Bigger Than Cheeses
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The origins of Bigger Than Cheeses
Hi Cheesites, I was doing a little cleaning when I found some old materials that I thought had been lost forever. Including the very first doodles that would become Bigger Than Cheeses. It's slightly image heavy, so it might take a little while for all the images to load completely on dialup. I've thumbnailed to make it easier for larger pictures. Have fun!

Here's where it all began
See that? That scruffy, beat up looking notebook was the place where the doodles I'd been doing for months finally came together to form a crude couple of strips that became the first three btc strips. Number 4 never made it, and number 5 has never seen the light of day until now (below). The picture really doesn't do the notebook justice. The thing is literally falling apart and if you look closely, you can spot where I had to bind it back together with sticky tape. Still. Without it, there would be no btc. If you were to trace bigger than cheeses to its roots, this book is where it all began.

Here it is. The page that started it all. Don't worry, there's a clear image below so you can see it clearly. Just wanted to prove it was just a regular piece of notebook paper. I can't find the ultimate origins of btc (the jesusman scribble), but this is the earliest of bigger than cheeses as we all know it. I made the comics up for reasons unknown, and showed them to my friends. They had a hearty laugh so I decided to put them up on the internet, and maybe make more. After a while I wasn't happy with just stab stab kill kill, so I started evolving the strip. You know the rest.

As you can see, I pretty much copied the very first 3 strips straight from the original sketches, rearranging the pope killing strip first because I felt it would stand the test of time better as the first strip, rather than a political joke. That's also why saddam didn't go first. These three comics were made during the first of a double period of maths class. I have no idea what the teacher was teaching at the time, but as you can see it probably wasn't important enough to make me pay attention. You'll notice on the bottom the last comic is in pencil. That was during the second period, when we had to switch classrooms, and I just started drawing with pencil, because in retrospect it's pretty stupid to draw immediately with pen. Although since this isn't exactly rembrandt, it didn't matter. In case you can't read it, the final comic says "I know you did this, but HOW". My skills at drawing utter mahem and distaster were sadly lacking back then. Actually, they're still lacking. I'll have to learn how to draw properly one of these days.

Unreleased pieces

The earliest unreleased btc I could find. The legendary "strip 5" which remained hidden in the back pages of my subject chapterised notebook. Those cunning bastards and their categorisation. Most doodles of that era made it to the scanning phase, or at least to the sketch stage (most strips were doodled first into my notebook, then copied/traced onto clean white paper which I then inked and scanned), but this one never made it out of the preliminaries. I think it was from either Economics or Chemistry, but either way I was half asleep when I drew it, thus the single panelness of it all. And the misspelled "you" gives it away as well. I think I wrote "yow", "yon" or "yoy". It's hard to tell with my writing. I've included captions in case you can't read my incredibly bad handwriting. I've done all sorts of bad jokes since I started, but I think cannibalism just shouldn't be one of them. Plus it's sorta weak, even by early btc standards. Yecch

Following the success of newscaster guy, I wanted to use him again, except with something making fun of George W Bush. The only problem was this was pre-9/11, so I didn't really have much to work with other than he was from Texas, apparently became president without getting the most votes, and is kinda funny looking. This one never made it past panel 2. But hell, he just looks priceless in that picture, doesn't he? According to the file modified date, this strip came after this strip, but before this one. Incidentally, the originals have 11 and 12 in opposite order, but I guess it doesn't really matter in the long run. It's just odd.

This is the closest thing to an unfinished btc that I've ever released. This comic was supposed to be using the old line "people are more violently opposed to fur rather than leather, since it's easier to harass rich old women rather than hells angels". I didn't have any hells angels, but violent bob was the closest thing to a bikie. The strip was basically supposed to go:

  • Activists throw paint on old lady shouting stupid anti-fur slogans. Old lady goes "Oh my stars!" or somethine else old ladyish
  • Violent Bob shows up, goes "AUNTIE MABEL! What happened to the new fur coat I bought for you!?"
  • Violent Bob gets out chainsaw and yells something about leather, or come get some. I forget, it's been a long time
  • Anyway, the joke was a bit lame, and I never actually drew a second panel. Plus I held the paper at an angle when I drew this comic, so everything came out funny. I scrapped it quick and moved on. For anyone who's interested, the modified file date places it somewhere between here and here. Note the spiffy high collar vest I drew for bob.

