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Monday, April 30, 2012

Minions #318 - Office Light Weight

Read today's Post And Read a Free Mystery!
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Greetings, Shin-Splints and Rib-cages!

Read "The Best Devil Money Can Buy " FREE
If you missed out on our coupon offer a while back or just don't have an ereader device yet, you've got yet another chance to read the first in my "Panorama Beach" mystery series for free, this time directly on the web!

Find it HERE!

See you guys back here next week with more "Minions at Work!"

                   -Minion Master Steve

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Minions #318 - Sales Forced

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Greetings, Cold Calls and Dubious Leads!

 This week I'm presenting a bonus bit of pop-culture business.  It's amazing just how many cartoon trivia references and pop-culture call-outs this "DC Nation" short, which first aired this week, squeezes into just over a minute.  I was especially delighted to see the call-out to my beloved, 1970s, GI Joe Adventure Team (complete with life-like hair and beard), the 12" GI Joe connection being my excuse for posting it here...


See you guys back here next week!

           - Minion Master Steve

Support starving Minions in Lair-land! Your donations support Minions at Work!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Minions #317 - Anti-gravity

If you missed our BONUS cartoon Thursday and its real-life back-story, see it HERE!
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Greetings, Intimates and Undergarments!

Well, it's been a time for celebration this last week, as some good friends of the Lair had an anniversary of sorts, and so did we (see the bonus cartoon and the post that goes with it for details).  Also, congrats to Mrs. Minion Master for turning in the new book in her "Haunted Souvenir Shop" mystery series (the first installment, "Murder Buys a T-Shirt" is available here and wherever books or ebooks are sold).

We're going to keep things short this week, as there's a big storm blowing in (somebody has been using the weather control machine to keep their coffee warm again) and we want to get this posted before any possible power failures (we blame the forces of good!).

See you guys next week.

                 - Minion Master Steve

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Bonus Minions #316 - Drywall Day!

Be Sure to Read Our Post for the Romantic, True Story of "Drywall Day!"
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Hey, gang!  Welcome to a special, top-secret, mid-week "Minions at Work" update!  Why the bonus cartoon, and what the hell is "drywall day?"  Well, it's a very special anniversary, both for us here at the Lair, and for long-time friends of the Minions (and us), Rob and Ximena, and here's the untold story...

Way back when Mrs. Minion Master and I fled Eugene, Oregon, just ahead of the authorities to our present undisclosed-location, we cleverly disguised our new lair by buying a 1940s cottage with the intent of upgrading it to serve the forces of evil.  At some point about ten years ago we decided that we would convert the semi-attached garage into a new office for myself and my large collection of action-figures.  At this point, the Minions were but a glimmer in my eye.  We had no idea that the office would soon double as the photo-studio in which the Minions and their tiny world would take up residence.

We elected to take on the conversion ourselves, and to speed up the work, we called on a group of extra-friendly friends and had a "drywall party," kind of like a modern-day barn-raising, where we'd have plenty of hands to put up the sheet-rock on the walls.  And like I said, a good number of excellent friends showed up from near and far, including Rob and Ximena, who decided to car-pool over.  Just to show you the kind of friends they are, it was Rob's birthday and they came anyway.  (We did get him a cake, turning it into possibly history's only "drywall birthday party!)

Anyway, Rod and Ximena started out that weekend as a carpool, and ended it a couple, and they've been together ever since!  In fact, they're married, and a while back, moved from Oregon to sunny Arizona.  And apparently, they'd kept alive the memory of "Drywall Day" as a kind of anniversary for them.  As and I said, it has been ten years.  So when Ximena approached me about doing a special "Minions at Work" cartoon in honor of their anniversary, there was absolutely no way I could say no!

It was a bit of work though.  For example, I decided that I needed some Minion-scale surrogates (not look-alikes, that would have taken a lot more time and resources than we had) for Rob and Ximena, which was tough, considering we only had one female Minion, Number 67, and she didn't even remotely look the part.  But it was well-past time to diversify the crew, so I grabbed one of the Frankensteined Liv dolls I've been using to make female civilians and slapped a Minions uniform on her.  It was a rush job, and the fit of the uniform isn't great, but I think she turned out pretty good.  I'll try and tweak her look for future appearances, but she'll definitely be back.  There were other complications as well, like cutting sheets of 1/6th scale drywall!

