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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Minions #300 - Coming Unwrapped

Click Cartoon for More Radioactivity!

Greetings, Fatal Doses!

It just so happens that this week is our 300th installment (more or less, as there have been some numbering errors and unnumbered bonus cartoons along the way) of Minions at Work!  By all rights, I should be doing something really special, but as always happens, I'm just too busy at the moment.  In fact, I'm lucky to be getting up a new cartoon at all.  I'm working on several writing and publishing projects at once, and we're leaving for Las Vegas for a work-cation in just a couple days.  So let this be your warning.  We won't be back at the lair until Christmas eve, so it's a little unpredictable when next week's cartoon will be up.  I'll try to have something ready for you though!

Anyway, sorry #300 isn't more spectacular.  To make up for it. here's a rerun of the video we made in honor of Minions #200.  Hey, they rerun holiday specials all the time!

See you guys when we get back!  Happy holidays as you choose to celebrate them (or not)!


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Monday, December 12, 2011

Minions #299 - Ho Ho Horrific (and a sad goodbye to some great Minions!)

Click Cartoon for More Xmas Cheer

Greetings, Holiday Spoilers!

I'm sad to report this week the sudden and unexpected closure of the Hilltop Inn, our local writer's hang-out for more than a decade.  All that time, every Sunday afternoon, somewhere between four and forty (and we never knew exactly how many in advance) would show up, eat, drink coffee and iced tea by the bathtub-full, harass the staff, get harassed back by the staff in spades, talk writing, gossip, and generally have a great time.  Well, the economy and life-difficulties for the owners have brought it all to a sudden end.  There were about twenty of us there today, and we were literally the last customers out as they closed it down, which was somehow appropriate.

I looked back though the archives, and sure enough, back in 2008 I dedicated a cartoon to the ever-patient staff (we stayed so long every Sunday, we pretty much always sat through breaks and shift changes for our wait-person).  I'm rerunning it today in their honor.  We will miss you guys.  You were the best Minions ever, and we didn't appreciate you nearly enough until you were gone.  Best of luck to you in landing quickly in a new lair!  Sigh.
Click to enlarge
- Sad Minion Master Steve
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Monday, December 05, 2011

Minions #298 - Head Case (and a mystery FREE ebook!)

Click Cartoon for Bigger Delusions!

Greetings, Reruns!

No, you haven't seen this cartoon before.  Okay, you have seen this pictures before, just two weeks ago.  Actually, I did this version first, but then I came up with a second punch-line, asked Mrs. Minion Master which one she liked best, and she picked the other one.  So what you've got here is your basic sloppy seconds.  Or, maybe YOU would have picked THIS as the funnier one, I don't know.  All I really know is, traffic really drops off here around the holidays, so like the TV networks, I don't feel bad about a LITTLE recycling.  However, to make it up to you, I've got an early Christmas present for you.  Keep reading!

Get My New "Panorama Beach" Mystery Ebook, "The Best Devil Money Can Buy" for (play irony music!) FREE from Smashwords.com!

What's "Panorama Beach?"  The fictional Florida Panhandle tourist town that's the setting of my new mystery series, of which "The Best Devil Money Can Buy" is the first installment.  Here's the blurb:

In 1967 Panorama Beach, is awash with dirty money: Developer money, drug money, vice money, and green-deputy Tommy “Mustang” Sawtell might just be the last untouched lawman in north Florida. But Mustang is about to be tested as he investigates his first suspicious death, a “floater” found in a pond under the Sky Bucket ride, from which the deputy believes he fell, jumped – or was thrown. But the deputy doesn’t know why Sheriff “Big” Bass has personally assigned him to the case, there are signs of a cover-up, and Mustang is about to get a good look at his department’s dark underbelly. Before it’s over, he’s going to learn that justice, the law, and doing what’s right are all different things, and he may not like – or survive -- the dangerous little place where they overlap.

Now, if you'd like to do me a large and just buy a copy on your ebook reader, it's now available directly for purchase for $2.99 at Smashwords.com, Amazon's Kindle Store, and B&N's Nook Store, and coming soon to other major ebook sellers.  But if you act fast, you can also get your copy for free.  Just use the Smashwords link above, order the book, and at checkout enter this coupon code: KL27M  That's it!  Your book download (in formats to read on Nook, Kindle, Kobo, and pretty much all ereaders, computers, and portable app-devices) is free!  The catch?  This coupon expires December 13th, 2011, so go download yours TODAY!

