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02.14.2018 - New Page (047) is Up!

01.31.2018 - New Page (046) is Up!

10.07.2017 - New Page (045) is Up!

9.19.2017 - New Page (044) is Up!



It's Valentine's Day here on Earth as we find ourselves inching ever closer to that 50th comic page, and I've been talking and thinking about the "music" of Red Skirts. When Dave and I first started plotting out this crazy endeavor, he actually found some theme music to use in a promotional video we were going to make (and may still make when it's crowdfunding time!) that was suitably part Sousa march and part John Williams at his finest. I'm still thinking in terms of what would pass for background music for each of the women - their "theme music", if you will - and I came up with the following:

Camari - has to be something from the Pretenders. I always envision a lot of Chrissie Hynde and her "take no flark" attitude when it comes to writing her. A lot of her scenes get written to the strains of Pretenders II and Learning to Crawl. I don't know if "Bad Boys Get Spanked" is too obscure but it's probably pretty appropriate. Given her backstory (which will get revealed in time) "My City Was Gone" might also be a good choice.

Tisa - It'd be cliche to attribute something soulful or African-based to her. Truth is, she's based loosely on a friend of mine who was really into Steely Dan and Meatloaf (our workplace readings of 'You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth' needed to be seen to be believed). Pretty much the entirety of the "Aja" album embodies a lot of her spirit. I'll go with "Deacon Blues" off that one, which is my favorite track. Not to say there isn't room for a good soul tune like "100 Yard Dash" by Raphael Saadiq to help define what she's all about.

Sheva - "The Full Bug" off Van Halen's Diver Down album was the spiritual precursor to the more well-recieved "Hot for Teacher" off 1984, and it pretty much embodies what I think her character embodies. Pure, unadulterated, throw-your-politics-in-the-trash lust. Sheva is the moment the exotic dancer walks on stage and grabs everyone's attention. She's that woman in the restaurant you can't take your eyes off of even if you're with someone else. She is everything you want and everything you probably shouldn't have. She will utterly destroy you. Nothing embodied that better than Van Halen with David Lee Roth at the helm in the late 70s to early 80s. Nothing.

Merry - I first saw Berlin (led by the amazing Terri Nunn) on a show called Solid Gold back in the early 80s. It was one of those rare ways you could see music on TV if you didn't have cable, and they played a song called "Masquerade" where Nunn was essentially dressed up like a scientist (frizzy hair aside) and you had the "hint" that under that lab coat and those glasses was an absolute sexual tyrannosaurus. I never looked back, and I've been a fan ever since. Given that Merry is genetically designed to be intelligent, athletic, AND beautiful, and attempts to be a number of things all at once, "Sex (I'm A...)" wouldn't be too out of line for her intro music, I don't think.

Zaruva - Once Dave told me he based her look on Debbie Harry from Blondie, that pretty much nailed the character for me. That cool little opening run on "Heart of Glass" works really well for her. I can also envision an animated version of her walking through the halls of the Audacity doing the rap section from "Rapture". Totally deadpan, of course. She's a no-nonsense character, and Debbie Harry always seemed to have that kind of presence about her. Understimate the shortest member of Unite 3-80 at your peril, in other words.

Now, come to me next year and ask me this same question about theme music for each character, and I might have completely different answers for you. Characters evolve, of course, and we don't always listen to the same music at one point in time that we do at another. Still...these are some of the influences that helped define these characters at least from the writing standpoint in their early days. I may be the only one that finds such things interesting, but if you do too, hopefully this provided a little insight for you.

2/14/2018 - Al


As the strains of "Learn How to Live" off Billy Squier's Emotions in Motion album blast over the speakers hooked into my turntable, I proudly present the next page in the ongoing saga of Red Skirts.

Music plays a pretty big role in the creation of this comic. Dave's talked online about how Ensign Zaruva was modelled after Debbie Harry from Blondie. While I tend to write in silence, I almost always have to have something - of late it's been the Pretenders and Thompson Twins - playing while I letter or work on the website. Guaranteed an actual Red Skirts soundtrack would be some kind of marriage of John Williams and Nobuo Uematsu, maybe with a song or two by Queen thrown in there. I could totally see the battle currently going on between Langdon and Camari done to the strains of "Gimmie the Prize" off A Kind of Magic (and from the Highlander Soundtrack).

I'll get with Dave at some point and maybe we'll create the "Unofficial" Red Skirts soundtrack and posts some links for you.

1/31/2018 - Al


Joel Hodgson, creator of Mystery Science Theater 3000, a show that has influenced me more more than I probably should have let it, famously said of his approach to humor: "We never worried that everyone would get every joke. We knew the right people would get the right jokes." That's kind of how I am with my own work. I know I can't write things that I find fun and humorous to me and expect every single person to "get" it. Sure, as a writer and a comedian you want to reach a wide audience, but not at the cost of the people whom you're already reaching.

