Sunday, October 16, 2016

Night Kitten's Halloween Horror

Author's note: Night Kitten image originally drawn by Vladen13 and used with permission. The characters, Night Kitten, Susie, Mid Watch and Dr. Littleman, were created by Walnut Willy and are also used with permission. Story, backgrounds, tentacles, photo-manips and FX by me. Stock photos of old house by me. This story is my submission for Vladen13's, "Hunter's Moon 2016". Read on your own risk. Oh yeah, Happy Halloween! MUWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!

 I'm only posting the climatic part of the story, here. This is basically the only sequence I've been able to finish in time for the Hunter's Moon festivities...ahem. There are a couple of characters names I'm using (without permission and because I've no clew who now owns the copyrights to them) and, I'm sure some of you will recognise the names.

The story in short: Night Kitten had gotten an anonymous tip on the possible whereabouts of some missing, neighbourhood children. The tip led her to an old and seemingly abandoned mansion on the outskirts of town. Thinking her arch-nemesis, Dr. Littleman, was involved, she wasted no time in arriving at her gloomy, dark destination. But what she didn't realise was that her younger sister, Susie, had tagged along by hiding under a blanket in the back seat of Night Kitten's car. Upon approaching the expansive and decaying porch, Night Kitten turned round at the sound of a car door opening and closing. When she looked back, she saw Susie coming up the walk-way dressed in her school-girl outfit (white, short-sleeve, button-down blouse, white knee-high socks, blue romper and black, patent leather Mary Janes). Of course, Night Kitten herself was wearing her signature costume (black, long-sleeve leotard and black, leather boots, along with her cat's ears and mask). As to-night was Halloween night, it had seemed to Night Kitten that she would blend in better, lest anyone come round asking questions. Night Kitten heaved a sigh and scolded her sister, "You shouldn't be here," she said.

 "But I wanted to go Trick-or-Treating, too!" exclaimed Susie. She even had a large, plastic "goodie bag" emblazoned with pumpkins and bats, in her right hand.

 "Oh, Susie," started Night Kitten, "I'm not out here for treats! I'm trying to solve a mystery! Look, just you wait in the car; this shouldn't take long. Then I'll take you round for a while afterwards, okay?"

 "Well...okay," said Susie a bit reluctantly. She moped along back to the car. As she did so, she looked back up at her big sister, just in time to see her quickly sink out of sight! Susie could hear a muffled scream as Night Kitten plunged through an old trap door! But as Susie did not see the trap, she figured her big sister was playing a trick on her. "Oh, darn!" lamented Susie. "What do I do, now?"

With her one-track mind on Halloween treats, Susie decided she'd follow Night Kitten into the house. She walked back up the broken, stone pathway and onto the front porch. But, instead of stepping on the trap door, Susie wandered off to the left of it and attempted to peek through one of the cracked windows. She suddenly shrieked at a horrible image that appeared through the window. So scared was Susie after seeing the hideous monster face, that she toppled over the sagging porch-rail backward and into the bushes. A bit dazed, Susie slowly got up and brushed herself off. Then, seeing as how she'd not like to go back to the front porch, she wandered off to the back of the house, to look for another means of entrance.

Susie was totally clewless that there was anything afoot. Still thinking that her sister was inside at a Halloween party, Susie was now more determined to get into the house (when she should have been going for help). She found a rear door to the right of the back of the dilapidated mansion. The door was set into the house about four feet, creating a portico of sorts. The small porch's roofed long ago rotted away and the stairs were sagging severely. Cautiously, Susie made her way up the three creaking steps and into the doorway. But, no sooner had she set foot on the dais than she was instantly "sucked" up into the ceiling...! The only thing that remained was her right shoe, as it landed on the rotted wood with a "thump".

 Night Kitten never had a chance to get her bearings as she drooped down through the darkness. The trap door was pressure activated; anything (or anyone) over 4 stone (that's 56 pounds or so), would activate the trip mechanism. While Susie was exploring above, her sister was plummeting to an uncertain fate. Tucking her body into a fetal position but using her arms to cover her head, Night Kitten prepared to roll with the fall. Unfortunately, she banged her head on one of the stone walls of the shaft on the way down and blacked out. When she awoke, about an hour later, it was to a very nightmarish scene. Groggily, Night Kitten came to only to find herself tightly bound and gagged and lying on a hard, packed, dirt floor. She didn't yet realise she was stuffed into a deep depression in the solid, rock wall! The lengthy scene unfolds below...

