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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Evil will resume soon

Posting from my phone, so I will be brief. sorry about the interruption in your minion cartoons. Just when we thought medical adventures were taking a lull, mrs minion master ended up in a hospital 100 miles from home for emergency surgery, and I'm here with her. she is recovering well and we hope to be home in a few days.  so I HOPE we'll be back to schedule shortly. Check back next week!

Monday, July 02, 2012

Minions #325 - Troublesome Clogs

Yes, we totally missed last week, without even a note of explanation.  As I've said before, we've been dealing with an ongoing family health emergency that has just has us overloaded, and in addition, I had a story due on deadline for a real, live, paying anthology, and that took priority for the little time I did have.  The good news, health emergency getting less "emerg" as time goes on, the story is turned in on time (another in my "Clockwork Cowboy" steampunk western series, if you were curious), and we have a new cartoon for you this week, right on time!  Hey, you were probably on vacation and didn't even notice we were missing?  Did you?  DID YOU?  Didn't think so!
Click Cartoon for Bigger Plunger!
See you guys back here next week!

                             - Minion Master Steve
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Monday, June 18, 2012

Minions #324 - Lesser of Two Evils

Click Cartoon for a Bigger Mess!

Greetings, Plungers and Low-flows!

Today's cartoon is brought to you by "Westward Weird," a great collection stories that put science-fiction and fantasy spins on tales of the old-west, including my steampunk western story, The Clockwork Cowboy!

Though I wrote "Clockwork Cowboy" as a stand-alone story, Liberty Brass, the damaged Confederate clockwork artilleryman hero of my story was too good to just let be.  While "The Clockwork Cowboy" takes place later in his adventures, it raised so many questions about his past that I decided to skip back to his origins and start writing forward from there.  

The first follow-on story, "The Unwinding of Liberty Brass," is a prequel, flashing back to just after Liberty Brass parted ways with the Army of the Confederacy after the battle at Gettysburg.  He's a broken man, literally, and figuratively, but a chance encounter will change his life, force him to choose between death, and the path that will lead him to become the Clockwork Cowboy of legend.
Click to order from Amazon
And I'm happy to report that in just a few weeks, the next installment in the adventures of the Clockwork Cowboy will start appearing in ebook stores, and it's his biggest and wildest yet!

As Liberty Brass and his amazing clockwork horse, Piston, make their way west, they are first attacked by a clockwork highwayman.  They have no sooner subdued their attacker when they are all taken prisoner by a mysterious pair of clockwork men named Copperpot and Kettle, and taken to a forgotten plantation house deep in the Kentucky hills, ruled by the wondrous Steam Man.  At first it seems a utopia, where mechanical men live in peace, free from the wars of men, and work for their common good.

 But there are secrets here, deep as a mine shaft, and dark as Kentucky coal, and Liberty learns that the price of truth just might be the loss of his freedom -- or his mechanical life!
A Preview of the Cover for "The Steam Man's Plantation/"
Watch this space for further announcements!

See you folks back here next week!

            - Clockwork Minion Master Steve

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Monday, June 11, 2012

Minions #323 - Carry on!

Click cartoon for Extra Baggage!

Greetings, Shoulder-bags and roll-arounds!

Is your shirt this cool?  I think not!
Today's cartoon is brought to you by the awesome new dinosaur-skeleton shirt that my wife just gave me as a birthday present!

Now, I loves me some Hawaiian shirts, and I've got a bunch of them that I wear pretty much all summer, and any time I travel from Oregon to warmer locations in the winter.  I especially love nerdy Hawaiian shirts, and I have a few that I treasure, with things like spiders, cartoon space shuttles, and giant Japanese robots.

But shirts like that are hard to find off-the-shelf, and if you're an odd size like me (six-foot-six and none-too-slim, Steve smash!) it's just impossible.  So the ones I've got have all been custom made, mostly hand-made gifts from my wonderful daughter.

But she's got like, a life and stuff, and does not spend all her spare time making me shirts, and I know there are some of you out there who might lust after such a shirt, and have nobody at all who could make it for them.  I've got a solution for you, but on to that in a minute...