So with that in mind, I'm going to start offering "The Annotated Red Skirts" where every now and then, I'll "explain the joke" so to speak. I even have a good first candidate.

Q: How the heck do you pronounce what Zaruva's race is?

Zaruva is a Hephaestian. Heff-ACE-tee-ann. Most of you have probably figured out by now she's our Spock/Data/Pinocchio character...heavy on facts and logic, low on emotion. Trekkers out there know that Spock's home planet is Vulcan, who is also the Roman god of the forge. Vulcan's Greek counterpart is Hephaestus, hence the name of Zaruva's home planet - Hephaestia. I loved mythology as a kid. Still do as an adult.

Q: Fine. How about Camari? We get you're riffing on Andorians from Trek.

The Andrea Doria was an Italian Ocean liner, at the time the largest in Italy's fleet, which was sunk in a collision with a Swedish ship during heavy fog in 1956. Amazingly, only 46 people lost their lives, with more than 1600 rescued (Use your earthan Google to find out more! It's good historical reading!). Even still it remains one of the worst maritime disasters on record. A bit morbid for a reference, sure, but seatime disasters are another thing I find interesting. From the Edmund Fitzgerald to the Japanese Mutsu, I'm somehow drawn to this grim piece of history. Anyhow it seemed an easy stretch to expand Andorian to Andreadorian.

More fun "Behind the Scenes" references will be found here in the future. Keep reading! And thanks!

Give yourself some bonus geek points if you caught the geeky reference in today's page!

10/11/2017 - Al


The nice bonus of Dave and me taking our sweet time doing these pages is when we come across something cool - say, a fight scene between Camari and Langdon - that was originally slated for a couple pages, we can make the decision on the fly to pad that sucker out and have more fun with it.

Enjoy. We are.

9/20/2017 - Al


Legend tells that when Alexander the Great reached India, he wept, for there were no new worlds left for him to conquer.

Fortunately, the great thing about comics is I don't think its truly possible for someone to so completely immerse themselves they're incapable of "discovering" (and note the quotes there) something new. What with all the hype over this new movie Valerian, I thought it'd be a good idea to finally get off my duff and read this comic series that's been around since the 1960s. Fortunately a vendor at San Diego Comic Con was more than happy to set my on my path. So recently I settled into bed (generally my favorite place to read) and opened up the first story, which tells of how Valerian first met Laureline.

It's easy to forget, when you get to be my age, the joy of reading a comic. That there ought to be joy when you do it. There was when you were a child, wasn't there? You weren't worried about a company's sales figures or the big events they had planned or whether or not a character in the movie adaptation looked like how they did in the comics. You didn't care about an artist's politics or whether a book could get slabbed with a 9.9 rating on it from CBC. No, you just wanted to know how Spider-Man was going to get out of this one, or if this was finally Batman's final hour, or if Supergirl was finally going to find true love.

Okay, that last one may just have been me...

Reading Valerian rekindled that joy I used to get from reading a comic. Here were two men who had a story to tell and genuinely enjoyed the telling of it. Here were two men who admitted (in an interview at the beginning) that they were both in love with their creation (Laureline), and that they hoped it showed in their creation. I have no doubt they suffered many of the same worries artists today have to endure, but it has yet to show in their work.

I'm not so vain as to suggest Dave and I are on any kind of level to Christin and Mezieres, but I like to think we capture at least a small part of that joy in what we do. Hopefully there's joy in what you read from us. I think all too often the real world and the anti-social media drives that vibe away from us, both as creators and as fans.

Let's both do our best to get it back and work hard to never lose it again.

8/2/2017 - Al


I like Poison. And Hair Metal in general. I'm not apologizing for it. :)

It's been a while since the last strip. If you guys aren't used to that by now, I don't know what to tell you. Except of course thanks for stopping back in to make sure we're not dead. We're not. But the real world has been doing its level best to keep us from getting much done on the comic. My house flooded (not easy to pull off in Arizona) so my focus has been on things like pulling up tile, figuring out how to afford new flooring, cabinets, and other good stuff. Dave's been sick for a while, and he's working on another side project that should be pretty cool if it comes to light.

And in spite of all this, work continues on Red Skirts. Issue #2 hit the print shelves recently, and we've had some very positive feedback from it. Our presence at the Phoenix Comicon was noticed...mainly because I put the banner way up high where people couldn't help but see it. And we're still chugging along on this little labor of love.

So that's us...how have you guys been? :)

6/27/2017 - Al





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