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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

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