My one request in exchange for the freebie, however: If you read it, and enjoy it, your reviews, star-ratings, "likes," etc. on Smashwords for sure, and on B&N.com and Amazon if you get the chance, are much appreciated!

See you guys back here next week, and watch this space for future ebook special offers.

            - Minion Master Steve

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Minions #297 - Big Deal

Click for Bigger Bargain!

Greetings, Limited Offers!

Yeah, it's that time of year again.  No, we're not ready either.

Stuff to do.  See you next week!

        - Minion Master Steve
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Monday, November 21, 2011

Minion #296 - Face the Facts

Click cartoon for clearer head!

Greetings, Face Suckers!

Just wanted to let you know about my holiday fantasy story, "A Holiday Explained" that just became free on Amazon's Kindle, and has since hit as high as #7 on their fantasy best-seller list!  Yes, this is the same darned fantasy story that's been freely available on the web and on other ebook stores for free all year, but this is the first time we've been able to offer it for free on Kindle, so there!  I just means that EVERYONE can get it free now!  Anyway, with the holidays coming, this is a good time for you to read it if you haven't yet.

Haven't got a Kindle yet?  Hey, you know you want one, maybe the new Kindle fire color tablet!  Do us a favor and click through one of our Amazon links here when you do.  We get a little cut on the transaction, and it will help to support your weekly "Minions at Work" fix.  Or just click that donate button down there and send us cash.  We LIKE cash!

- Steve

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Minions #297 - Damaged Cargo

Click cartoon to enlarge cover-up!

Greetings, Overstocks and Factory Seconds!

To date, it's been pretty rare when we've done a cartoon that was at all topical or in any way political, but
I just built this nifty new Bridge for Cap'n Rehab's submarine, the "Naughtyless," and I desperately needed a joke to go with it.  And so many people, in politics, Hollywood, and elsewhere, have all at once stepped in it in one way or another, and are in need of a little image make-over.  Well, that's Cap'n Rehab's thing!  Cruising the crushing depths of ocean trenches, where only the most determined paparazzi will follow, the Cap'n is always ready with a well-aimed Valium torpedo, a crew of hard-working reputation-swabbers, and a treasure-chest full of questionable therapies to turn around the public functions of any person who is even marginally famous.  So he, there are times he's just going to steer for a topical port-of-call.  That's just how he rolls.  Deal with it.

- See you guys next week,
  Mental Minion Master, Steve
Also on Smashwords, Nook, and other ebook retailers!
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Monday, November 07, 2011

Minions #296 - He's a Mandarin-eater!

Click for more soy sauce!

Greetings, Broken Fortune Cookies!

Some weeks it's easier than others to come up with a joke for a new cartoon.  Sometimes we spend hours researching the web, looking for just the right word to close out the punch line of an especially sophisticated fart joke.  And other weeks, like this one, we just dive into our almost frighteningly-diverse prop department and go to our silly place.  Sometimes the silly place is better.  You be the judge.

See you guys next Monday!

              - Minion Master of Evil Chop-sticks, Steve
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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Minions #295 - Cold Blooded Killers (plus a free ebook!)

Well, kids, I can't believe this, but I just screwed up and reused a cartoon I'd already posted earlier in the month.  Sigh.  I'm on this.  Here's a brand-new and absolutely never-before-run cartoon.

And in case you came in following an earlier promo post and DIDN'T see this cartoon before, here' it is again.  (Free ebook info follows!)
Click Cartoon for Fluffier Cushions!

Greetings, Armchair Minions!

Happy Halloween, or as the Minions down at the lair like to call it, "recruitment drive."  Oh, sure, most of the ones that show up at the door are kind of young, but they're used to funny costumes, are willing to work for stale candy-corn, and are at just the right age to cart off to "Minion Academy."

Oh, yes, there's a training school for Minions!  It's just like Hogwarts!  Except of course that it's a cold, drafty, dangerous castle full of death-traps where most of the faculty, alumni and your fellow students are trying to kill you.  Oh, wait!  It's just like Hogwarts!

And hey, it's a great time to get your holiday season off to a creepy start with a free flash-fiction ebook written by your Minion Master!  You can download it for free for your Kindle compatible reader, device, or app!

  Also available on Nook, Smashwords, and in most other major ebook stores!

Enjoy, and we'll see you back here next week!

         - Chair-master Steve

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Minions #294 - Bar for the Course

Click cartoon discretely for secret bigness!

Greetings, Broken Hipsters!

