Bob and George
|Bob and George|
Bob and George strip from December 18, 2001.
|Current status / schedule||Concluded|
|Launch date||April 1, 2000|
|End date||July 28, 2007|
|Genre(s)||Comedy, Sprite comic|
Bob and George was a sprite-based webcomic which parodied the fictional universe of Mega Man. It is written by David Anez, a physics instructor who lives in the American Midwest. The comic first appeared on April 1, 2000 and ran until July 28, 2007. It was updated daily, with there being only 29 days without a comic in its seven years of production and with 2568 comics being made altogether.
Most Bob and George strips are still images. The initial strips were mostly done in GIF format (occasionally using JPEG for more graphic-intensive comics) before converting to PNG in May 2004. In addition, occasional comics are animated using either animated GIFs or Macromedia Flash. Some of the Flash comics have the characters speaking, voiced by Anez and others (often forum members). Animated comics are generally used for the annual week-long anniversary parties (usually culminating in a brief animated comic that recaps the events of the past year in a matter of seconds), for especially climactic scenes, and for a series of videos depicting an in-comic event known as "the Cataclysm".
The comic's plot is mostly made up of story arcs of varying lengths. Amongst past story arcs there have been retellings of various Mega Man games (which often play out quite differently than the originals), as well as battles against powerful foes. In addition, many of the story arcs involve either time travel, dimensional travel, and villains who want to kill all the characters.
Bob and George was originally planned to be a hand-drawn webcomic about the college adventures of the two titular brothers. Slated to start on April 1, 2000, the plan fell through because Anez did not have a scanner with which to scan his drawings. He stated "I was hoping to use my friend's scanner, but he was never around." He instead released a sequence of filler comics using Mega Man sprites, which he intended to be a temporary measure until he gained access to a scanner, at which point he would implement his initial plan involving the hand drawn comics. He eventually purchased a scanner, and on June 1 he released the hand-drawn comic.
The hand-drawn comic was to revolve around a group of superheroes attending college. Neither the initial attempt nor a later attempt at it went well, and both times he returned to the Mega Man sprite comic. Anez has stated that he hated the hand-drawn comic. The hand-drawn comic made something of a return in the storyline "All Good Things"—the hand-drawn format is used to represent George's home dimension, though this time drawn by Liss, Dave's wife. Dave stated the reason for this is he realized that he still could not draw, and was not going to get any better.
However, this meant that the comic strip was titled "Bob and George", but did not contain any characters named "Bob" or "George". This was fixed with the introduction of sprite versions of the two characters into the comic. Bob is depicted as a gray Proto Man recolor while George is a Mega Man recolor with blond hair and no helmet.
David planned to end the comic by April 1, 2007, which is the end of the seventh year of the comic's run. However, the story took longer than expected, and the comic ended on Anez's birthday, July 28, 2007. There were a total of 2,658 daily comics produced.
While not the first webcomic to ever use video game sprites in place of hand-drawn art, Bob and George is noted as being the first sprite comic to gain widespread popularity and the originator of the sprite comic "craze". At the height of its readership in 2004, Bob and George held an Alexa traffic rank of around 20,000. Anez's comic "paved the way" for the creation of numerous other sprite comics, including Oldskooled, Life of Wily, and Brian Clevinger's 8-Bit Theater. Clevinger has called Anez "the Father of Sprite Comics" for his role in popularizing the phenomenon, and directly credits a friend showing him Anez's Bob and George for his inspiration to make his comic. Regarding the use of sprites in a comic, Clevinger has said,
As we all know, it's only a comic if it uses art, and it can only be art if it's hand drawn. David [Anez] didn’t know it then, but he’d be the pioneer in shattering this stereotype"
Bob and George has a large cast of characters consisting of characters from the Mega Man series of games, as well as original characters created by Anez and others.
- Mega Man – a robot created by Dr. Light.
- The Author – the (nearly) all-powerful being who made the comic. He appears as a blue/purple palette swap of Mega Man without his helmet.
- Bob – the younger, evil, and more mature brother of George. His alter-ego is Napalm, a super-powered being with control over fire. He is very adept at programming. He is a grey palette swap of Proto Man, with red hair underneath his helmet. His abilities in combat and his intelligence surpass most of the other characters, to the point he's referred to himself as a Mary Sue.