And what of Susie? Where did she go? Well, it seems that her action of stepping into the rear portico activated another trap. Only this one was concealed in the ceiling of the portico; a huge vacuum tube! The vacuum had sucked Susie up too fast for her to react. Another one of professor Coldheart's minions was on hand to pull Susie out of the shaft, which ended up on the top floor. Dazed and confused, poor Susie was trussed up tightly and gagged and left in the dark, dusty room, tossed into an old recliner chair. When Susie realised that she was in trouble and that there may not actually be a Halloween party going on, she struggled to get up out of the chair. This took a bit of effort as the chair was old and worn and Susie had sunk into it. But, she finally managed to get up and hop over to the only window in the room. Looking out the window, Susie could only "MMMFFF" through her gag. Would anyone be able to rescue her? Was anyone even around to hear her muffled pleas?

As luck would have it, Night Kitten's new-found friend, Mid Watch, just happened to be driving by the house when he spotted Susie sneaking round to the back. He wondered what Susie was doing out here, seemingly alone. As he pulled into the short driveway he spotted Night Kitten's car. His "6th sense" warned him something wasn't quite right. In a flash, he was out of his pickup truck and dashing up the walkway, following Susie's trail. But, as he rounded the corner he was too late to grab Susie before she was sucked up by the vacuum. Looking for another (and safer) way into the house, Mid Watch came across the old bulkhead doors which led to the basement. Although the doors were padlocked shut, Mid Watch was able to break the hasp off the decaying door-guard with his trusty, mini crowbar. Jerking the left door open with a loud "creak", Mid Watch got out his electric torch, snapped it on and cautiously proceeded down into the damp, dark and cobwebby basement. 

 The old basement was pretty expansive and smelled of mildew. The dirt floor was muddy in spots so Mid Watch trod very carefully. Proceeding along toward the front of the house (or what he presumed to be the front), Mid Watch shone his torch about the walls. Seeing nothing in the main area, he went off into a side room. There, along the far wall, Mid Watch saw a giant, glowing, neon-green mass on the wall! As he approached he could hear faint sounds of muffled whimpering. "I'd know that whimpering anywhere!" he exclaimed aloud. "NIGHT KITTEN!" he bellowed, "ARE YOU IN THERE?"

 "HHHMMMMF! MMFFFN!" came the response. 

 "Do not worry," said Mid Watch in a calmer tone, "I'll have you out of there in a jiffy!" He raised his crowbar and tested an area of the green, slim-like substance. At first the crowbar would not penetrate the quickly setting fluid. But, determined, Mid Watch hammered through a big enough hole and, eventually, was able to rip out most of the slimy, crusty barrier. 

It was a very grateful Night Kitten that nearly fainted at the sight of her handsome rescuer. She was never so happy to see anyone in her life. Mid Watch quickly pulled her out of the wall depression and even more quickly, untied her. Night Kitten pulled down her gag and warned Mid Watch of the giant worms. "I'm not sure where they are hiding but, I suggest we get out of here, pronto!" exclaimed Night Kitten. 

 "Do you know where your sister, Susie, is being held?" questioned Mid Watch. 

 "Susie? I told Susie to wait in the car," said Night Kitten. "Why? What's wrong?" 

 "Well," began Mid Watch, " I saw her sneaking round to the back of the house. Just as I came round the corner I saw her getting sucked up by some kind of huge, vacuum tube!" 

 "AAARRGGH!" screamed Night Kitten. "When will she ever learn to mind me? We have to find her and then stop the crazy man who is doing all this!" 

 "Do you know who it is?" asked Mid Watch. 

 "No, I've never seen nor heard of him before," stated Night Kitten. "He called himself 'Professor Coldheart'. And he has a bumbling assistant named 'Frostbite'." 

 "And, there could be other minions about, is my guess," averred Mid Watch. The duo quickly made their way back to the basement entrance and out into the cool, night air. Stepping into the over-grown yard, Mid Watch looked back and up at the house. "Look! Up there!" he exclaimed.

