Rocket Girl Strikes Again

RG strikes again

So I did some sketches of Daffodil in her new haircut, with a bit of movement toward cartoony cartooning, instead of my usual illegible scrawl. As you can see from the header, there’s still quite a bit of illegible scrawl, but also (besides a moustache that appeared out of nowhere), a certain sort of Popeye feel to some of it. This got me thinking about the various -Punk genres. By their nature, they tend to be somewhat technologically elastic, but it has always seemed to me fairly essential that if you’re doing Steam Punk that the fundamental elements of design belong to the late 19th century- and certainly no later than the outbreak of WWI. Similarly, Diesel Punk seems to require design rooted in the period from 1930 to the end of WWII. Atom Punk, while it draws on elements of sci-fi going back to the 30s, is still quintessentially 50s- up until we got a real space program.

This, obviously, leaves a gap from 1914 to the market crash of 1929, little bits of which sometimes get pulled back into Steam Punk- usually with the effect on yours truly of seeing a Centurion with a wrist watch in Ben Hur. It does not, though (and I confess I don’t really keep up on these things), appear to be ‘a thing’. And no wonder, because there’s no obvious pervasive technological breakthrough to characterize the era. And this would not be important to anyone, except that Daffodil’s haircut is more 20’s than anything…

RG FP sketch2

At any rate, it seems to me that this is an era that could use some punking, and so I’ve started noodling around with what, for want of a better term, I’m calling Flapper Punk. Naturally a bit of John Held, Jr. is in there, and some Elzie Segar, and perhaps a touch of Winsor McCay are likely to creep in, not to mention Rube Goldberg and even some Georges Barbier if I completely lose my mind (which appears imminent). On the upside, it’s an era with style and a certain amount of innate goofiness, on the downside, it is very not-about-rockets. Rickety, yes. Rockety, not so much. So I will just have to see what sort of rickety rockets and ramshackle robots I can come up with.

RG FP Sketch

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Rocket Girl

Rocket Girl

The origins of Rocket Girl are shrouded in mystery. Well, not to me, but there are some things that are better left to the imagination. Suffice it to say that when Daffodil was a very tiny thing circumstances arose that lead to this cognomen, which in turn lead to me writing a little song by the same name which, if you are very, very lucky, I will not at some future date record and post to this blog.

So, having a perfectly good theme song already in the can, it seems unavoidable that at some point I should do a Rocket Girl story, and it seems that this is, more or less, that point. A month or so ago I started giving the idea some consideration, and at that point I was thinking of doing it as an Atom Punk piece, with big Cadillac fins and bubble space helmets, and I did a couple of sketches to notate the general idea. I wasn’t all that thrilled.

Rocket Girl 1

So, after musing on the question a bit, I tried some Diesel Punk ideas. A bit more on the Indiana Jones end of things. Maybe a little better, although I hadn’t got around to designing any machinery yet, which in a project like this is fairly important for the overall look and feel.

RG DP 1A

After that, I started to think, well, why not go whole hog and go Steam Punk?  I’ve been a big Steam Punk fan since seeing the original Wild, Wild West tv show and a rash of Jules Verne-based movies in my youth. So I messed around with that a little bit, and about this time Management sprang for the tablet (A Surface Pro 3, running Sketchbook Pro, if anyone cares). So I started messing about on that a little too (see header).

RG SP 1b

And then, of course, Daffodil got her hair cut.

Now, normally a haircut is just a haircut, but this one has repercussions. A bob is just not Steam Punk. The ‘punk’ in Steam Punk is, of course, all about taking liberties with reality, but it remains essential to have some stylistic integrity, or what have you got? So, do I use the ‘old Daffodil’ with her knotted and combined locks, like quills upon the fretful porpentine, or skip back to Atom Punk?

Changes Ahead, Changes Afoot

Changes Ahead

A variety of changes are underway here at the Global International Headquarters of Monsters And Daffodils Inc.

One change which is, in a manner of speaking, both ahead and already complete, is that Daffodil has had a haircut, and is now sporting a neat bob with bangs. The idea, under discussion with various authorities for some little time, being to tame her raging and disordered locks, the deed was done last week. This will, of course, require various stylistic updates to MAD, among the many others planned or contemplated. Lest anyone fear that a mere haircut has quelled Daffodil’s unruly spirit, be assured that if anyone can add an element of windblown madness to a short bob, it’s Daffodil.

Technology is coming to MAD as well. As foreshadowed elsewhen, the circumstance of life have made working with traditional media very difficult for the Author, and production has been plummeting. So, Management, going out on a fiscal limb, has disbursed, frittered, blown, and/or wisely invested a considerable sum of money it does not actually possess on a ridiculously expensive tablet that it hopes will launch MAD vigorously into the 21st Century and make it possible to actually get stuff done. So far, of course, this has merely created more delays in production while the workforce attempts to adjust to the new methods, which, for ancients such as ourselves, used to operating with tools and materials like paint brushes and canvases, seems a lot like pushing snot on glass with a stick. Results will, eventually, be forthcoming.

Also ahead, some changes in format for MAD. While we will continue to present random smatterings of Daffodilisms and episodes of My Little Art director, current activities at the Salt Mine have made these offerings more difficult to produce regularly. Thus, Management has decided to explore some additional products that the workforce can address without the painful necessity of remember exactly what Daffodil said for the day or two it often now takes to get the opportunity to record it.

Two of the projects now under consideration are a Rocket Girl (back story to follow) serial, and a Princess Daffodil serial, either of which may ultimately become books. A bit of preliminary sketching has taken place on Rocket Girl, set back somewhat by the recent Hair Cut. In the coming days I hope to share some of this with my Gentle and Discerning Readers, and hope you will provide some feedback about the various possible directions the project may take.