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Cosmos
Crossover Crisis 3: The Continuating!
The FuryCon 2019 Exchange, page 1

Cosmos

Starting from Comic #638: The FuryCon 2019 Exchange, page 1
The FuryCon 2019 Exchange, page 1
Crossover Exchange number the second of 2019 saw the return of possibly the coolest concept for an Exchange theme ever: the Secret Hero-hour Crisis Wars on Indefinite Earths that is the FuryCon pop-culture convention! This isn't just a regular crossover exchange, where individual comics crossover with individual comics; it's a giant everyone's-invited-hootenany where any character from any comic could show up anywhere else, as a background cameo, piece of licensed merch, booth holder or speaker on a panel attended by the characters from the comics you were ACTUALLY drawing your story for! Needless to say, I was up for that; and I'd even gave some thought pre-event to a (very) basic story outline that I could easily plug my exchangee's characters into, developing the plot proper based on what they brought to the table. And thus, I welcomed Jammy the Birb's fantasy comic The Rose Thief into my humble abode - choosing to inflict the Cosmos A-team cast upon Basil the human, Wilkins the butler and (just to add a bit more childlike enthusiasm into the mix) Iris the maid. The implication in the first panel of this story is that - instead of attending FuryCon willingly - the trio instead have been snatched out of The Rose Thief at some random point in the established continuity, and dumped in the midst of the convention without a clue as to what's going on! As result, their reactions to the new surroundings would be natural and unbiased (as well as genuinely naive); necessitating their need for assistance on page 2. And remember what I was saying about gratuitous cameos? Unlike my first FuryCon story, localised primarily in one booth, I decided to distribute character easter eggs throughout the story; as there would be plenty of walkin' and lookin'. And ooooooh, look at all them characters! Aside from the line of posters along the back wall (guest comics I did for Autumn Bay, Variants, Cryptida and Consolers), there are cameos from folks from Botur's Fight Squad, The Under, Mallory Bash, Lectro, I'm not your Friend, Earth in a Pocket, Court of Roses, and Dark Horse - even the mischevious Kremzeek from the 1980's Transformers cartoon! Plus, of course, a certain group of little aqua-green cartoon aliens having a heated argument at far right of the scene: rather critical for moving the story ahead, of course....
The FuryCon 2019 exchange, page 2
Crossover exchange interesting fact, no. 879: I will confess that I have absolutely no idea what it is that Artie and crew are arguing about on this and the previous page - if it is sufficient to have all four of them going at it hammer and tongs (even the mild-mannered Artie!), then it must be quite the contentious issue goin' down there. But I love the fact that Macy arbitrarily just decides to foist the gang off on the first 'responsible adult' that happens along, regardless of who they are, just to get rid of them: that's some good delegation skills there! On the plus side, it seems to have stopped the argument in its tracks, sufficiently chastening Artie, Gene and Ax to make them put aside their differences and help out Basil, Wilkins and Iris; while on the downside.... Basil, Wilkins and Iris are now stuck with the most over-enthusiastic tour guides in the multiverse. Hope you're not planning on finding the exit anytime soon, guys.... Given the whole 'plot and story' thing shoehorning its way in there, there wasn't exactly much room for many identifiable cameos on this page; but I did manage to get in one apiece from Curse Quest and Protectors in panel 6! Yay, detailed backgrounds!
