Ah, Sartris. Another attempt at a “serious” comic (though, quite a few sillier moments were absolutely intended), that I originally wrote to deal with my own demons and tell a grand story of someone over the span of their life. Still… uh, still working on getting that written entirely…
Sartris is a very well-meaning person, who generally wants to please, but also has a bit of an impatient streak, and a temper. I tried to reflect this in his hair – making it scruffy, impetuous and firey, much like his rough-around-the-edges personality. His nature, along with Nexus manipulating him, slowly erode his good nature, causing him to make mistakes and grow more tired, sullen, and anti-social over time. His sword, The Sword of Malice (yes, lifted from a certain phenomenal JRPG), also haunts him spiritually, further igniting his temper and darker urges.
You may also notice the scar on his face – added as part of his design, as a life-threatening injury causes the need for many parts of his body to be rebuilt with cybernetics, partially to reflect the fall of his spirit (robotics replacing his soul) and the developing steampunk technology around him, replacing his craft.
Nexus originated as a drawing a sketchbook. He’s a great warlock with immense magical power and station in life, and selfish person who knows what he wants and will use what means he can to get that – and that, usually, being power.
He’s popped up a lot over the years as I often recycle him as a villain in comics. Originally, after the sketchbook, I used him as the main villain in a Dungeons and Dragons campaign, in which he was nothing more than a wily dark wizard bent on resurrecting a lich and taking over a kingdom. Or something like that… anyways, he became the main villain in Axis, as well, in some respect spanning all 3 timelines that the comic did — even if he was a wraith in two of them. He also was intended to be the main antagonist to Sartris in that comic; head of the magic school that trained Sartris, manipulated him into leaving behind what he loved, allying with things he didn’t believe in, and even plaguing Sartris, too, from beyond the grave.
One tidbit of Nexus that has always stuck, since his original arc in Axis, is his ghostly form, based off the cursed man from the original sketchbook drawing and D&D campaign. A separate entry for that coming later!
If it’s not quite clear yet, I’m starting off this character-a-day stuff with some main characters. Here’s a very important one, Jeane Starre, from Axis.
Axis was my first step at making a “serious” comic (guess how well that turned out) when I was, like many teenagers, still in my anime phase. Jeane’s design changed a lot, and I mean a lot, over time – from wearing glasses at points, to changing the jacket, scarf, etc. Jeane didn’t have a huge personality beyond the arc I intended for her; a shy girl forced to work to support her sister and herself, coming out of her shell, and accepting her role in the grand scheme of things. Her sword – “Dragon Edge” (I think I used some stupid japanese name for this at one point) – was also significant as it passed down from person to person in her family. Like a certain epic 9 part saga, Axis, too, had a strong familial story to it over generations, so expect to see the name “Starre” pop up quite a bit during this character mural stuff.
Introducing the first piece in The Cancel Culture Collection, Elon Musk. Won’t you be this rich weirdo’s friend?
Reaching way back to one of my very, very first cartoon characters, Zen. Far back enough we’re talking early-to-mid nineties here. Back when I still wanted to make my own newspaper comic. Yes, that far back. Zen was intended to be the main character of an ensemble comic called “It’s a Zen Thing” (I was in middle school. Don’t have high hopes regarding this.)
I think, especially in the days of newspaper comics, most budding cartoonists have some idea for a comic that’s a rip-off of something beloved and established – usually, The Far Side or Bloom County. (Not that people still don’t rip these off, I suppose…) This comic would have been the latter. I tried reviving it in the mid2000s and actually taking the idea somewhere, but, sadly, nothing but some characters materialized out of it. Zen didn’t have much of a personality beyond “Happy, intelligent straight man” and was analagous to being the Milo Bloom of the bunch. He does still pop up from time to time… usually to revisit the character in vein.