Wish I could say things were getting back to normal here at the lair, but I'm quickly forgetting what normal (or what used to pass for normal around here) is like.  In recent months, friends, acquaintances, and family members have shown a distressing tendency to drop dead and end up in hospitals or emergency rooms in bizarre and unusual fashions.  So I'm going to take the unusual step of sending some shout-outs to various friends-of-Miniondom.

In no particular order, wishes of cheer to artist friend Jonathan Kort, who just lost his grandfather and also tried (unsuccessfully) and remove his thumb with a sharp chisel.  Hang in there Jonathan!

Then some free-better-and-stay-that-way wishes to writer buddy Nathan Meyer (go check out his books and buy a few, why don't you?) who, even though his dance card was already pretty full recovering from a major illness, decided he could engage in a little bacterial research by trying out a nasty and rare new strain of pneumonia. Points for initiative, Nate, but really, I think everyone would be happier if you left the research for the CDC.  Glad you're finally home, and feel better soon!

And a special very-cautious-Minion hug out to long-time Minions-supporter Rose Prescott, who suffered a bad fall while visiting New York, managing to prang both arms, break her nose, and do something nasty to a toe just to have an even number of injuries.  And a bonus shout-out to husband Sean, who has been there for all her hospital adventures, and now has to get her home to Oregon in her battered condition.  We just feel terrible, guys.  Safe trip home!

Everybody out there, please take care, give your friends and loved ones a hug, and keep yourselves safe.  Remember, we're professionals here.  Let trained, professional Minions do the prat-falls off cat-walks into molten lava, play mumblety-peg with death-lasers, and battle disease germs the size of Chevy Tahoes.  It's what we're trained to do, and it's not for amateurs!

 We damned well better see you ALL back here next week!

                    - Minion Safety Master Steve

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Minions #293 - Disincentive

Click Cartoon for Larger Image!  (Whoops!  You missed!)

Greetings, Human Targets!

Well, even though this cartoon is based on a library shot, it's at least totally new today and up on time.  This week has still been a drag.  I keep waiting for "normal" to kick in, but I've kind of forgotten what normal is!  I did get some cool new set pieces this week (which required some work to make useful for shooting) so you will be seeing some new "looks" in future lair sets that will break things up some.

Maybe some of you don't know it, but except for a few outdoor shots, pretty much all of our Minions at Work cartoons are shot on a 2 x 4 foot workbench, with a plastic-pipe "lighting grid" over it used to hang lights, backdrops, and overhead props and set pieces.  That means I have no room to leave sets assembled for any period of time.  Each new photo session requires me to tear down the set and start over (or at least modify what's already sitting there).  I've got hundreds of large set pieces (wall flats, columns, cardboard "blocks" that are used to make walls, corridors, doors or platforms, etc.), hundreds of pieces of furnishings and furniture, and literally thousands of small props, not to mention the dozens of action figures that make up my regular "cast," and the hundreds from my larger 1/6th collection that I draw upon for special our one-shot characters.

Set pieces tend to fall into "families," though there's some overlap.  My first, and maybe biggest, family is the "retro-futuristic" family.  Silver, black, and chrome are the dominant colors, and you'll see elements of "Googie" diner architecture from time to time.  It's modeled on the lairs from early James Bond films.  I've got lots of consoles, view-screens, laboratory benches, and "large, glowing devices of uncertain purpose" to dress up these sets.

Then there's the "nature" family.  I use granite, marble and wood-grain contact paper for much of this, covering boxes (or set pieces custom made from cardboard), large cardboard tubes, etc, to create a set of giant building blocks that I can make most any kind of dungeon, palace, or tomb, or industrial building.

There's the "warehouse" family, consisting of crates (I must have thirty or so miniature wooden crates alone), boxes,  and barrels used to create warehouse and storage room settings.

There's the "exotics" family, which has lots of brass, gold, wood, bamboo and silk.  I can use it to create throne rooms, tiki bars, Asian restaurants, and ornate Overlord living quarters.

There's actually an entire "food service" family used to make the infamous Minions bar, restaurants, lunch rooms, fast-food joints, parties, etc.  Not to mention just keeping the Minions set for random snacks, drinks, and lunch breaks.

I've also got a small but-growing "steampunk" family, mostly used for scenes on Cap'n Rehab's submarine, the Naughtyless.

