First blog, collector's item!
Hi there! What to say? This comic has been in the works since 2004, technically, that's when I came up with the idea, although initially I thought it'd make a good animated series, but animation is very tedious time consuming work, I don't have the patience for, comics however, I like making, or at least, having made. I've been making comics since I was a very young kid, initially stealing jokes from Mad magazine probably, but mostly just doing illustrations, and coming up with ideas for comics I rarely got around to drawing, or finishing. at about 12 I got "How to draw comics the Marvel way" still a decent introductory book, despite its flaws and narrow scope, I mean, it does say the Marvel way in the title. in the early 80s I got into the New Teen Titans in a big way, and started teaching myself to draw those characters, trying to make them look like Perez had drawn them, as much as I could manage, which was very educational. There was a time in which I thought I'd like to draw comics professionally for DC until I started meeting people who actually had worked there, or were in indy comics, and learned it's not such a glamourous lucrative lifestyle for most professionals. So I stuck with fan art for a long time, but being creative eventually I had to start working on my own original stuff, and in my 30s I guess, I started trying to come up with concepts. I had an idea for a vampire series, which I might still do, even if only as a single story, one of the main characters was very similar in design to the star of PRASGA, except she was human. Love and Rockets was a big influence on me, and although I love working in black and white, I felt for this series I had to work in colour to reduce the similarities, not that anyone would confuse my work for that of Los Bros, but I didn't want to be perceived as ripping it off, also it was important to me that people could immediately tell that Suzi was an alien, not an elf, pointy ears isn't enough of a clue that she's not human. I tried literally every combination of skin and hair colours before settling on green skin and pink hair for her. I did some sketches, and started writing down some concepts, those I completely forgot about when after several years I started writing again this time in earnest, and looking back at it found not a lot I could use outside some of the basic concepts, I was going to go with silly sci-fi names for everyone and everything, surnames like Laserberg, that kind of thing. 

      Heavy metal magazine was another huge influence on my teenage mind, it cracked it right open, introducing me to all these fantastic European artists, who all had their own styles, none of which looked like Marvel or DC comics, but were still really cool, the possiblities, I realised, were endless. Also, it had boobs. Something sorely lacking in most American comics at the time. Re-reading some of those old magazines recently I found the art all held up really well, but some of the writing would not get published today, not in the US anyway, as too misogynistic. Women as disposable sex-objects. Doing superhero fan art I came to realise I loved drawing outlandish looking colourful characters, but really had zero interest in drawing them punching each other. (Tying each other up was another story!) Does this thing have spell check? gladrfd nope. ok just checking. anyway, Where was I, I have ADD, right, so anyway, I knew I wanted to draw a comic about a cute sexy alien girl, which is a fair description of my favourite mainstream comic character, Starfire, I also knew I didn't want her to be built like a playboy playmate, and I'm not sure how much more I had in mind when I started out really. But her personality is a composite, as many characters are, of several young women I've known, younger than me anyway, she also has a fair amount of my personality in her, at least as I was when I was a bit younger and more innocent. She will occasionally say something one them said verbatim, or nearly. 

     Something like 12 years ago or so I joined a local comic creator's group, the Boston comics roundtable, which started as sort of a support group for people who had this problem of wanting to make comics, but quickly evolved into a small publishing entity, creating themed anthologies. We have weekly meetings which were in person until this pandemic started, now they're online on Discord. Members of the BCR also founded MICE, the Massachusetts independent comics expo. We had Jaime Hernandez as guest of honour at our last in person MICE, and I got to hang out with him before and during the con, which was really fantastic, he's such a nice guy, and in my view one of the most important comic creators there is. Was really interesting to hear directly from him about his approach, which has evolved, he now tries to say as much as possible with as little as possible, in terms of his ink work, which is admirable, but definitely not my goal, I'm a draw every brick kind of guy. I gave him some of my comics in hopes he might help me get picked up by Fantagraphics, but said "no pressure!" That's still a goal though. Might help if I sent them some. Especially as it can take them 2 years to get to the bottom of the submissions pile. as soon as I have the first 7 in print again I will. 