Anyway, you might think that the hard part about this shirt is the fabric, but turns out there are TONS of nerd-cool fabrics out there that would make a cool Hawaiian shirt.  My wife found this one at a regular-old craft store, and there are plenty of on-line sources, and even on-line places that print custom fabrics.  You can even buy stuff (including old and out-of-print designs) on eBay!  So, once you have fabric, all you need is to find somebody to turn it into a shirt for you!

So, how about the person who made mine (who just happens to be my sister-in-law) who is starting her own custom shirt business?  Drop on over to Sew Campy Shirts and see how it's done.  The site is still under construction, but you'll find tips on picking and buying fabric, prices, and instructions on placing an order.

And it doesn't have to take forever.  Your ship could ship in as little as ten days.  Yeah, it's going to cost you a little more than a store-bought shirt, but trust me, these things get attention, and there's nothing more satisfying when people ask about it (and they will ask) than to say, "why thanks, it's custom made!"  And walk away knowing you've got the only one on the planet like it!  Winning!

Tell her I sent you, and she'll try extra hard to take all the pins out!

I'll just be chilling out here in my awesome shirt, and see you folks back here next week!

                                   - Minion Master, Steve

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Sunday, June 03, 2012

Minions #322 - Boarding Instructions

Click Cartoon for More Legroom

Greetings, No-class Fliers!

Sorry we totally flaked out on last week's cartoon.  Pressures of family health emergencies have played havoc with our schedules and comedic energy levels.I had the concept for this week's cartoon worked out and had started building the set, but realized I wasn't going to get it done even by late Monday without pulling an all-nighter, and just decided to waste.  The end-result is probably better than it would have been anyway, as it allowed me to dig out some mission props and to take my time setting things up a little more carefully.  It took time and experimentation to get all the elements I wanted into the shot.

It has been pointed out to me by Mrs. Minion Master that the background wall is suspiciously close to the plane, making you wonder what happened to the far wing.  On considering this, I offer the following possible  explanations:

A: The "wall" in in fact the corner of something, or perhaps a much smaller structure.  It ends just at the left of the cartoon and the plane's wing projects around the corner.

B: The plane is a crazy cartoon plane like those commonly seen on the old "Bullwinkle and Rocky" commercials, with absurdly long landing gear, and even more absurdly short wings.  Imagine a couple of cartoon clouds zooming past in the background on an endless loop, while the announcer intones: "Meanwhile our heroes could imagine that in the skies far above Frostbite Falls..." and you'll get the general idea.

C: The wing broke off when the plane crashed into the building.  This is not surprising when you realize the plane is clearly piloted by Charles Lindbergh, and he's dead.  In this case, you have only to imagine that what Minion No. 1, standing in the background, is saying into his walkie-talkie is, "...oh, yeah, don't cancel the flight.  That will totally buff out!"

D: Why are you even wondering where the wing is when you first need to ask yourself, how did those enormous nose-wheels get through that little, tiny, landing gear door?

See you folks back here next week -- if we don't get detained at security...

                - Your Pal in Gitmo, Minion Master Steve

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sorry we're late this week...BUT WE'RE EVIL!

Your Minion Master Here,

Sorry we're late this week, folks!  I had every intention of getting a new cartoon out on Tuesday (because of the U.S. holiday).  Had the gag all planned, and even started setting up for the shoot.  

But a lot of Life has been happening here at the lair, what with a close family member having a triple heart bypass and Mrs. Minion Master spending the weekends in a neighboring city to take care of said relative.  

Between that, the holiday, and the fact that I've been busy writing a long-delayed piece of fiction (which I just finished a few minutes ago) I decided this week's cartoon could just get bumped down the priority list, and I wasn't going to lose any sleep over it.  

So, while the above cartoon is not exactly correct about the situation, it does describe my mood at the moment.  I definitely won't have the cartoon tonight, though it's always possible I could jump on it tomorrow or later in the week.  

Or maybe I'll just say screw it, and run it next Monday instead.  Uncertainty.  It's how I roll right now.

So, while I hate to be an unreliable spoil-sport, that's just the way it's going to be this week.

But definitely I'll do better next week, so check back in a day or two if you want, just in case, and for sure be back here next Monday when there will for sure be a new Minions at Work cartoon!

- Steve

Monday, May 21, 2012

Minions #321 - We're Sunk!

Click Cartoon for Bigger Bomb!

Greetings, Studio Execs and Mini-Moguls!

