What is this madness?

It’s a punchline.  As in “Wouldn’t it be hee-larious if there was a comic about Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage fighting crime? Thanks, I’ll be here all week!”  The imaginary comic was the punchline to Lovelace: The Origin, drawn because my good buddy Suw Charman got me drunk started a Noble Enterprise called Ada Lovelace Day.  

At first I didn’t have the smallest idea of it ACTUALLY being a comic, but you simply can’t read anything about Charles Babbage or Ada Lovelace without being struck by what an awesome comic they would make.  Or maybe that’s just me.  Various episodes started drawing themselves in my head, which led them to being drawn in actuality, usually when I was supposed to be drawing something else.  This sort of thing didn’t really belong on my official blog, which is supposed to present me as a person of deep seriousness single-mindedly devoted to excellence in visual effects (which I am!!).  So I started this website.. comic.. thing.

So, this is either the agonizing birth pangs, or monstrous death-throes, of a comic.  I’m definitely making it up as I go along.

Why are you doing this?

No particular reason.  I like history, science, comics, primary documents, and pointless non-remunerative projects.  I once typed out the the entire journals of Gilbert White for no particular reason, for instance.

What’s up with Babbage’s hair?

Like most of this comic, it’s a conflation of misleading half-truths:

Why does Lovelace smoke a pipe?

Back when this was a punchline, not a comic, I doodled out the Avengers-type-thing pose with the rayguns (now a tshirt!).  Originally I had Lovelace with the gun cocked upwards, but that made the composition weird; I liked the pose with the raygun down but that left an awkward blank space next to her head.  So I drew in a pipe, because I don’t know about you, but when I hear ‘manic-depressive calculating machine’ I think Sherlock Holmes.

There are no photographs of Ada (there’s one you see floating around sometimes, but that’s actually her daughter, Anne… you know, the one who moved to Egypt, spoke five languages,  painted gorgeous watercolours, was the first western women to cross the northern desert, and developed the modern Arabian horse… AHAHA guys, stop being so cool, people will think I’m making this up!), so I draw her as a version of Byron (which she totally was).

What are you drawing with?

I use a 12x Cintiq and Corel Painter.  Private note to Painter:  you know, Painter, Babbage’s hand-cranked clockwork computer could adjust leading on type.  Just sayin’.

Are you going to do a book?

I understand authors either become wealthy and celebrated, or starve in boxes. I am still trying to determine into which category I would fall.

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15 Responses to “FAQ”

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  1. Marion Delgado says:

    You rule the Earth!

    Uh, now that the dinosaurs are gone, of course.

  2. I am enjoying your comic experiment greatly. Have you seen Kate Beaton’s work? She is a marvelously talented and interesting comic artist in Canada. There is much intersection in your work:

    http://www.harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=5 (The text in the green field refers to the most recent comic, not the archived pieces).

    http://beatonna.livejournal.com/78525.html (Scroll down to see the comics. I don’t know why LiveJournal puts so much white space on the page).

    Best wishes and may the experiment continue!

  3. Will says:

    Have to say, I love your work. It does remind me of a lot of the early Disney work (not 2D Goggles, the stuff posted on your regular site), especially this one animator who’s name I forget. I was a devotee of his stuff between the ages of 5 and 10. Possibly even 12. Point is, first rate comics/sketches/comedic ideas/etc. etc. :)

  4. Andrea says:

    Enjoying Lovelace and Babbage extremely, and of course, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who gets my vote for Sexiest Victorian Ever. Have you seen Drew Gardner’s “Descendents” series, which features Brunel’s great, great, great grandson? A little strange, really.


  5. Gatonegro says:

    Perhaps this is a bit too hurried but… Do you plan on ever producing a published-as-in-printed version of this webcomic? I’d gladly buy a copy!

  6. -jl- says:

    You are awesome. Your Lovelace and Babagge storys are the most genuine and most amusing pieces of illustration i saw in years. Thank you. I mean it.

  7. Alex says:

    I read about, I came, I saw, I looked and I read. I laughed, and then I laughed some more, I sniggered, tittered and hit link after link. But at the end of the adventure, I couldn’t find one link taking me to a page that said I could buy the ‘graphic’ novel, comic book, or even an original signed strip.

    I know, however, I’m about to ask a question you’ve probably been asked by every living person on the planet, but I’m going to ask it anyway: ‘will you be publishing a graphic novel and or comic book featuring Babbage and Ada in the near future?’

    Look, I have money…real honest to goodness paper money, and its burning a hole in my pocket!

  8. Epithumia says:

    I’m loving your take on Babbage, Lovelace, Brunel and their enormous computing engines. I showed one of your strips to a friend, and it was one laugh-out-loud moment after another.

    A while back I had some steampunk characters I’d created and didn’t know what to do with them, and then I thought of 2dgoggles.

    The result was this imaginary book cover from an Ada Lovelace story, which won a placing in a 3D graphics contest.


    I want to thank you for the inspiration and continuing entertainment.


  9. Pike says:

    Stumbled across this site today and I just want to point out how amusingly creepy it is that a few weeks ago I said “Ya know, somebody needs to draw a picture of Babbage and Lovelace together with rayguns.”

    So I drew it. (I also made them cats, but that’s beside the point.)

    But it appears that I have been beaten to it by somebody that can draw much better than me, so it works out.

    Seriously though. Creepy.


  10. TA Walker says:

    Having visited the Oxford steampunk expo, and returned with a copy of B and L’s Great Exhibition Of Themselves, consider me a new and enthusiastic fan…

    Here’s hoping that the same kind of folk who gave Jamie Hewlett and Peter Blegvad publishing contracts, will do the same for you soon, because I’d buy the first Babbage/Lovelace book in a flash. (Maybe you should try one of these online “pledge” sites, and publish one yourself?)

    In the meantime: great stuff, and keep them coming!

  11. Derek Beggs says:

    Marvellous site and your drawings are exquisite, love it.

    Awaiting the next issue with great anticipation.

    Derek Beggs

  12. Professor_Briar2 says:

    Amazing, stunning! And yes Ada really is the kind of woman who would enjoy smoking a pipe! I am also vaguely aware of a picture depicting a young woman graphic artist shown with her churchwarden pipe…… More crime fighting and pipe smoking please.

  13. Lynne Collis says:

    I love Ada, Babbage and Brunel. As an engineer, with godsons anda goddaughter who’re also leaning that way, I’ve just gone mad on the Brunel t-shirts.
    I’d love to see them in a book, too.

    I send an e-mail jusr now to the Guardian promoting Ada Lovelace Day and suggested they got in touch with you, too, as I thought it would be great if they celebrated Ada Lovelace day by publishing one of your camics, if you were willing to sell a licence or whatever to them. Hope you don’t mind me suggesting it!

    These are brilliant anyway – please keep ’em coming!