.)

 Check Out Ben’s Work on YouTube!