    This is the very first "proper" woman I've drawn. It's just a simple sketch on a medical notepad I got from my brother, but it's the earliest piece of non-comic art I could dig up. Looking back on it now makes me cringe, but I always preferred to show how bad I was before to better demonstrate just how far I've come. The shape of her head is all wrong, her eyes don't match, her nose is a horizontal line, I don't know what the hell is up with her lips, her shoulders are too wide, she has no hips, for some reason I never inked her hair, and I'll leave the explaination for the ridiculously oversized breasts later. If you look closely, you'll notice part of this strip sticking through. Yep, that's how old it is. This lady right here is pre-nat, pre-new art. There were a whole bunch of other design sketches I had for Duke and Thanatos, but this pic was all I could find from that particular era. She was my basis for Nat, who I turn built upon over and over and over. Okay, now as I've said before, Nat's art base was primarily Polymer City, which in retrospect was a pretty bad choice if I wanted women with normal proportions, but Chris had the best art that I'd seen and I wanted to emulate him. Andrah was too muscley a choice to copy and Sheeri has the whole furry/anime thing going on, so I ended up basing her on Lindy. This mysterious woman here was the result of a direct proportion copy, so things got a little out of hand. And that's not a pun or anything. I think the whole exercise was a test on how well I could draw a woman at that point (ie; not at all, apparently), and I knew she would never be in the comic so I never ended up naming her. Long story short, I scrapped this picture without showing anyone (except Funk Machine, if memory serves) but managed to burn a copy of the scan onto a cd which I dropped behind the desk and only found recently. As you can see in nat's first appearance, I scaled her breasts down tremendously, but still hadn't gotten the hang of actually drawing things well. Ie; straight lines and curved lines should actually look like straight lines and curved lines. Drawing two identically curved lines was near impossible for me, thus each panel looked different without copy/paste, and her boobs are an odd shape. My hands are actually pretty shaky, so drawing things freehand tend to give some bad results. Especially in the early days. So to answer your question, no I'm not a sexless freak who purposely draws women with wrecking ball sized breasts for entertainment, I just can't draw well. Actually, looking at polymer city now, he's been slowly making the characters' breasts larger the whole time I've been gradually making Nat's breasts smaller. Good thing I didn't try to copy a more recent strip, eh?


    Luckily for current me, past me had the brains to think ahead and name the logo files properly so I could sort them later. Thanks past me!

    If you can remember this logo, I love you

    Containing my favourite shots of the main characters, I realised if I was going to put the characters in the logo, I'd have to update the damn thing far too often because I change the art style too much. Except for, you know, Wang

    My first non-character containing logo. Pretty bland, and I ended up changing it within a day or two.

    Logos 4 through 6 was me buggering around with photoshop layer effects. From a quick glace, I'd say drop shadow, inner shadow, texture, satin, emboss, and that outline one. I have no idea what happened to Logo 5, but I think it became logo small, and I put it in the short lived navigation bar I introduced on the 100th strip.

    That's logosmall here. I suspect it's logo 5.

    The one I stuck with for the longest, and the one most of you will remember. This was actually copied straight out of my computer science notes. I scanned the notes in directly (they were on clean white paper, not notebook paper) and touched it up in photoshop before I started applying filters. A nice generic logo. I really like triangles on my logos. I don't know why.

    Btc: The next generation. I introduced the current one (plus the new background and colour scheme) when the php kicked into effect. Shock horror, it's also a triangle. Only kinda bent and wavey. WAVEY FROM THE FUTURE

    You remember ol' swirly, don't you? Well before swirly, there was just a plain dark blue background. If you want to be specific, it was body bg = #000333. Anyway, I stumbled across (stole) ol' swirly on a neverhood site, back in 2001. I liked the background quite a bit, and saved it to hd for later use. I actually forgot about it until sometime around christmas/new years when I started using it as the background for new comics. Then the archive was split into the blue background and the swirly background pages, and I had to go through each goddamn file and fix it. I returned later to the neverhood site, but the background was gone. Actually, I think it was the OFFICIAL neverhood site. Something like Or maybe just Meh. I got the current background while searching for a suitable background to fit the new php design. Ironically, I spent a good 3 hours sorting through backgrounds, each one invariably too cluttered. Finally I found a backgrounds site offering all sorts of backgrounds (they were all ass), but the image they'd used on the page itself was perfect, and thus the second step of background stealering.

    Good news everyone! I was cleaning out my cabinet when I stumbled across the VERY FIRST EVER INKED BTCS EVER EVER. For those of you playing at home, that means I found the originals (not the notebook ones, the clean ones I inked for scanning) to comics 1, 2, 3, 11, 12, 14 and 15! OLD


    Here's some preliminary sketches of Nat, before I implemented her first major art change. Note the every useful "if you can't draw hands, hide them behind their back" trick in action. Also, crappy high heels. NEAT!

    That's all the nostalgia stuff I've got lying around for now. If anything else surfaces (ie; the big bang of the btc universe, the original jesusman sketch), I'll let you know.

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