Thursday, April 23, 2009

Robocat Final Project


















I apologize for the state of the images. I ran into the deadline and thus they are in various stages of inking. The dialogue for the comic is as follows below:

Page 1:
Sarah’s dad: Hello?
Yes, this is he.
You foun-
Oh my…I- Thank you for telling me.
How did-
I see.
No no, thank you for letting me know…
No, I couldn’t tell her.
Yes, bye.
Sarah: Did somebody find Snowball?!
Sarah’s dad: No…sorry, sweetie. We-we’ll just have to keep looking.
Sarah: I know we’ll find him. He’ll come back.


Page 2:
[Approximately one month later]
Sarah’s dad: Hey come here, I got a present for you Sarah.
Sarah: Really?! What is it?
Sarah’s dad: It’s a robot cat. He can do everything a real cat can do, and he won’t ever run away.

Page 3:
Sarah: I don’t WANT some stupid robot! I just want Snowball back!
Sarah’s dad: Sarah, wait-!


Page 4:
[whirring noise, Robocat’s eyes open and he steps out of the box and looks around]
[meowing from outside]

Page 5:
[The cat hisses at him and jumps off the fence]

Page 8:
Sarah’s dad: Don’t forget to clean your room after school.
Sarah: I won’t.

Sarah [to Robocat]:What are you looking at? You're not even a real cat.

Page 12:
[Robocat hears meowing from outside again]

Page 13:
Robocat: Mreeow?
Sheba: [Speaking in 'cat'] So the strange one can speak after all.
Robocat: Can you tell me how to be a real cat?
Sheba: Can you tell me how to be a robot?
Robocat: Well, no...
Sheba: Then you have your answer
Robocat: Wait-!
[Voice]: Sheba, din-din!
[Voice]: Why, who's your friend? Why don't you invite him in?

Page 14:
Robocat: Oh no! What should I do?
Sheba: Relax, you'll be fine. Just do as I do.

Page 15:
Granny: You poor thing, you feel so cold!
Granny: I know, I have just the thing. You wait right here.
Granny: I knit this for Sheba, but I think you need it more.
Granny: There we go.
Granny: Much better.

General commentary:

Page 2:
The writing on the box says 'robokatto' in katakana, the Japanese character system for sounds and loan words.

Page 3:
I can't say whether this was somehow subconsciously intentional, but Sarah's outfit reminds me vaguely of the wicked witch from the Wizard of Oz.

Page 12:
Such an article would presumably be about Japanese scientists developing robotic cats for people who can't take care of real ones. There are already some robotic cats on the market, though they are nowhere near as sophisticated as Robocat, obviously. Try searching for 'yume neko smile' on youtube. Be warned however, as those robots are creepy as heck. Apparently animal robots can inhabit the uncanny valley too.

Page 13:
I decided to change Princess' name to Sheba as it was more fitting for her recast role as a sort of wise guide. She reminds me vaguely of the priestess from the Epic of Gilgamesh, bringing Robocat into catkind, as it were.

Page 14:
Robocat is understandably nervous about being rejected again. Luckily for him, Granny's eyesight isn't what it used to be, and she's too nice to be mean to even a robotic cat anyway.

Page 15:
I'd like to note that the sweater is white and fluffy, aluding somewhat to Snowball and page 10.

Page 16:
I think putting Robocat in such an old-timey setting in Granny's house gives a good contrast between him and his surroundings. It also serves to make him more 'normal' in a sense.

45 comments:

Marika said...

Go to COMPOSE

Megan Schwemer said...

Thanks. That was actually simpler than I was expecting.

Adam Johns said...

Now that you're done, and you did a pretty awesome job, I can admit that I was pretty skeptical of how this would turn out. Still, you seemed to be dedicated to it, and the ideas seemed to be good, even if they ran a high risk of seeming hokey or sentimental. I'm not sure that you 100% avoid sentimentality (Granny might be a little over the top), but you come pretty close. I think minimizing the dialogue helps; the most important thing, though, is the smart & well-executed way you portray robocat him/her/itself, especially when in motion; both its weirdness and its yearning for normalcy make it a poignant character - see, for instance, the page of not cat / not / not / cat / cat / cat. Maybe the most crucial visual detail for me is Robocat's limbs - they are distinctly mechanical, but in a fluid, almost disturbing way that I admire.

I found the commentary pretty helpful (the introduction of the idea of the sphinx was fantastic, although it could have stood some elaboration, if only in the comments - presumably you're making a connection between the idea of a sphinx and the idea of a cyborg. Good). The Gilgamesh reference was a nice touch, too (did you notice the role played by Gilgamesh in HOL, incidentally?)

This is smart, interesting, detailed work; the incomplete inking is obviously just a side-effect of the scope of the project. I would have liked a brief essay expanding on a point or two from your commentary, but you can't do everything...

Couture Carrie said...

Love it!

xoxox,
CC

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