Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Card 2011: The Space Dweebs Vs. Space Santa!

At long last, my 2011 Christmas card slash book is finished! Like every year, it was touch and go there for a while and I wasn't sure whether it would be done in time for Christmas.

As always, I started thinking about this year's Xmas card as soon as I was done with last year's. And as always, I waited until November to do anything about it.

It wasn't that I procrastinated all year, honest. I decided early in January that I wanted this year's card to star the Space Dweebs, a trio of characters I'd drawn back in 2010. Unfortunately I couldn't think of a story for the card. I had a couple of vague ideas but nothing concrete.

Around August I started trying to hash out the story in earnest. I decided the Dweebs' planet would have a Space Xmas, complete with a Space Santa. I knew I wanted Space Santa to be a horrible, scary a-hole and I wanted the Dweebs to try and show him up somehow, probably with a giant robot. I was still banging my head against the wall though. Why couldn't this story write itself like last year's SantaTaur card did?

In October I decided to finish the story once and for all or die trying. That's when I finally got the idea that Space Santa only gives practical gifts like socks, and the Dweebs find out that Earth people get fun gifts. So they build a Giant Giftbot and start handing out cool gifts. Things go OK for a while, but then the Giftbot malfunctions and starts tearing up the city. Space Santa blows it up to save the world, and then scolds the Dweebs for trying to outdo him.

Unfortunately there were at least 20 pages of story and I only had 12 to work with. 11 if you subtract the title page. Something had to go. The first thing to get cut was the "haywire Giftbot destroys the city" plot. It took up way too many pages, plus it made the Dweebs look like idiots. They're supposed to be geniuses, so having them invent a faulty machine undermined that. Making Space Santa blow up their robot to stop them from handing out gifts allowed them to still be geniuses and helped make him look like the scary jerk he is.

I also got rid of the idea that Space Santa gives out socks as gifts. Now he gives out nothing but free and unwanted advice. Plus he knows he's supposed to be giving out gifts, but doesn't do it because it's too expensive and too much trouble. That reinforced his general unlikeability.

At last I was ready to draw the thing, but there was one more snag– all the job drama. Finding out I was going to lose my job at the end of the year kind of took the wind out of my sails and killed my enthusiasm for the project. Suddenly I had way more important things to think about than drawing an Xmas card. I decided in late October that I didn't feel like doing a card this year.

Then an odd thing happened. I sat down at the computer one night in early November and started doodling around in Photoshop. Before I knew it I'd drawn a page of the card. Sounds stupid I know, but it's like it drew itself. I thought, "Big deal, so I drew one page. There's no way I'm going to do ten more." Then the next night the same thing happened– I sat down with no intention of working on the card, but somehow ended up drawing a second page. By then I decided I might as well go for it. I guess this card wanted made whether I wanted to do it or not.

So there you have this year's Xmas card. Will there be a 2012 card? Probably not, unless I can think of a really awesome idea. Plus there's that whole Mayan calendar end of the world thing happening next December, so what's the point?


  1. WOW!! That card looks ridiculously awesome! I wish I was in your X-mas contacts book!!

  2. PHENOMENAL!! I was starting to wonder if there would be a new Molden book this year. I'm glad it started drawing itself because it's fantastic. Santa's beard is so cool, great idea. And in true Bob Canada style, the ending was unexpected and hilarious. "Sorry Fellows".....awesome!


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