I've got to tell you, sometimes this comic is guided by powers beyond my control or understanding.  Take tonight.  It's been a stressful week here at the lair, dealing with some serious family health issues (all of which seem to be resolving well, knock on unobtainium), and arrived home tonight, short of sleep, after a day mostly spent in the car driving mountain roads, and with no new comic to post.  I didn't even have a germ of an idea.

And part of me said, "screw it, it can just be late this week, or I can take a week off!  There are more important things, and I'm due!"  But I took a few minutes to wander over to the Minions at Work stage and look around for some inspiration.  And I picked up a box of assorted props that I hadn't look at in I-don't-know-how-long.  And my hand fell on a tiny replica of a Battleship TM game!  No, fate had decreed that sleep would be a while in coming.

Now, if you didn't know it, the "Battleship" movie opened in U.S. theaters this weekend, where it promptly caught fire, capsized, and sank.  Based on weekend box-office numbers, it looks to follow "John Carter" as this summer's second big-budget flop.

Now, part of me feels bad about this, because there are some nice folks over at Hasbro, which makes the Battleship game these days, and of course, I'm a huge fan of their classic GI Joe line, and have always had a soft-spot for the Transformers too.  But for the life of me, I can't understand how a movie like Battleship ever seemed like a good idea to anyone.

I mean, first of all, the idea that the game is a strong enough property to hang a major movie on pretty questionable.  I mean, there aren't even any characters (unless you count the plucky PT boat defending its two peg holes)!  But then, who thought, "let's turn it into an alien invasion movie?  And then pack it full of effects that look like outtakes from Transformers: Dark of the Moon!"  

This isn't the eighties folks!  You can't just blame it all on the cocaine!

But wait...  Maybe this isn't as insane an idea as it seems!  How's this for an alien-invasion "Battleship" movie premise:


The nuclear aircraft carrier USS George Washington is scheduled to arrive at San Francisco harbor, but just off shore, the vessel slows to a stop and begins to drift.  There are no signs of damage or distress, but the ship doesn't answer.  When a helicopter is sent to investigate, the ship is empty, the crew missing.  There is no sign of a struggle, no sign of violence.  The crew has simply vanished...

Meanwhile, back at the Pentagon, Admiral Distinguished (played by a distinguished elder actor with a certain kind of rough grit, Clint Eastwood being the perfect choice, but there are others) and his talented but abrasive new aid, Commander Studmuffin, have been charged by the Joint Chiefs to get to the bottom of the mystery.  The Admiral is of course regarded as the greatest naval strategist of the modern age, and rapidly approaching retirement.  Commander Studmuffin is brilliant but insubordinate.  The Admiral, seeing his potential, has rescued him from a possible court-martial, and this is literally his last chance.

They soon learn that naval crews, only the very best, are disappearing all over the fleet, and when a Russian frigate is found adrift in the north Atlantic, the admiral realizes it isn't just happening to the US Navy.  He reaches out to a Russian admiral, and the two old cold-warriors face off.  The Russian is at first reluctant to admit the truth, but then is convinced to confirm that the same thing is happening to them.

Commander Studmuffin identifies a pattern in the disappearances, and is able to predict that the next disappearance will be the crew of a destroyer that his just left the very port they're at!  Radio communications are down, and a storm has grounded aircraft.  Fortunately, a small, plucky patrol boat is available that the Admiral commandeers to go after the destroyer and try and warn them.

They arrive, but too late!  They break out the fog and clouds to see a huge UFO hovering over the destroyer, which is trapped in a bubble of energy, like a fly in amber, a some kind of beam of energy scans the vessel.  A second beam sweeps the plucky patrol boat, which fires off a missile to try and distract the UFO.  This seems to work a little too well, as the UFO releases the destroyer and turns its attention on the little boat.  They try to escape, using every trick the Admiral and his aide can come up with, but it's not enough.  An energy field envelops the little vessel and...

The Admiral and the Commander wake up on the bridge of a ship.  A very OLD ship, though all the paint and equipment looks factory new.  They stagger out onto the gangways and look down on the deck of a vast battleship floating in a calm sea.  Below them, hundreds of sailors are pulling themselves from the deck, emerging from every hatch and passageway, dazed and confused.  Where are they, and how did they get on the deck of the U.S.S. Iowa, looking as new and ship-shape as when it set out for sea-trials in 1940...