 Turning round, Night Kitten let out a gasp, "SUSIE!" she shrieked. There was Susie, up on the top floor at a partially opened window. Her muffled and confused cries barely reaching down to the duo below. In the faint moon-light, Night Kitten could tell her little sister was gagged and probably tied up. "Don't worry, Susie!" exclaimed Night Kitten. "We'll get to you and get you out of there!"

It was about this time that five police cars came racing up the road; sirens blaring. Seems Mid Watch had forgot to check in with the Chief and, signaling in on the homing beacon concealed in Mid Watch's truck, sent out the troop to find him.  The lead officer conversed with Mid Watch and in no time the grounds and house were surrounded. Officer Perry found the main circuit-breaker to the house and shut it off. Now, without power, none of the traps would work. Mid Watch bashed open the back door with a provided mini battering-ram. Both he and Night Kitten, along with another officer, carefully made their way upstairs and soon found poor Susie. She was quickly untied. While the other officers scoured the mansion for the bad guys, the foursome made it downstairs and outside. Unfortunately, no trace of Professor Coldheart, Frostbite or any other of his minions was found that night. There was also no trace of any other missing persons. So, was this all just a hoax? A set-up to get Night Kitten out of the way for good? Quite possibly.

This is the end of this sequence. Hope you all have a happy and safe Halloween!

Friday, October 7, 2016

The Long Weekend Pt.3


 Here are some "bonus goodies" I did up for Vladen13's story, "The Long Weekend". Included are some cover variants as well as info on how I managed to change some things around. Things like art reconstruction (where there was no art at all), colour enhancements and new word and thought balloons. Also action lines...lots of action lines! And, of course, some sound fx to go along with those action lines, hee, hee!

Above are two different versions of the original cover. Here, I've added in new story titles and revamped the issue number. A third variant (below) features a new title for the "book" and no other script...also note that the "toy" in the lower fore-ground has been "restored", heh, heh...

I didn't change much of the original art except for creating new space and background pieces, before I put in new word/thought balloons. Below is an example of a rebuilt page sans balloons. A lot of copy/paste was involved, something I've been teaching myself to do and seem to be getting better at...I think. Here's the new background for pg.11...

Word balloons are easy to do. I have a programme on my MacMini for this. Unfortunately, I still have to do thought balloons using other methods. I basically just over-lap a few circles until I get close to how I want one to look. Then, I can always copy/paste the design into another panel if need be. Here's a word balloon set-up for pg. 2. At this point, I have the re-edited dialogue written down and have picked out my font and letter size. I've also added in panel borders as well as page numbers...

...up next is a brief description of how I expanded a panel for pg.10 and a super-huge detail of the finished panel. Once again, a lot of copy/paste was involved...

...upon re-reading the original story, I looked back at pg.9 and didn't think the size of Betty co-incided with the rest of the image. She was just too darn big! I later questioned Vladen about his vision and was told he had drawn Betty this way to have her more in the foreground and thus, be larger. While I can agree with this and it is an age-old method, it just (to me) didn't look correct. So, I set out to "shrink" Betty to a more compatible size. The image below is a kind of step-by-step on how I did this. The hardest part was carefully "cutting" out Betty and then pasting her into the new page. But, before I did that, I had to duplicate a sample page (I do this a lot and it actually helps to cut down on the copy/paste work.) After creating the dupe page, I went back and re-created the background, starting with the mirror frame. This involved flipping the image and even reversing it to get the corner pieces I needed to fix the frame and make it look like it was originally drawn that way. Then inserted Betty and did some c/p adjustments...

...I did dabble in at least one "experiment"; and that was to try and create an alternate "gag" version. Here's a rough of pg.8 with Veronica using a white, cloth strip for an OTM gag on Betty. Mind you, this was just an idea for an alternate version. I'm not the greatest when it comes to drawing anything with a computer mouse.

...and there you have it. Essentially the same methods for all 12 pages. And below are some extra goodies! On pg.9 you can note that this is the "drool-less" version; also the dialogue has been slightly changed. Pg.12 is a nearly complete set-up. You can see where there are still "rings" around the thought balloons. They were later c/p'd to blend in with the rest of the image. And in some more narration sub-panels and...there you are!

The Long Weekend Pt.2


 As is the original version of Vladen13's "The Long Weekend" story, involving Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge in a kinky, bondage sitch. I only had to do one "reconstruction" to this on page 3. See if you can guess what it was, heh, heh. And you can use the reconstruction I did for PT.1 for a comparo...