And life threw us some curve-balls too, in the form of a major, seemingly life-threatening health scare for a family member, and Mrs. Minion Master was in the midst of finishing up her next mystery novel, which was already past deadline!

As always, there are things I wish we could have gotten better, but we got-er-done!

Anyway, happy tenth Drywall Day, guys (happy birthday too, Rob), and we'll be celebrating the birthday of the Lair here as well!

And we'll see everybody back here Monday for our regularly-scheduled Minion Madness!

               - Matrimonial Minion Master, Steve

Monday, April 09, 2012

Minions #315 - Unclear Course

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Greetings, Magnetic Deviations and Uncorrected Courses!

This being a holiday weekend, I'd normally wait to post this week's cartoon on Tuesday, but this is a SPECIAL week here at the lair, and we have a SECOND, TOP SECRET cartoon that will appear later in the week!  In fact, it's so secret, even WE don't know what it is yet!  But we'll come up with something!  Check back, oh, Thursday or so!

                 - Mysterious Minion Master, Steve
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Sunday, April 01, 2012

Minions #314 - Survey Says!

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Greetings, Standard Deviants and Sampling Errors!

A special challenge of doing a photo comic like "Minions at Work" is that I can't just think of a gag and draw a picture.  I have to find a way to visualize it with objects that I have on hand (or make, or can buy).  This creates special problems in a ways you wouldn't expect.

For instance, we have a large "cast" of standard characters in action-figure form.  Some of these have only been used once or twice, but some of them get used very often.  Some characters like Minion No. 1, Number 2, and Number 9 appear in a hung percentage of my comics, and so get used a lot.  And of course, I've been doing this for years now, so those action figures are subject to wear, tear, and the ravages of time. There also the danger that if any of my "actors" were lost or damaged, I'd have no way to replace them.  No. 1 and Number 2 both have "doubles" in case of damage or loss, and some of the others I might be able to replace or repair through some diligent Ebay shopping.  But most of the base action figures I use here are obscure, and in some cases, very rare.  The Penguin is a special problem.  I'd dearly love to have duplicates so I could safely modify him for greater articulation, but even though he's probably a generic dollar store toy under his costume, he originally came from a thrift store, and I've NEVER found another like him, despite years of searching.

So I'm careful with unique items, and I sometimes find myself needing to do repairs.  This week, for example, I fixed a long-standing problem with Minion Number 2.  The elastic that holds his gas mask on has been slowly stretching out of shape till it could no longer hold his mask on.  An earlier repair attempt to one strap had used the wrong size and shape of elastic and tended to roll off the back of his head, causing the mask to re-position itself.  But I finally found the right kind of elastic and took the time to replace the tiny straps.  He's all better for this week's panel!

And there are other problems as well.  I've got lots of generic "civilian" figures for street, office and bar scenes, but most of them are male.  It's surprisingly hard to find realistic female action figures in 1/6th scale.  Barbie's lack of realistic proportions are well reported in the press, and most versions of Barbie are so stiff and lacking in articulation that they look more like victims of some kind of poison-dart attack than real women.  And while there are true "action figure" women that are supposedly 1/6th scale, most are built like male-fantasy centerfolds, and are half a head taller than the average 1/6th male figure.  My Minions are a bit taller than the average GI Joe, but not tall enough for many of them.  Maybe okay for super-heroines, amazons or super-villainesses, but not for your average woman on the street.

Well, I've finally found a recipe to easily and (for the moment, anyway) cheaply create realistic, articulated, and proportional female figures to use in my cartoons.  I use Liv dolls for bodies.  These are big-headed mutant dolls in the style of the better-known Bratz dolls, but the bodies are well articulated and come in a variety of skin tones.  It's also easy to swap the big-mutant head for any of a zillion types of traditional fashion-doll heads.  The combination results in fairly realistic female figure that scales out well under six feet tall, and doesn't look like she has beach-balls for breast implants.  I've now got a half-dozen or so of these (you see one in today's panel).  So next time I do a bar scene, it won't have to be such a sausage-fest.

Donate using the button below, and you can help me to buy even more women to use here at the lair!  Wait.  That came out ALL wrong!

                  - Minion Master Steve

Support starving Minions in Lair-land! Your donations support Minions at Work!