Ice Climbers Do Whatever: Mikenificent’s Sprite Comic Opus

In my time as a sprite comic artist, I only really did five stories of various lengths. Last time, you saw my shortest efforts. This one was my longest effort, a joint effort between me and a former friend that included a number of upgrades in writing, art, and formatting. Lessons learned were put to good use here. Let’s begin with a colossal blunder we never bothered to ever fix.

There’s a lot to unpack here. First and foremost, this is obviously not an epilog as it’s the first chapter. Second, there’s a lot of fourth wall breakage and I’d like to say that stops but this is just the beginning. Cruton later became Baco, who’s shown up in a lot of Fictosphere comics, but here he was just my friend’s self-insertion character who says the Fictosphere’s first swear. Rygar’s appearance is because we were both quite taken with his NES game.

As for the Ice Climbers, they had just been announced for Super Smash Brothers Melee and my high school self was completely baffled by these weird characters that he felt the need to have them become antagonists in a sprite comic. They’re not the only antagonists, but are the prime movers of the whole endeavor.

The AOMP reference is not to the comic which would eventually the sprite comics, but rather a script-based thing featuring Cruton and some characters which will show up later. It was based off several other script-based story sites which largely concerned various video game heroes and villains doing random things and since I never met an idea I didn’t want to leave my mark on.

See? Half the episode is just two of the characters talking about a game I’m a big fan of and then ending it only when they realize they’re abusing their power. I do still kind of like the whole “Buenos Dies” angle of it, though. Also, this comic was originally animated!

I never said it was animated well, mind you. Now let’s continue on.

This episode was mainly to showcase the fact that I had acquired a small level of sprite-altering skill, though a lot of these came from a completely different friend. I do remember getting the one for the tavern exterior, which you can tell because it looks bad. There was another animation for this one:

The focus on Bob and Pikapunk was because I was planning on giving them each spin-off comics before plans changed. It should be noted that Bob eventually did get his own comic. Pikapunk has yet to make a true appearance in the Fictosphere, but his curse is another instance of me thinking something in Latin sounded like a magic spell. Now let’s get really freaking weird and also mildly prescient.

Yes, that is a politician building a wall between the United States and Mexico in this comic from the early 2000s. I believe the choice of Pat Buchanan fell on Cruton but boy, that is certainly a thing I put into a comic. Also, Sonic the Hedgehog! I ripped him as I was getting better at obtaining sprites at this point and this was also the point when Sega announced they were exiting the console manufacturing business in favor of focusing on game development which meant we were going to get Sonic games on Nintendo systems. I also got Pedro the Bull, who is obviously just a Super Mario World Goomba in a Viking Helmet from, I believe, Super Mario Land 3. So let’s see where this goes.

I don’t know why proto-Subject M is so angry and violent in these comics when he’s become more of a pacifist in the Fictosphere, but it’s probably because I was a teenager who wanted to conquer the world for some reason. This episode has even more input from friends: Goku is from the same friend who was supplying other sprites, and while the idea to slap John Stamos’s head on Wire Sponge’s body was mine the sequence where he was suggested was supplied by a pal named Jimmy and it is based on the White Ranger summoning his Megazord in the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. This is not the last time Full House will be referenced and subsequently menaced in some way, as I have lot of animosity towards that show and was even planning on including more actors from it as time went on. I only got one.

The true antagonist reveals itself, and yes, it is the Tootsie Pop Owl. That whole sequence is a bunch of inside jokes and was supposed to lead to Bob’s spin-off. I’m also reasonably certain that Oklahoma sequence was supposed to end differently, but the size disparity of the sprites made me go a different direction. The cast of AoMP was supposed to show up again, and the latter two are based on actual classmates of mine. I don’t think they ever did, but I freely admit to making all those terrible sprites as well as that of the swordsman that’s just a Meta Knight rip-off. And finally, there’s Mike Q, who first showed up in the Shorts and finally comes into his own. Also, that cliffhanger title thing is completely a nod to Rocky and Bullwinkle. Now onward to the final true episode of Ice Climbers Do Whatever.

Everyone in these comics is just a violent psychopath, aren’t they? My ability to edit images was getting better at this point, though I wonder what wonders I could do now that I actually have a clue as to what I’m doing? The image of the house is, in fact, a house from Canada and let me tell you that before Google Image Search finding most of these was a lot more difficult.

Anyway, while I did say that that was the last true episode, the story didn’t end. No, something had happened: I had started reading real webcomics like 8-Bit Theater and MegaTokyo. I suddenly had a feeling that I could be doing things differently, and set out to restructure my comics into something new, something different…

Things were going to be different now, and make no mistake. For one, it would appear that I finally decided to make sure the word balloons were laid out well with a decent font to go with them. Also, an actual update schedule! Will wonders ever cease?

I did still have some panels to burn off, because this wasn’t a well-thought out decision and one I was simply going to barrel ahead with despite that fact.

With the new format came new sprites, obviously, and with the new sprites came the desire to use as many as I possibly could. The A-Hole, by the way, is the name for that quantum machine from earlier. We thought it was funny.

The writing and pacing could have really been tightened up, and I should have also used this opportunity to divorce myself from the Jay Resop-inspired Mario characterization.

As I said, I wanted people to know darn well that I was able to rip my own sprites and do some mild editing to them. As for why I made two characters who typically don’t talk have the most lines, well, I don’t know.

These are the worst comics I’ve ever done, I’m so sorry. At least there’s nowhere to go from here but up before one brief massive drop.

I thought the swearing was “cool” and “edgy” but instead it made me feel incredibly ashamed of myself and my use of curse words plummeted. In fact, out of all the spite comics? This whole sequence we’ve been looking at, from the fourth Third Attempt comic onwards, is just extremely depressing. Thankfully, it’s over now.

At least these are better than the whole video game character thing. Not by much, but still. Let’s just get this over with.

That took a turn at the end. It was as if switching to the new format just warped my creative sense and things went from fun and weird to just like the worst possible thing imaginable. The anarchy of the earlier stuff was replaced with needless cameos and a focus on panel count and flash rather than actual story.

Despite all that, the non-Third Attempt comics still have a special place in my heart. I was creating something people were actually reading (yes, people were reading them) and wasn’t getting too bogged down in details even though there were some details I should have been paying attention to. Oh well. There’s only one more of these, which we’ll get to in Easter because that’s when it’ll be the most timely.

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