     Anyway, I attended BCR meetings regularly for years, doing sketching at meetings, and at home, but not really working on comics. I did a one page story which appeared in our anthology "Inbound" #3, prior to that I worked on a comic with Voltaire and Neil Gaiman for Sirius publishing, my first pro work, not too shabby! d: But I really wasn't doing much comics, and I'm not even entirely sure why. Finally I started feeling like I really had to work on Prasga, but I had no stories written, I had however, written and recorded the theme song for the animated series, (which you can hear on my youtube channel mobiusbandwidth) so I took the lyrics and made a 3 page comic using them. Rather non-traditional as there's virtually no dialogue in it, but hanging out with other creators exposed me to all sorts of experimental approaches, and I was only getting my feet wet. It got very favourable reactions, particularly from women, who said "she seems cool, I wanna read about her!' I thought to myself, "I mustn't disappoint them", although I know I have disappointed some of them, more on that later. Still, I am good at procrastinating, and did more of that for a few years I think. I did work on a comic I call "an anthology of one", They said I was MAD!, consisting of autobio material and random stuff. 

     Finally I started writing, first journalling memories of "interesting" things that have happened to me as a musician playing in rock bands in bars. I had lots of stories, I discovered. I got rolling on the book, not very fast, but I developed a script for issue 1 and started drawing it, I came up with a new character to join the band and redrew the cover so she could be on it, also my art had improved, I think, slightly. (by the third issue, even more, if you ignore my questionable ability to draw hands well.) I found a printer in California and made a small print run of 50 copies, and started selling them. I eventually got to work on issue 2, and I'm not sure of the exact timeline of events, I'd have to look it up, but the specific dates aren't vital to the story, and what shifted. I had  friend called Mandee, who was one of the main inspirations for the character Suzi, a young punk girl, very cute, spirited, charming, unusual. One day I asked if she'd consent to be the visual model for my character, I wanted some reference photos for drawing her face from various angles, emotions, and lighting conditions, at first she said yes, but then, got a little hesitant, her self-confidence could wax and wane, she said she needed some time, I was sure it would work out, what I was unaware of was that she was struggling with addiction issues. She was 26 and had a fatal accidental overdose, and that was it. Gone. left behind a 5 year old autistic son, and her boyfriend, his father. Shattering. She was such a sweet girl, suffering in silence from sources of stress, some of which I knew about. I felt I had to get seriously to work on the book, which she liked, her sudden exit became a catalyst, making art was the only way I could cope with the loss, and I had to try to make something good out of a tragedy. I felt a burning drive to create, I would drown my sorrows in productivity, and make her proud, and so I did. This is why the first issue is dedicated to her. one of my portraits of her is on Suzi's computer screen in the last panel of page 22 of issue 1. 

     Another thing I'm trying to do with this series is sneakily introduce you to music I think more people should know about with unsolicited product placement, the posters on Suzi's bedroom wall, and rehearsal room, the band names that scroll across her digital T shirts, etc. check out the album Limbo by Throwing muses, really brilliant stuff. And Helium. All the crappy stuff that happens to Suzi's band, happened to my bands over the years. Some events and dreams are based on or inspired by my own dreams and waking life, but most of it is made up otherwise. I try to write characters who are believable, and hope people come to care about them, I am inspired by artists like Dave Stevens, George Perez, Wally Wood, Jaime Hernandez, and many others, but try to have my own style, it's taken me a while to realise, that I do, and it's not that bad, even if it's nowhere near as good as I'd like it to be, I keep trying harder, looking over the first issue, some of the art seems so crude to me now, only a few years later, I wince and struggle to resist editing it and fixing things, but Adam Hughes once told me, just move on, and try harder. I don't want to George Lucas all over my earlier work and edit it to death, let it stand, so you can see my artistic growth, hopefully. Some people might even find that sort of thing interesting and inspiring, look he used to suck, but now he's not too bad! For years I didn't draw comics because I didn't think I was good enough yet, but you can't wait forever, you get better, I learned, by actually doing it. Well that's probably enough for now, if anyone actually read all this, please consider commenting, I have no expectations, people tend to look at pictures on the internet but not read anything. Thanks for your time and interest. 

by James Mobius
Previous Blog