Happy Third Birthday, Rightfield!

Yesterday marked the three-year anniversary of the debut of the comic strip Rightfield, the most ambitious comic franchise that Base14 has ever undertaken. Featuring the comedic exploits of Sam the Human, Phil the Platypus and Glitch the Robot, Rightfield was designed to follow well-developed characters through a major story arc, giving readers more than just a daily chuckle. On August 21st, 2006, the following three-panel cartoon was published in nearly 20,000 copies of the Purdue Exponent Newspaper.
Rightfield: August 21st, 2006
This was at best a crude beginning, and as a comic artist, I was still feeling my way into the art form. But working to publish five hand-drawn strips a week meant that I would rack up experience quickly, and the quality of the strip steadily improved. By the end of the Fall Semester, the strip was consistently demonstrating solid craftsmanship and concepts.
Rightfield: November 13th, 2006
The story continues after the break.
By the beginning of 2007, I had progressed from pencil-drawn strips to full inking, and also began implementing additional line weight and stroke variations. During this time, between January and March,  Rightfield entered what could be considered its “Golden Era.” Following is one of the most memorable strips from that time.
Rightfield: November 13th, 2006
Halfway through the second season, however, the attention of the company began to shift from Rightfield the comic to Rightfield the movie. Indeed, our ambitions were set on capturing the top prize for an animated film at the local Purdue Digital Cinema Contest. So, piggybacking off the success of Rightfield, Base14 decided to make an animated prequel, chronicling Phil’s first attempt to take over the world. The result took over 150 man-hours to make and successfully reached its goal of First Prize in Animation at the Purdue Digital Cinema Contest and First Prize in Animation at the Indiana University Iris Film Festival!

Unfortunately, the promotion of Biological Warfare Ain’t Easy led to the eventual downfall of Rightfield the comic. Two weeks before the film was set to premiere, we (somewhat unwisely) decided to publish this comic to get fans excited about the upcoming movie. Of course, this led to controversy surrounding the advertisement-like nature of the strip; since the movie was getting advertising it wasn’t paying for. An apology apparently wasn’t good enough, and the newspaper staff canceled the comic and terminated any associated Exponent staff. (i.e. I got fired.)

But this story does have a happy ending. Creating the movie sparked my fascination with digital animation, which led to the production of Ara, which led to the production of Duck ♥ Teslacoil. And that’s been going pretty well. :) So as we celebrate three years since Rightfield began its ambitious run, we also celebrate what was to be the catalyst for a new direction of storytelling for Base14. And hopefully one day, I’ll get around to actually making the entirety of Rightfield available in a published book form. Until then, pay a visit to the Rightfield website and remember what once was between and man and a platypus.