- George – heroic where his younger brother, Bob is villainous. His alter-ego is Blitz, a super hero with control over lightning. George is a light blue and grey palette swap of helmet-less Mega Man with flat, blonde hair.
Secondary Main Cast
- Proto Man – Created by Dr. Light, Proto Man is the older robotic brother of Mega Man.
- Roll – Mega Man and Proto Man's sister as well as Dr. Light's assistant.
- Bass – Mega Man's programmed archenemy and Dr. Wily's most powerful robot.
- Dr. Light – Called by his first name, Tom, by his fellow scientists. He is the creator of many robots in the comic.
- Nate- A yellow demon that first appears in The Attack of The Yellow Demon.
Villains and Adversaries
- Dr. Wily – An evil scientist plotting the downfall of Mega Man and Dr. Light, and the primary villain of the game parodies. Wily often explains his plans in overheard soliloquy, a long running gag in the series.
- Mynd – A Sigma-lookalike from another dimension, who managed to do serious damage to the cast in their initial confrontation. Anez put the character in the comic by request from a fan's sprite edit.
- Helmeted Author – Also known as "Helmut" and Fistandantilus (or "Uncle Fisty" as Mega Man calls him). An Author from another dimension who wears a helmet which restrains his powers. Without the helmet, he has dark gray Sephiroth-style hair, and also sports a grey color scheme. He is the titular character of Helmeted Author Quips, a subcomic which was at times displayed in the space beneath the main comic on the website.
- X – Dr. Light's most advanced robotic creation, X is a super-advanced robot from 100 years in the future with the ability to think for himself. The star of the Mega Man X games. X has taken multiple roles in the comic: being a straight man to Mega Man's antics, a spirit guide for George, the main villain between the fifth and sixth game parodies, and a hero in his own timeline.
- Zero – X's friend and an advanced robot created by Dr. Wily. Upon activation, he went on a rampage that caused the Cataclysm, an event which separated the original Mega Man era from the Mega Man X era. Zero was defeated by members of the cast, and was put into a 100-year sleep. He became good sometime after awaking from this hibernation.
- The Shadowy Author – Sometimes shortened to "Shador," he is the author of the Rockman Universe, a Mega Man universe based on the Japanese version of the Mega Man games. He is shown as being neither friend nor foe to the cast. The character has interfered in the events of the primary universe on several occasions. The comic's final strip revealed that the true Shadowy Author was really The Author the whole time, having blamed himself for the deaths of the main cast – and working to prevent it.
The plot of Bob and George involves various re-tellings of the plot from the Mega Man video games, interspersed with the characters interacting and sometimes battling villains of Anez's own creation. Time travel and inter-dimensional travel are common occurrences, with many of the characters hailing from dimensions (or times) other than that of the main continuity. This leads to a number of temporal paradoxes.
Story lines frequently involve breaking the fourth wall, with the strips' Author being a regular character. A running theme of the comic is that most, if not all, of the characters are fully aware that they are in a webcomic.
- First comic
- Anez, Dave. "About The Author".
- "How Did BnG Begin?"
- Sjöberg, Lore. You, Too, Can Be a Comics Whiz, , June 3, 2004. Retrieved January 21, 2008.
- Campbell, T. A History of Webcomics: The Golden Age: 1993–2005, March 2006. Retrieved January 21, 2008.
- Thomas, Lucas. Quirky comics find an online home, [http://www.kykernel.com/home/ The Kentucky Kernel, April 19, 2002. Retrieved January 21, 2008.
- Clevinger, Brian. Sprite Comics (essay), Nuklear Power, Retrieved January 21, 2008.
- The Artistic History of Webcomics, December 9, 2005. Retrieved January 21, 2008.
- "The First Annual Robot Tournament". BobandGeorge.com. Retrieved 2009-10-27.
- Thomas, Lucas. "Quirky comics find an online home", The Kentucky Kernel, April 19, 2002. Accessed January 21, 2008.
- Sjöberg, Lore. "You, Too, Can Be a Comics Whiz", Wired, June 3, 2004. Accessed January 21, 2008.