#936 "Nice to see a friendly face"

February 1st, 2012, 11:22 am

Average Rating: 5.00

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Reply NtKGar, February 1st, 2012, 11:26 am

This is Lobster's first appearance since before the 2008 series reboot. The eye patch is new.

Reply Advertisement, June 23rd, 2017, 1:58 am

User's Comments:

Reply Tex, February 1st, 2012, 11:28 am

Smug little bastard...

Apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Reply Agen (Guest), February 1st, 2012, 11:54 am

And a BAD one @ that :)

Reply Zageroth, February 1st, 2012, 12:06 pm

Fus-Ro-Dah!!! Its the Dragon-Born!!!

Reply ... (Guest), February 1st, 2012, 1:52 pm

Drem u lok, Dovahkiin.

Reply OokamiShiki (Guest), February 1st, 2012, 5:15 pm

lol wounder what Keno is really thinking...
A): B-ich I told you
or
B): lalalalalalalalalalaal......OMG ITS A FLOUTING CAT

Reply lordfett, February 1st, 2012, 7:18 pm

keno id definitely thinking the latter

Reply Mithran (Guest), February 1st, 2012, 9:05 pm

After proving the map wrong. He has the right to look smug. Only one way past the door, pffft that's quitter talk

Reply Thamix (Guest), February 2nd, 2012, 6:03 am

Trollface.jpeg..... Great Job Keno xD

Reply magic oisin (Guest), February 2nd, 2012, 1:12 pm

gar i have to ask mostly for my own health who is lobster based on i mean he's peddlin magic for the love of the gods!

Reply NtKGar, February 2nd, 2012, 2:37 pm

Lobster is one of the characters from the early run of the strip. He hasn't appeared since before the hospital storyline. A couple of people have asked me where he went :)

Reply Agen (Guest), February 2nd, 2012, 3:35 pm

Noticed a few hidden items:
3rd. panel the dinosaur(?).
4th. panel the hands coming from the pot & the eye patch, not shown in other panels.
last panel the very large d12.

Anyway, I'm curious NtKGar, which other comic or artist inspired you to create and start doing webcomics?

Reply GabrielsThoughts, February 3rd, 2012, 1:08 am

IT WAS ME!!! No...wait, I Honestly don't know and cannot answer that question. I only answered because I thought it would be funny. The question proposed by Agen was obviously pounce worthy.

However, now that I've interpreted, unexpectedly I might add, Based entirely on my wildest of guesses I could argue that Gar is influenced by Pop Culture, as evidenced by his incorporation of character designs reminiscent of Spider-Man, and Excel Saga.

But, that sort of thing can also be dismissed or explained as a knowledge of psycho-geometrics and character archetypes. However,(as far as I know) those aren't web-comics... nor are they specific artists. I do recall an odd crossover with a comic called "Shifters" a several years back, however that would imply the influence is the other way around. Neko's eyes remind me of emoticons. And, despite gar's denial I'm positive NTK comic had a small archive around 1999. hmm. I guess I would like this question answered as well.

Although, aside from pop culture, I cannot directly pinpoint your influences, that is to say Gar's artistic influences. I'm assuming Gar is Irish, and that would mean some globally renowned influence. In that vain, my best Guess would be that any of the following could be the culprit: Tex Avery,Don Bluth, Osamu Tezuka, Akira Toriyama, Art Spiegalman,Charles Schultz, Alan Moore,or Jesus Christ. I would put Hanna-Barbara, Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks, and Nickelodeon on the list but the only peoples names that I know in affiliation with those companies are pitch men.

Reply magic oisin (Guest), February 3rd, 2012, 8:52 am

i knew that who is he based on? gar you are just takin the micheal now

Reply NtKGar, February 3rd, 2012, 8:56 am

@Agen: That's a pretty complicated question, I kind of fell into making comics by accident. I used to hang out in a comic shop quite a bit back when I was in school in the 90s, and there was a bit of a 'zine scene in Dublin at the time. Just locally-produced stuff that was, for the most part, printed by photocopier. Anyway, one of these 'zines, an anthology-format comic called 'SURGE' was looking for contributors, so me and my friend Fintan wrote up a script for a Conan the Barbarian parody called 'Killer Korthan', staring an intensely stupid barbarian called Korthan and a somewhat more creatively and ingeniously stupid wizard called Mervyn. That was handed over to an artist, and the finished comic made it into the 'zine.

