Monday, May 21, 2012

MOONIE: Quantum Queens

Welcome to my 2nd blog! This one will cover material that fits in the "adults" category, if only to simplify things by having all of this work separate from the "all ages" stuff (which is the bulk of my work over the years).

In late 2004, Nick Cuti (creator of E-MAN and other fun characters) suggested a collaboration on a new MOONCHILD THE STARBABE project.  MOONIE had debuted way back in 1968, and has made many sporadic appearances over the years since.  Nick wanted to split the work between 3 people.  He'd write the script, I'd do 3D computer models for the "sets" ("backgrounds" as he kept calling them), while Sally Reynolds would create 3D computer figure. Things started out very promising, as I had my end (which wound up including layouts and panel breakdowns) done in about 6 weeks.

Unfortunately, Sally picked up a full-time job which interfered with her schedule, and after around 2 months of struggling to get the look of the characters right, wound up dropping out of the project! Having done a lot of work which combined traditional 2D figures with 3D backgrounds (creating an "animated cartoon" look-- JONNY QUEST creator Doug Wildey was my main inspiration), I suggested we could do the same with MOONIE and get the project finished before long.  But Nick hemmed and hawwed on it, saying he had conceived the entire story as a "showcase" for Sally's figures. Ironic and frustrating for me, considering Sally had dropped out of the project, and neither Nick or I had a copy of the Poser 3D figure program so we could do it ourselves.

Eventually, Nick came around to my suggestion.  However, he wanted to use it for an all-new 60-page graphic novel instead, and proceeded to write it using the format of comic-book rough layouts complete with dialogue in word balloons. And, he wanted to use someone else for the pencils, inks & colors.  He also sent me a stack of extremely-detailed background designs (drawing on his experience doing backgrounds for animated TV cartoons), for me to turn into 3D models.  I said, fine, as long as the other guys get their work done first this time. I didn't want to be left hanging twice.

Somehow, Nick had a falling out with one of the artists, and since the other was friends with the first one, he lost his new art team. It took around a year, but he managed to put together another art team.  But then... nothing ever came ot if.

Finally, after the project had been sitting around unfinished for 3 whole years, I threw my hands up decided, DAMMIT, I'm gonna finish this thing.  One month later, it was DONE.  I'd done the pencils, inks, colors, word balloons, and even recreated the MOONIE logo digitally.  I sent it to Nick on a CD. Needless to say, he was surprised.  And, apparently, inspired, as he decided to do a painting for the cover. Under his direction, I did the design work around his painting, creating a tribute to the EC sci-fi comics of the 1950's.

Another year passed during which Nick was unable to find an interested publisher. The closest we came was one guy in the Philadelphia area who said he was interested, but only had the budget to print it in B&W. Which would be a complete waste. And even that idea was scuttled, when he saw the book, and said he "didn't realize it had adult material".  Like... WHA'...???  Aside from the fact that this particular story is NOT in any way "X"-rated, I found it hard to believe that anyone could have been interested in publishing MOONIE without knowing it involved nudity.  I just can't believe some people...

And then, at one point, Nick got in touch with me, saying he kept thinking it over, didn't like the way he felt he had "lost control" of the project, that he had always wanted the story to be a "showcase" for Sally Reynolds's 3D figures, and decided that he preferred if the story would "NEVER" be published. That was the last straw for me! All this enthusiasm and work and patience, thrown aside because of one person's ego problems?  Screw this!

So... rather than let it go to waste, I decided to post the ENTIRE BOOK online-- so everyone can read it, FOR FREE. My own website is down (and will remain so until I find a steady job again), but I'm re-posting the book here at this blog, where, frankly, all the detail in the work will be able to be seen much, much better than it ever could at the "Webspawner" site (where the site's automated system prevented me from posting the art as large as I would have liked).  Their loss is everyone else's gain.

Here's "QUANTUM QUEENS", in all it's "R"-rated glory.  Enjoy!

(Continued in Part 2)

Story Copyright (C) NICOLA CUTI
Artwork Copyright (C) HENRY KUJAWA

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