Newest of all is the "Gothic" family, a lot of which has been assembled from various modified Halloween decorations (and so this is obviously the time of year for upgrades).  A key acquisition I made a few weeks ago was a set of HUGE plastic columns intended to support wedding cakes.  I quickly repainted them in a dark, faux-stone finish (I think they look pretty awesome), and you've seen them a couple of times already in my "throne room" sets.  With this family, I'll be able to do more "old-school" castles than I could with just my "nature" family, as well as mad-scientist labs, evil temples, and take things in a darker and more (funny) horrific direction that I've been able to do so far.

That's probably more than you ever cared to know about the behind-the-scenes here at Minions at Work, but I just thought that, although it probably often looks like I just threw a given cartoon together, a lot of work, though, and resources goes into every one of these silly things.

Anyway, see you guys here next week!

        - Minion Master Steve

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Minions #292 - More than a Paradox

For future bigness click cartoon now (or even sooner)!

Greetings, Doppelgangers!

Sorry this week's cartoon is a day late (and we're ALWAYS a dollar short here, thus the "donate" button below).  If Minion No. 1 hadn't run down the battery on the time machine, we could just go back and post this on Monday, but no such luck.

Speaking of Minion No. 1, follow him on Twitter for weekly reminders of our new cartoon, and occasional fun posts and links relating to super-villainy in the media!

See you guys next week!

- Minion Master Steve
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Monday, October 10, 2011

Minions at Work delayed this week

Well, more likely, later this week.  Due to our attending an out-of-town memorial service for a family member this weekend, we're going to be delayed this time around.  Hopefully we'll feel like being funny in a few days.  Stay tuned.

- Sorry!
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Monday, October 03, 2011

Minions #291 - Butting out

Click on Cartoon for Bigger Butt!

Greetings, Cheeky Monkeys!

I really had intended to put these throne room cartoons into inventory so that I could spread them out.  But several things happened.  First, I keep finding cool me props to att to the room, both statues (thank you Halloween supplies!) and those columns (thank you somebody's giant wedding cake, Goodwill, and spray paint!).  So I kept fiddling around with the set instead of tearing it down and shooting something else.

Now I confess that while I think these cartoons may look pretty good, they may not be the funniest thing I've ever done.  I've got to admit that it feels like the humor-bones are a bit creaky after my enforced layoff.  But as with all things, it gets better with practice.  Who knows, maybe by next week, I'll have build a different set (still want to incorporate those nifty columns though) and maybe it will inspire me to something more clever.

- Out of Practice Minion Master Steve

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Minions #290 - Throne a Curve

Click on cartoon for bigger misunderstandings!

Greetings, Seat Cushions!

Hey, Minions, want a FREE mini-ebook written by yours truly?  Then drop over to the Kindle store (or your favorite other ebook store, it's on most of them, including Nook, Kobo, SmashWords, Apple) and download my creepy little holiday tale "One Foot in the Grave."  Go on!  I dare you!

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Minions #289 - Redecorated

Greetings, Tasteful Wall Hangings!

Well, for better or worse, we're back to producing all-new Minions material this week!  Now, be patient with us while we get up to speed.  This is one of those, "is this dreadfully funny or just dreadful" weeks.

Sometimes the process here is, I've got an idea (and some props and materials) for a set, and no cartoon ideas to go with it.  Sometimes I just build the set anyway and wing it.  This was one of those times, and given that I just completed the set last night (and wished I'd had time to dig up a few more things for it) I really just had to go with my punchline and hope that it made somebody chuckle.

Of course, now that I've posted this, I've come up with (and shot) what I think it a better cartoon using the same set, and I've got an idea for at least one more to shoot before I tear the throne-room down and do something else.  It will likely be a struggle for a while, as I set-up and tear-down one set after another, but hopefully we'll get back to the point of having enough recent inventory that I can take a week or two off here and there.

Oh, by the way, I'm a best-seller on Amazon Kindle!  Last week, Amazon's 'bots noticed that my holiday short-short gothic-horror story, "One Foot in the Grave," was free on other bookstores, and marked it down to free as well.  What this means is, suddenly you start moving hundreds of copies a day.  Actually, I've "sold" nearly 2000 (maybe more by the time you read this).  I've been as high as #7 on the Kindle fantasy best-seller list, and well into the top #100 in genre fiction.  All of which is -- not making me a penny. It's a loss-leader, and you hope folks will like the story and go buy more of your stuff down the road.

Oh well.  Maybe I'll be rich next week!  Meanwhile, you can support the under-funded activities at "Minions at Work" by giving us a little tip through the donate button at the bottom of this post.  Thanks!

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Minions #288 - Present, But Not Back

Click cartoon for bigger back!

Greetings, Hangers On!