After a couple of episodes of Korthan had gone up, I decided to try my hand at drawing my own comic. Most of my drawing to that point had taken place in the margins of my notebooks at work, but I was a pretty good doodler so I figured how hard could it be? I was big into Monkey Island at the time, so I went with a comedy pirate adventure series called, imaginatively enough, 'Pirates'. It started out with Cap'n Beardbeard unable to pay his tab at a bar because he had OCD and kept burying all his treasure. He handed over the keys to his ship to the bartender, Gilbert, and Gilbert and the crew of the ship went around digging up treasures. It was all little 3-6 page stories. Very much schoolboy humour, but that's how I got bitten by the comics bug.

Anyway, Surge stopped publishing after maybe a dozen issues, but I continued with Pirates on my own as a mini-comic (one sheet of A4 paper, folded in half, cut down the middle and folded in half again to make eight small pages including the front and back covers). I photocopied them up and put them in a couple of comic shops around town selling for 10p each (this was before the Euro came in, so it was pounds and pence rather than Euros and cents)

I got bored with Pirates after a little while and started work on a full-length (28 page) comic, again photocopier-printed this time done in a simplified wanime style. I had just gotten into Ranma 1/2 and had seen some Shin Chan cartoons and a couple of other anime comics. The style was just starting to become popular in Ireland at the time, so there wasn't a lot of manga on the shelves, so I decided to try and make my own. That was Ayaki the Idiot (well, it said Ayaki in letters, and then there were some kanji characters which I had on a sticker which came with a video game magazine. I asked a japanese girl who went to my school to translate them for me. The phrase, roughly translated, read "I am an idiot", so I decided to use that as a subtitle). Ayaki followed a schoolboy who kept getting into adventures because he was a dumbass, and his group of friends. Each issue was divided into chapters that ran for about 6 pages each, and divided by single-page 'filler' comics. The first Neko the Kitty comic was one of these fillers in the third and final issue of Ayaki (the character had first appeared briefly in the second issue, but didn't really do anything). I think Gabriel's right about that being in 1999.

Anyway, I was doing my Leaving Certificate (that's what the final school exams in Ireland are called), so I stopped doing comics for a while. When I got to college, however, I ran into someone who had read and enjoyed Ayaki. She introduced me to a friend of hers who I ended up dating for a couple of months, and it's at this point the story of Neko becomes linked with the story of the women in my life. First college girlfriend particularly liked the Neko filler page, so I made her a Neko t-shirt. We kind of fizzled out after a little while (least painful break-up ever!), but it had got me back to thinking about Neko, and planted in my head the somewhat misguided notion that comics impressed women.

The first three panels of the original Neko page became the first Neko strip, and I started drawing up more strips and just showing them to my friends. There wasn't a website at this point, this was in 2001 I think, and the internet was still pretty new.

Neko was the only character to transfer over from Ayaki. He was the star of the show now. I wanted to make a college comic instead of a school comic, and the Ayaki character designs were pretty limiting, so out they went. Neko needed a new owner, and there was a girl I had a crush on, so Alice's original design was based on her. Nothing happened there and we fell out of touch, but I had my second character and the human cast had started to form. I originally inserted Gar into the early strips as an author avatar talking directly to the reader, then had him show up in Alice's apartment as a joke, then he became a regular character. The character's fairly substantially different to me now (to the point where I rather regret naming him 'Gar'), but he started out semi-autobiographical. Anyway, the rest of the human cast grew out of my social group in college. I pretty much mooshed friends together to make characters, and after a while the characters started developing on their own and moved away from their original inspirations.

I had maybe 30 strips done by the time I discovered there were comics on the internet. First webcomic I read was Kevin and Kell, then I discovered Penny Arcade, Angst Technology, Sluggy Freelance...a couple of others I can't really remember. Anyway, I reckoned a website would be an easier way to share the comics with my friends than carrying them (the comics, not my friends) around in a folder in my backpack, so I set up a site on the college server and started updating that.

A little while later I discovered Keenspace (now Comicgenesis) and created an account there because they had a better automated update utility than the college site. In 2004 a reader named Guy Matthews contacted me and offered me my own domain, Nekothekitty.net, and set up a site for me there.

Guy was awesome. I only knew him for about a year and never actually met him in person, but we chatted online quite a lot and he was really nice and funny. He passed away at age 30 due to a heart defect. He knew it was coming. I wasn't the only cartoonist he gave a site to either, the hosting site was called 'The Freehold', and hosted maybe a dozen comics. I respect the shit out of that. It was a pleasure to have known Guy, and an honour to have had him as my patron. Anyone accessing NtK through the nekothekitty.net URL gets a screen saying "this site is dedicated to the memory of Guy Matthews" before the redirect script kicks in and brings them to the SmackJeeves page. I deleted the rest of the .net page, the back end was outdated and it was easier to just open up a SmackJeeves account rather than learning how to put a site together myself from scratch, but the dedication was worth keeping.

