Thursday, September 6, 2012

Spak's back story

The Loop De Loop animation challenge for this month was "Mad", so I had to do something on Spak! Click here to watch the animation. 

Due to commitments coloring Rex Vectar, another comic of mine, for Clubhouse Comics and the Australian government making me run around for a week so that bureaucratic boxes could be checked, I ended up with only four days to produce this entire loop, including writing the script and editing the audio with Helen Maier's wonderful musical score. Somehow I got it done and two days later it was screened at the Loop Bar. I was overjoyed!

Spak in happier times. Still from the animation.
This animation deals with a some of Spak's back story: how his lover died 2100 years ago.
In the early stages of the War Between the Sexes, the four races of the Motherhood Empire escaped their domineering male counterparts to live peacefully on their fem-constructed worldship, they called Girlaxia. Being a single sex meant that clonebirthing was the Foremothers only means of reproduction, but biologically many femzoons needed male companionship and sexplay, so they created the Plastoid race, a genetically obedient population of synthetic malezoons. Using their own DNA the Foremothers batched male duplicates of themselves in living plastic, the game was to find their copy. Girlaxia was so enormous that it dwarfed giant gas planets so often the copies never met, some found each other and formed deep friendships, but quite a few bonded.

Althra was clonedbirthed into flesh from her own ancient genes when Spak was over 900 years old. (Plastoids are non-biodegradable by the way). The two copies found each other and fell in deeply in love.

A moment of horror. A still from the animation.
Spak and Althra were both Scy-Borraine warriors, fighting side by side during the height of the War Between the Sexes. When Girlaxia fell they were still holding back hordes of fleshmales on the planet Asu-Assala. Plastoids don't eat or sleep, Althra simply couldn't keep up. Overwhelmed she was skewered and paraded around until Spak could reach and protect her shredded corpse.

Above is the original panel from issue #3 of the Zooniverse series from 1986 (Entox is in the foreground by the way). I traced a lot of this comic art for the animation, trying to keep it as acurate as possible. The image on the left is the original painted art that I've scanned and not adjusted in any way, yes the paints have survived for twenty six years. The image on the right I scanned from the comic so that you could see how it printed. For the animation I took my color cues from the printed version. The deeper red suggested a bloodbath without me having to stoop to showing gore.

Spak seethes. A still from the animation.
I love the above image, the moment when Spak cracks!
I made a last minute decision to include the image below in the animation. Meeting the deadline, meant that I had to work all night. The image was traced from my 1991 roughs for page 30 of the unpublished book Age Old Enemies. I'm glad that it has finally seen the light of day!

Spak takes his revenge. A still from the animation.

 Above is another panel from issue #3 of the original Zooniverse series. It shows Spak during his banishment on Asu-Assala by the Plastoid Society who decide to hide until the Foremothers return. Spak is worshiped as the Dead God Krantrak by the locals, who Spak ritually kills.... it's an even longer story. Again the original paints on the left, the printed version on the right.


  1. I can't get over how different the colours are from the original painting to the printed page. I guess limitations of the technology at the time? Do you recall what you thought of the discrepancies when the books originally came out?

    1. We had a lot of trouble with the colors. I really don't think Eclipse cared, which drove all of us nuts, including Colin. We wanted subtlety and we kept getting everything cranked up too bright, and often unregistered, it seemed like no one was proofing the printing of our book. There wasn't any time to send proofs back to Australia so we just had to wear it.