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The thought of God being really good at a sport-soccer, in particular-seemed like an obvious conclusion.  Soccer is more international than edible food. When I thought about what kind of sport I wanted God to play here, none of the “American Classics” fit. It was just kind of presumptuous.

Adam’s deadpan reaction to this amazing feat I think mimics what would really happen should the Almighty try to impress you with such a trick. As much as soccer is the most international idea in the universe, Americans still find it boring as shit. But this is God we’re talking about-you kind of have to suck it up and pretend to be interested. Billions of people do that every Sunday anyway, right?

The next strip, which was the conclusion to this particular story, represents the kind of “brass tacks” conversation with God that every mortal is dying (augh) to have. And after an eternity of persnickety assholes much like me asking the same four questions, you’d expect him to respond much in the same fashion. The follow up, however, was my version of the curveball.

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So, the obvious conclusion that we’re looking at here is that God, the Almighty, Creator of existence, is actually a robot. I think this is the kind of information you could solicit from an omnipotent being if you catch them unawares. God being a robot makes a kind of logical sense, in that he has access to all of this seemingly-unknowable knowledge, at any point he can recall this shit. Plus, he came up with all of us humans, along with all of the other creatures of the world. The shit inside a body can only be called “machinery.”

This whole story about my death was me trying to come to grips with my death and the uncertainty that lies beyond the pale. I’ve spent most of my adult life questioning, if not outright denying, the existence of a higher power. What if you were presented with incontrovertible truth that s/he existed? I’d like to think that even after death, the mind would come up with some sort of escape plan. God? That’s a little crazy, but robots? Robots I understand.

This whole story takes place in about the span of an hour on the outskirts of Cedere Abunde, New Mexico. That was a conscious choice; we were examining an ancillary character when the real meat (if it could be described as such) took place within the city limits. The arc of this particular event-a young man’s accidental death-had some far-reaching consequences: his best friend refuses to accept this even, and instead attempts to alter history; the woman that hit Adam has to deal with the repercussions of her actions as it tears her apart; a young man reflects on his family’s past in the wake of a death. This last part got me pretty jazzed, as this “young man” is none other than Doug Quigly, private detective from the 31-and-a-half billionth century. I think my motive for doing this story was to connect all of the ridiculous things that have come before it.

And that’s where things stand now. The first story was the only one ever officially published; other scripts and outlines were written for subsequent stories, but that’s as far as things got. In re-imagining the whole story of Cedere Abunde’s residents, my goal is to create a life-like community that exists in a sort of non-reality. I’m bringing back old characters, introducing new ones, and changing history when I see fit. It’s going to be a blast for me, but my guess is that it will suck for anyone trying to keep things straight.

Presented below are some of the original outlines for this story, in the raw form that was presented to Mike for art. I’m constantly surprised about what we were able to extrapolate from so little:

Adam is walking down the sidewalk and he spots a banana in the middle of the street. He walks over to it.

“Hey, banana!” he exclaims with glee.

Adam is immediately run over by a car. He is now standing on the sidewalk, watching as the lady driving the car gets out and runs over to his lifeless body, crying profusely.

“Man, that’s so embarrassing. It was just a banana…” Adam says.

“But I do love bananas,” suddenly, Adam is transported into the heavenly plane. He’s talking casually with God, His Holiness.

“I kind of expected You would, God.”

They sit awkwardly for a few moments, both staring directly ahead, not really looking at each other. Suddenly God has a soccer ball in his hands.

“Want to see what I can do?” God starts juggling the ball with his feet, keeping it alive for an impressive amount of time. But, unfortunately, he drops the ball.

“Dang! That was pretty good, God. So… what’s the meaning of life? Why did I die going after street bananas?”

Both are now seated on a bench, in heaven. A basic park bench; the kind you sit on when you wait for a bus.

“Those are some good questions, Adam. Unfortunately, it would take 6000 hours to explain that to you.”

“Well, don’t I kind of have–man, you must be a math genius! How did You figure that out so fast?”

“Oh, ha, I’m a robot.”

“What?”

“I’m sorry?”

“You said You were a robot!”

God and Adam sit in silence for a moment, and suddenly God breaks down and sobs heavily. Adam places an awkward arm around God’s shoulder.

Now that people have finally had a second chance to read this shit, I can put it behind me and move on to redoing it. God, it sounds awful… But it’s a labor of love, I suppose. I love these characters and I love this town and I love these ideas. And I won’t stop until I share that love with as many people as possible. It’s like story-rape. Have fun sleeping tonight! Next week, Onward and Downward returns to normal, as I get pissed about something and rant.

By Adam

Last week, I talked about the differences between writing comics using either a plot or a script. For most of Exit Theory, I used the plot method-I could devote a small amount of time to each story section and still pump out a whole bunch of shit as fast as possible. That’s the benefit of writing a plot. Unfortunately, one of the first things lost when using this method is control. Take a look at this:

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My artist was the amazing, irascible, frequently-drunk, two-fisted Mike Beachy. He’s a talented sumbitch, but prone to letting himself go a little crazy when there’s no one around to reel him in. There’s no better example of this than the strip above: he essentially captured the entire thrust of what I was trying to say, but instead of letting the words do the talking, he chose to tell the story visually. Everything is there, but the sheer amount of action on the page is staggering. Good thing the fucker is talented; for the most part, things flow pretty smoothly. But the asshole couldn’t spell his way out of a wet paper bag, and as a result we both look kind of stupid. Knowing the both of us, that was unavoidable, but still. Capitalize “banana”, motherfucker.