Anyway, as college progressed NtK started updating less and less regularly, and eventually stopped altogether. I tried bringing in back in 2006 (the hospital storyline) but my heart just wasn't in it any more. Updates were infrequent and I just gave up.

Fast forward to 2008, and my new (at the time) girlfriend (we've since broken up) encourages me to pick up the pen again. Back to nekothekitty.net and a twice-weekly schedule! It wasn't until I started making comics again that I realised how much I'd missed it.

Of course, by then all the regular readers had left. I was uploading comics but nobody knew about it. In late 2009 I decided to set up the SmackJeeves site as a mirror, hoping the community tools on SJ would help get the word out.

As my girlfriend, who I'd been living with for a couple of years at this point, became more and more sick of the sight of me, I found myself with more free time for cartooning. I increased the update frequency from twice a week to three times a week, and started doing the comics in colour. Keith came over one day and saw the art for "Small Talk", which was originally just going to be Keno going "ummmm....Uuuuuuuhhhh...Pooooe....." for twenty panels, but then he suggested a line that made me laugh and we just went from there. That became a regular thing and eventually Keith came on board as full co-writer. In retrospect, reactions to Keith's input on the strip have been pretty mixed, but working with him really helped hold me together as my relationship declined and in the months after the break-up.

I started seeing Paige shortly afterwards and she became a part of Team Neko. She looked over the scripts before the comics went online and pointed out anything that didn't make any goddamn sense. After a while she earned herself an editor credit. Then Keith left to pursue his own ambitions as a mathematician and Paige took over co-writer duties. A little while after that she also took over colouring, giving me more time to have a life, and that's where we are now.

So that's how I started out in comics, quit, and started again. It started as a "why not?", and ended up as a Calling.

As far as influences go...the first comic I can remember reading was a 'Garfield' book belonging to my brother. I was big into 'Calvin and Hobbes' and 'The Far Side' as well. I've already mentioned Monkey Island (yup, Gilbert in Pirates was named for Ron Gilbert), but the LucasArts adventure games also introduced me to Sam & Max, who are probably one of the reasons I keep pairing up calm and manic characters (hadn't really thought about it before). Other influences include Pokémon, Alan Moore, Rumiko Takahashi, Jim Mahfood, my childhood cat living 18 years, Jhonen Vasquez, Too Much Coffee Man, The Tick, The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, a Master's degree in Modern English Literature, Garth Ennis, Earthworm Jim, Roald Dahl, classic Warner Brothers cartoons (also Animaniacs, if that doesn't count as 'classic'), Monty Python, Spike Milligan, Osamu Tezuka, The Simpsons, Sam Raimi, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Butch Hartman, George Carlin, Archie Comics, Kurt Vonnegut, Brian Clevinger and being a teenager in Dublin in the 90s.

Mostly I just absorb stuff I watch and read and that + practice makes me a better writer and artist. There's no real effort to emulate anyone, I just try and write something I'd want to read and draw it to the best of my ability.

Reply RoboKitty, February 3rd, 2012, 10:31 am

That is amazingly interesting! On a different note, have you realized you're only two fans away from having 500! That's halfway to 1,000!

So, do you still live in Ireland? I've seen a few references as to what's going on in America in some of the NtK strips, so I was just wondering. I live in the U.S., so I don't know what other contries hear or think about us.

And I totally went to the nekothekitty.net site as soon as you mentioned it (instead of reading further to find out that you had explained everthing I just saw there). Pretty neat.

And it's probably a good thing you put NtK up on Smack Jeeves. If you had your own website, then it the word would only spread by people telling other people or someone looking for someone else and accidentally typing something in wrong and giving it a chance, since they probably don't really have anything better to do. On Smack Jeeves, you have a ton of other authors and the people the recommended (I would would be one of those "recommended" ones) to read their comics "accidentally" running into you because eventually, you're going to browse, and lets face it, who doesn't get just a little interested by kitty talking about being bitter because he's neutered? Good choice there.

Reply Agen (Guest), February 3rd, 2012, 11:28 am

:) sorry if I put you a bit on the spot with that question NtKGAR

Reply Guest, September 22nd, 2012, 7:22 am

lobster!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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