A tad premature, I know.  But I woke up in a graphic design-y mood this morning (and not so much like working on a comic), and decided that any work done on Delia Awesome is better than none.

Hopefully all of you have noticed the design is identical to Delia’s t-shirt as it appears on the website’s banner.  The white flower on the red field is, for all intents and purposes, her insignia.

While I reject the idea of Delia being a costumed superheroine, I recognize – as calculating as it may seem – that symbols are potent marketing tools.  And I want Delia Awesome to be easily recognized.  So while the Delia found in every story may wear whatever odds and ends she pulls from her wardrobe, the woman seen on covers, advertisements, posters, and so on will always be sporting the same red shirt.

And before I’m labeled a wannabe sellout out of hand, consider that while Maggie and Hopey may be two of the most iconic characters in the history of alternative comics, they’re virtually unidentifiable out of any familiar context.  Hell, Superman and Batman could appear against a solid white background and still be identified by a kid living on the Mongol Steppe, while their alter egos of Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne could be mistaken for any handsome, square-jawed cartoon pilot.

It’s the symbols, the contours and colors of the costume, that identify the character out of context.

And while her emblem isn’t something I just pulled out of my ass, the design appeared so naturally that it occasionally feels that way.  I’m not accustomed to these sorts of things coming easily.

I always felt the name Delia had a very floral quality, so before I knew anything else about her device, I knew it would be a flower.  The white, black, and red color scheme stems from design choices for the entire comic, which I wanted to be at least partially evocative of old punk flyers.  Similarly, I wanted the look of the flower itself to be crude – like something printed on a non-commercial press.  Finally, the shape and arrangement of the petals needed to be vaguely reminiscent of a radioactive symbol – denoting the hazardous, scientific, otherworldly nature of Delia’s powers.  Incidentally, the trefoil references will have greater significance in what’s presently planned as a third volume of Delia Awesome – assuming it ever gets that far.

Man, it seems like such an awful lot to say about such a simple image.  And for someone with such finely tuned bullshit detection as myself, the fact that this explanation isn’t setting off alarms in my own head makes me think I’m on the right track.

Page Five. Whew!

Page five is up.  And you can head on over to the gallery if you want to check out pages one through in addition.  I didn’t intend to post only one page this week – and certainly not until Saturday – but it’s been a zany five days.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to make up for lost time and drop pages six through eight on y’all by next Sunday.  Enjoy!

What is Delia Awesome?

Two posts in as many days?  Craziness.

The bulk of this piece should probably appear in the About the Comic section — and it will sooner or later — but I wanted to go ahead and hang it out on a shingle…right here on the front page.

Delia Awesome isn’t a webcomic.  It’s a long form comic that happens to be featured online because A) I’m poor and B) it’s presently the best way to promote it (because I’m poor).

Now, you’re probably saying to yourself, “Mike, long form webcomics are a thing.”  And you’d be correct.  And on a very technical level that’s what Delia Awesome is.  Except, not forever.  Some magical day when I can afford to print this stuff or, ideally, find a publisher who will print it for me (again, because I’m poor) I’ll no longer place her exploits — page by page — on the intertubes for all to gawk at.

I’ve always loved every manner of self-published ephemera.  I have a small, but carefully curated collection of dogeared zines, self-published comics, and photocopied cookbooks/rants/etiquette guides/treasure maps that I’ve collected from middle school to the present.  I’ve even tried (with embarrassingly teenage results) producing my own publications…more for the thrill of holding a reproduction of my own work than of any genuine pride in the content.

Then I shelved all of those joys and aspirations to spend the next decade screwing around with band posters, album covers, textbook art, and the notion that I’d become a professional illustrator in the Robert A. Maguire sense of the term.  Comic ideas popped into my head all the time and were filed away – to wait for the day when I’d come to my senses and realize that watching a story grow panel by panel — until that moment arrives when I finally get to hold the printed (or Xeroxed…whatever) copy in my hands — is way more fun and rewarding than tele-arguing the merits of a piece I was never going to be paid for in the first place.

So how does Delia Awesome figure into all of this nostalgia?  On an aesthetic level, it’s my love letter to the scene I grew up with (and all of the underground comics, zines, split 7″ covers, and vanity press oddities that filled it) but lacked the talent or maturity to contribute to.  The heavy line art, the half-tone patterns, the black, white, and red color scheme, the 8.5 X 11″ format — these were all very deliberate decisions on my part.  As much as possible, I want Delia Awesome to ooze the eighties (and very early nineties)…or at least the image of them that Peter Bagge, Eastman and Laird, Los Bros Hernandez, Stan Sakai, Matt Wagner, and R. Crumb (he was getting his second wind back then, after all) cemented in my mind.

And if Delia Awesome can’t be Xericed or Kickstarted into existence, I’ll photocopy the fucker myself if I have to.  And if it comes down to that, I’ll be sure the faint outlines of scotch tape and staple holes remain intact.