Mikenificent’s First Webcomic: Bill and Fred’s Nonexcellent Adventure

Today, here’s a different kind of Throwback Thursday in that this is essentially a brand new article but the content it’s covering is old. It’s very old, indeed, and is in fact the first webcomic I ever did. It’s relevant because I’m revisiting the characters in Milty’s Fictocomic Calvacade, which I haven’t posted about here but am now! These comics originally ran sometime in the year 2000, though I couldn’t tell you an exact date, and were initially just a script based on comics on Jay Resop’s Neglected Mario Characters page. I got actual permission to do a weird fan thing.

The gist of the original story was that two of Jay Resop’s characters (the titular Bill and Fred) had kidnapped Mario. Jay’s Mario was an idiot and I just kind of went with that. It’s important to note that this was all put together in Microsoft Publisher and since it was my first webcomic, the whole thing is pretty much a mess.

Thus ends the first webcomic I ever created using really badly edited images of Toad. This particular series went on for ten episodes of weird sprites and poorly implemented word balloons. In fact, let’s just continue, shall we?

That part was a direct continuation of Jay’s comic, in which Fred and Bill were on a quest to kill Jay. This led me to think that self-insertions were the proper way of doing things. The green guy is Fred, the black guy is Bill, and all those sprites were made by Jay who actually had a good grasp of what a sprite was and how to use one. Jay’s approach to Internet comics also shaped my view on them initially, and these appeared as single images, one after the other, in a single column. I since fixed them up. Here’s some more comics.

Oh yeah. Fred’s name was “Fred the Spanyard” and Bill was “Bill the Extra Guy”.

I made so many weird art choices. Especially with the word balloons and fonts. For this next part, you’ll have to remember I was a sophomore in high school. This next part also introduces my first original webcomic characters which, considering who they are, is a very sobering thought.

The Pikachu was named Pikapunk and he shows up again, so don’t worry too much about the weird Pikachu with those things they guide aircraft in with. My decision to make doppelgangers of Jay’s characters stemmed from a desire to have my own versions to use, should I desire it, because I was already having some ideas about continuing my webcomic career past this comic.

I was not a very economic storyteller, but had started figuring out how to manipulate the program and images to do more of what I wanted to do.

Don’t ask me why I did that thing in the last actual panel. I don’t remember. I do remember that, at this point, I was actually starting to gain traction with this comic in real life and on the Internet. People at my high school weren’t liking it, per se, but were bringing it up around me and I was having a fun time working on these comics instead of my schoolwork. On the Internet, people were also paying some minor attention but I mainly remember the negative. One guy threatened me because he thought I was making fun of the Bill and Ted movies (something that hadn’t even crossed my mind) and another said their friend’s comic was better than mine. That particular comic basically took Jay’s script and completely ripped it off, though the sprite work was superior to mine I maintain that my writing was far better. Anyway, now we continue onward to what is probably the most infamous chapter in this entire comic.

Yep, Subject M was initially a self-insert character. Now you know the terrible secret. He kept the name for years afterward, and it was only with the start of Area 42 that I realized he should become his own thing. Super Smash Stadium, like Jay Resop’s site, were both parts of the Super Mario Brothers Headquarters. I worked with them for a little while, but things went south for various reasons. None of it was to do with this comic.

I also wasn’t very keen on narrative flow or momentum, though my desire to get the setting completely down is mildly admirable. Anyway, here’s the exciting conclusion.

The ending tied things right back into Jay Resop’s comic, because I felt that this was necessary. Honestly, only the panels where they’re actually fighting were probably needed. The stuff where I go over all the characters again wasn’t needed. This was my first webcomic series, but there’s nothing but improvement from here on out.

BONUS THING:

The comic was originally going to go a lot differently, with Ned and Fred traveling to Mike P’s mountain dwelling, where Mike P would ride a giant bird and attack them which would force them to team-up to defeat him. This did not happen. Would things have gone differently had the character become a villain? Maybe! He might have still evolved fairly similarly. This is the only remnant of that draft:

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