The FuryCon 2019 Exchange, page 3
The secret to success when it comes to my Crossover Exchange stories: rapid-fire, single-panel gags! Each panel on this page is effectively its own little story, based around a particular gag or humorous conversation that contributes to the overall progress of the story; but is also (somewhat) doing its own thing. I usually find it far more straightforward to assemble the story like this, rather than having to worry about having the things happening in each shot link directly to those in the next - they're at FuryCon, they're going to lots of different places and meeting lots of different people, so why overthink it? And of course in doing so we get to see the differing responses of the Rose Thief crew as they experience both the 'Con and their erstwhile tour guides: Iris (party animal that she is) is getting right into the experience, geeking out with the best of them; Basil has a sense of naive wonder about him, absorbing facts and figures from his surroundings like a sponge; and Wilkins.... well, anytime you have a deadpan, straightlaced by-the-booker sharing the same space as the bizarro-world known as Gene, things are bound to get ridiculous. Being a convention-wide round trip, it also gives me plenty of scope for cameos - a certain Mr. Henry Jekyll is walking by in the background in panel two, Basil and Artie are getting lunch from the Cafe on Crepe Island in panel 5.... and do I even need to draw your attention to panel 6? This is a reference to both the gratuitous fight scenes I frequently threw into proceedings in my earlier crossover stories, and a plot thread I decided to cut out of my first FuryCon story in 2018 precisely because it was gratuitous. Said story, featuring the amazing Galaxy Knights, finished on an upbeat - and fight scene-free - note; but originally I was going to have a very different ending. Characters from Botur's Fight Squad would show up, demanding the Galaxy Knights surrender their booth space, just because; the Galaxy Knights would quite rightly take offense, and power up for some impromptu dispute resolution; aaaaaand everything would go belly-up in a panel rather similar to the one that finishes this page! Since I'd avoided fight scenes of any sort for several previous Exchange stories, it seemed fitting that I poke fun at myself by bringing the idea back and allowing myself to indulge in one hit of sweet, sweet chin music; but deliberately making it part of the background of the scene, and not directly part of the Cosmos / Rose Thief shenanigans, to underscore the 'Oh, Jon, not again....' reactions of Gene and crew. But lookit all them characters! The Galaxy Knights, Sir Power, The Knight, Lady Spectra, Centimental, ChromeGnome, Rubble Rouser, the Cognomen....
The FuryCon 2019 exchange, page 4
It's almost terrifying how quickly the Rose Thief guys have 'gone native' under the influence of Comic fury (and Artie and crew, no doubt exerting plenty of influence of their own) - even Wilkins seems to have loosened up enough to allow some superhero headwear to latch itself onto his noggin; and has even found the perfect comic series to satisfy his tastes: Battle Butlers! While I have no idea whether Basil's outfit is from some in-universe sci-fi series, or is a bespoke, one-off number, I recognise the spacecraft he's holding - it's the New Century Starship Synergy, from the comic series I helped out on back in 2003! And you've got to love Iris's custom-job steampunk outfit, right? Macy and Jenny, meanwhile, have been hanging out with Myra, Zoe and (cameo alert!) Alvery Nerveaux: I've always wanted to have a proper team-up between Ms. Nerveaux and the Stationery World folks, but unfortunately Cosmos and Alvery have never been matched up in an exchange at any point, so I will simply have to make do with little off-screen meetings like this for now.... and keep my fingers crossed.
The FuryCon 2019 exchange bonus content
The furyCon exchange wasn't just about the comic stories - there was a funky-fresh collaborative title page at the start of proceedings, as well! Anyone who wanted to could submit an image of a character/s from their comic, dressed in appropriate gear (cosplay or otherwise) and carrying appropriate props (convention swag!); all ready to rock on at FuryCon. Being long-time veterans of many, many nerd-herd conventions, it was the decision of a single moment to volunteer Tony Corvell and Artie Deacon for the scene: after all, what better way for them to promote the must-have geek merch at the Tony's Comic Utopia booth than to get in on the front page?
Bechdel test? Consider it failed.
The Story That Changed Everything TM started off fairly innocuously, with what at first appeared to be a random comic featuring (as far as my grand total of three fans circa 2003 could tell) two generic, unnamed female Cosmosians. At that point, although I had the ensuing tale roughly mapped out in my head - er, sort of - even I had no idea how much these particular comics would fundamentally alter the dynamic that existed between the core Cosmos cast (now know as the 'A-Team' cast); both during the course of the story and in the ensuing years. Intrigued? Good. For now, though: a pair of gal pals, a new paramour for one of them, and the Bechdel test well and truly given a 'D-minus' in terms of trying to hold them back. One has to wonder what 'Smash-up-the-Furniture-love' involves, for a start: nothing X-rated, one would presume, given Cosmos' firmly-stated G-rating, but instead an overwhelming joy that makes you feel as if even demolishing a coffee table with your forehead would not dampen your mood? Yehh, let's go with that. And as for the 'Studmuffin Jones' incident? I'd say that's one of those things that's probably funnier if left to the imagination of the readers (like the oft-quoted 'Noodle Incident' or 'Hamster Hewey and the Gooey Kablooey' from Calvin and Hobbes), than deliberately spelled out in an actual story - where it's bound to be far less hilarious, no matter how hard I tried....
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