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2001-01-03
Inspiration and You!
How good company, General Tso's chicken, and an action figure made Comics Ex Machina possible.

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Inspiration and You!  

Inspiration and You!

Vash and I face off across the desk. His blue eyes are ice cold through the tinted sunglasses; a grim look plays across his face. The barrel of his six-shooter is pointed at me, and all is silent except for the rustle of his long blood red coat in the gentle breeze. He doesn’t say a word; he doesn’t have to—I know what he is thinking. He’s daring me, challenging me, asking me if I have any last words, anything at all that I want to say.

“What’re you doing?” my roommate interrupts my reverie, bending over my shoulder to look at the computer screen. It’s the white page of a word processor, blank,except for one solitary blinking line.

“I’m looking for inspiration,” I tell him honestly.

“From an action figure?” he says, giving me a disbelieving look.

I shrug. “It’s a really cool action figure.”

Inspiration comes from a lot of different places. In today’s world there are pictures and sounds floating through the air every second, more than we could possibly hope to absorb, even if we had a lifetime of lifetimes. But every once in a while, one strikes, resonates with some preexisting spark in your brain and bursts into a full fledged flame.

That’s inspiration.

Over the years, I’ve found inspiration in books, television, movies, magazines, comics, animation, and dozens of other places. However, these sources tend to recycle so many of the same ideas that I’ve grown weary with them, and feared that the wells had run dry. But one source has always remained an oasis in this desert of uninspiration: people.

That’s how Comics Ex Machina was started. We didn’t journey to a distant land to find a hidden treasure, or triumph over a powerful and maniacal force; we simply sat down to have dinner at a Chinese restaurant one lonely Saturday night. I’m not sure if it was the spice from General Tso’s chicken that cleared our minds, or the size of the bill that cleared our wallets which made us realize our destiny.

We could do an online comic. We could maybe even make money.

The latter part was always a secondary concern next to the creative impulses that the four of us felt the need to indulge. In the following days, as we talked it through, we realized it could be a self-sustaining cycle. As Tony succinctly put it: “We do funny things. We turn these into comics, and we make money. Money allows us to go out and do funny things.” This would become, if not our mantra, then our working strategy. As long as we had company, we had inspiration. But without each other, we were condemned to a long life of boring, regurgitated material.

And so, I consider myself fortunate to undertake this project with three immensely talented people, who are not only my colleagues in this endeavor but also my closest friends. And I hope that from my continuing work with the comic, I'll be able to jumpstart my own inspiration and get to work on other projects that I've been trying to get off the ground. From time to time I hope to share with you in this space snippets of that inspiration, and I hope you'll feel free to share your own inspiration with me: drop me an email, or post to the forums, whatever floats your boat. I will always reply, even if I can't immediately :).

Enjoy the strip.

-Dan



All text and images ©2000 by Jason, Kai, Dan, Tony, and Mecha Gaijin. He WILL kick your ass. Instant superfine!
All characters are ™ & © their respective owners. All Rights Reserved. Some Comics Ex Machina (CXM) strips are satirical in nature, and are not intended maliciously. CXM has invented all names and situations in its strips, except in cases when public figures are being satirized. Any other use of real names is accidental and coincidental, or used as a fictional depiction or personality parody. CXM makes no representation as to the truth or accuracy of the preceding information.