Just… There are so, so many details in this comic that were meticulously placed in order to facilitate stories that would appear (and will, by God) later on in the series. The first two panels do a decent job establishing the locale-a small, dusty down-that would later become the star of the series as I had envisioned it. During this point in time, I was fascinated by death; I was convinced that my own death was fast approaching, so I was curious as to how it would play it. This was the logical extension of that idea.

Is it kind of awkward to have your main character be yourself? I don’t know; I always decided that I needed to write to my strengths, and who do you know better, you know? Fictional me is a little more dense (and seems to enjoy bananas much more than reality-me), but I’ll forgive him anything as long as I could see that death rattle panel again. It would eventually go on to be the first (and only; fucking A, this is a lot of parenthetical statements) Exit Theory t-shirt. I always thought it was funny that because a banana was squashed during my death, I decided to shuffle off of the mortal coil instead of haunt the world. That’s pretty fucking autobiographical.

Holy shit, what’s going on in those last two panels?

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Of course, any real rumination on death invariably leads to thoughts upon the afterlife and faith. Ask R.J.; ask anyone who really knows me: I don’t buy into the traditional theories about God. The Christian Church is the most successful business structure in the world because it sells an intangible product-motherfucker, I’m going to save this topic for when I’m back to writing about things that piss me off. Regardless, while I don’t believe in any “prescribed” religion, I do have faith, and I expect that any god or God worth his salt will at least sit down with someone upon their death and answer a few questions. Obviously, my inspiration for God in this was the Christian/Catholic interpretation, as evidenced by the use of the stained-glass windows surrounding the action. Notice them sitting on the park bench and getting ready to have a sit-down. We’ll cover that next week.

By Adam

Partly because of my laziness and partly because I’m embarking on the completely ridiculous adventure of re-imagining the series, I’ve decided to bring out the old issues of Exit Theory for people to marvel at/run from. Because of my nigh-sexual passion for this story and all the denizens of Cedere Abunde, New Mexico, don’t expect me to say “fucking queermo” or whatever other crazy bullshit I’m known for. Don’t get me wrong, this will probably be funny-the content you are about to see is so rough, so decidedly unpolished-you’ll laugh at how pedestrian everything is. I don’t care, though, as you’re a fucking asshole who needs to die in an apartment fire. See? I did it anyway.

Exit Theory Volume One: The Blog

During my freshman year of college (“Coolege”), I started blogging sort-of regularly about the stupidest shit. It was vintage: long-winded, masturbatory, and full of metaphors and similes that even a third-grader would find preposterous. I haven’t progressed that far in writing skills, but at least I’m not a dopey bitch anymore. The site had a decent following from friends, and eventually, I pulled some in to write for me (Writer’s Tip #1: Producing content is so fucking cake when you have others help you out. The more you know!). In fact, the Reactionary Century model is built upon my old Exit Theory model. My editor will (not) back me up on this.

Regardless, one of the jerks that I hired was one Tyler “Burky Tea” Burks. What sets Tyler apart from other people is that he is a fucking alien. No one in the history of the universe has someone been dubiously-creative meets unheard-of-retarded as him. Eventually, Tyler and I got to talking about the things we had in common (videogames, comic books; we’re talking things that social outcasts are made from) and how less talented people were making money creating web comics. We had to get a piece of that action. Here’s what we came up with:

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Not the most auspicious start. So we looked like a couple of retarded salamanders, who gives a shit? We were unique. We took those big heads and put them through their paces. We made a six-part story about a guy who gets metal arms in his search for Sasquatch. A title of one of the strips was “Tony Hawk’s Extreme Downhill Garbage Bag Vagina Racer.” If you ever wondered what it takes to get excommunicated from the Catholic Church when you aren’t Catholic, there’s your fucking answer.

Let me take a minute to talk about the creative process we had. When collaborating with someone on a project like this, there are generally two ways to go about it: plot or script. Throughout the entirety of Volumes One through Three, I used the plot method. It involved writing a bunch of shit down describing the story and some choice bits of dialogue; a synopsis, if you want to use a cool word. You then pass this document over to the guy who makes the pictures, who interprets your words into pictures and posts them on the internet on a fancy new redesigned site. For the writer, this puts an equal amount of creative freedom into the hands of the artist; if someone capable runs with your idea, you get impressive results. This was how Stan Lee was able to write Captain America, Spider Man, The Hulk, Iron Man, Fantastic Four, etc. every month and still stay sane. He had the other guy do a lot of the work.

We didn’t hit this creative handshake until Volume Two.

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Notice how the PS2 control says “SIN” on it? Take that, Sony, you corporate fucks! Volume Two marked an important shift in creative style-Tyler started to take on more of the creative reins, as I had grown mostly bored of the videogame/comic-book web comic. You know how every idea you’ve ever had was already done by The Simpsons? Well, Penny Arcade! did everything already. My creative energies were being focused on creating an overarching story steeped in delicious continuity. I had to leave the James Remar jokes behind me.

There you have it! A brief history of Volumes One and Two of Exit Theory. God, that was untenable. Join us next week as we tackle the only series of Volume Three comics ever produced… yet. Here’s the cover:

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See you next week, queermos.