Okay, this may not be the greatest cartoon I've ever posted here, but it's NEW, baby!  New as in a new shoot, done Sunday night, just hours before I'm point this.  See, what between my main camera breaking (and not wanting to waste a lot of effort shooting inferior quality stuff with my old camera) and various family and personal emergencies, I've simply been mining my backlog of files to create new cartoons, and I've been doing it for several months now.

See, it works like this.  I save EVERYTHING I shoot for Minions, and for each photo setup, I do many shots, from various angles, and sometimes reposed and repositioned as well.  I pick the best shot for the intended gag, and that leaves me with lots of outtakes and alternate versions, which can in turn sometimes be re-cropped an reedited.  And currently, I have over TEN GIGABYTES of Minions-related material here to draw on.  So, when I'm behind or stuck for a new cartoon, I'll browse through all this stuff, looking for new punch-lines to go with old pictures.

I suspect, most of the time the repetition goes unnoticed by most of you (though sometimes it much be very obvious to regular readers, especially when I got for running gags, and I don't go out of my way to disguise it in that case).

But I prefer to deliver fresh material most of the time, and life has gotten in the way of that lately. But we are past the immediate emergencies, and my camera, long-delayed by back-ordered parts, is finally out of the shop, so I decided last week it was time to dust off the old Minion Studio here at the Lair and get back to (new) work.

But I've spent the last week simply cleaning out and rewiring the studio, and only today was I really in the position of shooting something.  Well, I'm SURE I had a bunch of cool ideas last week, but as I got ready to put a set together, I drew a blank.  Even though I hadn't really gone anywhere lately, and the studio had always been back there behind me in my office, I still felt jet-lagged and out of sorts.

Isn't that always the way?  And then I realized, this was the meta that would drive this week's strip.  I had to remind myself just how crazy the world of the Minions was, and work my way back into it just like anybody else coming back from the beach after Labor Day to face the old 9 to 5 grind.  So, Number Two becomes my stand-in in this week's cartoon, and just kind of threw everything and the kitchen sink at him.

It ain't great, but I hope it gives you a grin, and we'll be back next week with more new stuff.   We'll see you here then!

- Back to Mastering Minion Master Steve

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Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Minions #287 - Don't Tell, Don't Ask

Click for Bigger Rates!

Greetings, Office Headaches!

Tuesday is Monday this week, because of the holiday weekend here in the U.S., so no complaining that we're late.  MINIONS GET LABOR DAY OFF!  IT'S THE LAW!  (Yeah, like that ever stopped an Evil Overlord.)

After a long break of mining our multi-gigabyte photo archive for material, I'm finally about to getting back to some new shooting here.  I'd hope to be into it already, but I go distracted when I found that some of the lights in our shooting studio weren't working, and I'd totally lost track of how our nest of extension cords was hooked up (not quite as bad as it sounds, since all our lighting these days is with low-wattage CF and LED bulbs, and the loads are quite small).  So I tore the whole thing apart, installed the first of several permanent power strips on our shooting bench, and rewired the whole thing.

Hope to have totally new material for you next week!

- Minion Master Steve

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Minions #286 - Lost Patrol

Click Cartoon for Bigger Capacity (not really)

Stand by, following the usual strap-hanging for an abrupt stop by your Minion Master!

  Your interminable wait is important to us. To serve you better, a supervisor may feed the representative assigned to serve you to the razor monkeys just before they can answer your call. It's just one more way of saying, "we care, just not about you."

Join our "Minions at Work" group on Facebook. And yes, I'm finally on Twitter. Follow me. I'm JSteveYork there (clicking on the previous link will take you straight to my profile page.) Eventually I'm getting No. 1 his own account for Minions-related-business, but one thing at a time. Still: We're everywhere! We're everywhere!

Belated greetings, Minions fans!

Sorry we've been missing-in-action the last week and a half.  We had a family tragedy which I will not bring you all down by going into, but trust to say that it was bad.

Mrs. Minion Master and I are fine (physically, anyway) though, and despite our neighbor's efforts to drop a 70 foot spruce on us (I blame the Forces of Good) the lair is intact as well.  So we will be working on restoring our battered psyches, and working on Minion at Work is exactly the kind of fun distraction I need in these troubled times.  So hopefully, as summer  winds down, I'll be going back into serious photo-shoots again, and adding some nifty upgrades to the Minion apparatus.  And hopefully there will be no more unplanned disruptions of our schedule.

So, sadness for us, fun for you!  It's just the way that evil works...

- Minion Master Steve
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