Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Isaac & Ida, episode 7: U of C Guy!

In this installment of the insanely popular comic strip Isaac & Ida, I introduce the sensational new character find of 2004: U of C Guy!

I wanted to do something outside my usual brand of "campus life hijinks" and put the strip in a different setting for once. I don't remember where the idea of a University of Chicago superhero came from, but it seemed like a decent enough concept at the time. (Note that, in practice, this is just another excuse to make jokes about the divide between academia and "real life.")

Stylistically, I went a little more "cartoony" than usual on this one, because of the obvious wackiness of the subject matter. I used the opportunity to play with angles, do some attempts at "noir" lighting (for example, in panel 3), and try some unorthodox panel layouts. I think I did a decent job at using panel shape and size to convey pacing—note the three small panels of U of C Guy punching the thug.

U of C jokes: in panel 4, our hero says "Vita Excolatur, villain!" This is half of the official U of C motto, vita excolatur, crescat scientia, which is translated as "Let knowledge grow from each to each, and so be human life enriched." (Which, honestly, is a pretty good sentiment, I think.) The reference to The Marx-Engels Reader is that it seems to be required reading for basically every single entry-level Sociology course. Plus, while the Economics school is pretty conservative, the rest of the university is fairly liberal—though not nearly as much as, say, Hampshire.

Lastly, I'd like to point out yet another theft from Kevin Cannon's college strip Johnny Cavalier: the way I drew laughter in the final panel is a direct lift from this strip. Thanks for letting me plunder your work to jump-start my comics career, Kevin!

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