Monday, December 28, 2015

The thinking behind “Slipped”

© Michael Chevy Castranova 2015
 In my comic strip, “Slipped,” I have tried to tell and depict the kind of adventure stories I would like to read. So while not PG, certainly within an R rating.
The tales aim to be exciting, the violence thrilling but not gruesome. Tyler is a cat burglar, but hardly anyone ever dies — or is seen to die. This isn’t “Terry and the Pirates,” as much as I admired that fantastic strip.
The art in “Slipped” itself remains cartoon-y, even as I want the protagonists to be cartoon-world attractive — Tyler is cute and pretty, Pip the dog is endearing, etc. At the same time, Tyler has matured over the course of the strip, since March 2008, from a plucky youngster to a young woman. So, yes, sometimes she dresses as an adult woman — keeping in mind the styles of the mid-1920s.
(More important, she tends to make it known if she doesn’t like the attire I’ve selected for her. She reminds me that she’s the star of “Slipped,” after all.)
And most of the time the stories themselves are within the bounds of reason — well, if you accept that time travel, singing dogs and giant, intelligent rats are credible, right?
The tone changes, though, as the adventures evolve. Sometimes our heroes are caught up in a basic chase story or maybe a fight scene, espionage or science fiction — remember, Tyler met Pip on the moon.
But underneath all of it is Tyler’s search for what became of her father, Arkady Wilson — the first Scarlet Sparrow. That is what convinced her, and her sister, Mendacity, to agree to their latest adventure.
Which brings us to chapter 361, where things are about to go wildly astray from how Tyler planned. Of course.
Take a look.
And thanks for reading …
© Michael Chevy Castranova 2015

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

PIp makes a comeback

Image © Michael Chevy Castranova
With chapter 360 of “Slipped” I intend to bring Pip back into the main story. He’s been somewhat sidelined as new characters have been introduced.
And maybe, too, we can resolve whether he really can talk or if only Tyler imagines he talks. Of course, as he’s the one narrating the story from the future — or maybe the past, I’d have to look that up in earlier chapters — and comes to be known as a semi-famous singer of the American Songbook, I guess he does. Or maybe that comes later. We’ll just have to see.
The notion of dogs as companions in adventure fiction is not new. With little effort, we can name RinTin Tin, Lassie, Sandy in “Little Orphan Annie,” Toto in “The Wizard of Oz,” Asta in “The Thin Man” series, Snowy in all the Tintin stories, Bear in “Person of Interest” and Gromit in “Wallace and Gromit.” Each one helped instigate action — Sandy often saved the day as did Gromit, Toto is the reason Dorothy ran away from home and Asta actually found the missing Thin Man in the first movie, not Nick Charles.
I don’t think we should count Snoopy, though. Not much of an adventurer and, frankly, pretty off in his own head.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Safe territory in “Slipped”?

Image © Michael Chevy Castranova 2015

I don’t like guns. I don’t like drawing guns in cartoons. But sometimes in an adventure comic strip set in the 1920s, between two significant wars, people have guns.
But you’ll notice, no one has died in “Slipped” from being shot by a gun. In fact, not one character seems actually to have died at all.
The guy in the first chapters — unnamed in the strip but I think he went by Etienne — was killed, but then when the Scarlet Sparrow retraced her timeline, she and her sister, Mendacity, saved him.
And while Dickie Talbot was left to be buried alive, along with the Golem, it’s in the cards for the Scarlet Sparrow to get back to them, too.
Oh, wait, I just recalled those two “Vampires” who accidentally died while attempting to do damage to part of le Metro to stop les Rongeur. Hmmm ….
It’s hard to keep track of almost eight years of continuous weekly comic strips.
In any case, next week sees the Scarlet Sparrow, Cartier Tour and Pip catapulted into their new adventure. Please stand by.

Thursday, December 3, 2015


Image © Michael Chevy Castranova 2015

Tyler Wilson and friends thought they were out for a good meal with admirers. But, of course, things never work out as expected in the life of the Scarlet Sparrow.
Take a look at the latest chapter of “Slipped.”
Reishi, by the way, is a mushroom possessing supposedly amazing health benefits. It is not native to Finland. But more about that later in our story ….