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If this were real life, this would be a handshake. Unless we were new in-laws, in which case it'd probably be more along the lines of an awkward hug.

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I recently ran into a friend while walking in the Campus Center. She had her boyfriend with her, whom I hadn't met before. I guess the proper thing to do in situations like that is make introductions.

"You draw a comic for the paper, right?" he asked me.

"Uh, yeah," I said.

"I think I should tell you, it sometimes does not make sense," he said.

"Oh, thanks," I replied. "Hey, I think I'll go drink some Draino now."

That comment was based on the strip I've been doing this semester for the UMass Daily Collegian, Robots and Spacemen. I started it as a side project so I could experiment with different styles of art and humor. It's taken us a while to get set up here on the web, though, so it looks like R+S might end up being less of a side project and more of an introduction to making comic strips (and how they oh-so-effectively devour your life, week by week). That's fine by me. I learned a lot. Like, I hate lettering. It's a good thing we letter CXM in Photoshop; if I had to letter every one by hand, you'd be seeing a lot of strips about mimes and quiet library scenes before long.

So, what are we doing here? Simple: online comics like Penny Arcade, PVP, Sinfest, and others inspired us. At first we planned on focusing on strips based on actual events in our lives, but before long we started writing about Hong Kong action stars and our not-so-repressed homicidal impulses. Over the summer, we spent long hours in Tony's attic bedroom -- a.k.a. The Tonycave -- arguing over slight wording changes in strip scripts, trying to get cable modems to work, reading Alan Moore's Watchmen, and watching MTV's Undressed (I mean, they did that, I made fun of them ... right). It was a good scene -- an instant superfine scene, you might even say. I know I would.

So, what am I specifically doing here, writing this? Simple: I have a lot to say. There's a lot of people on the internet who share my interests. If I make you want to say stuff about comic books, anime, movies, and whatever else as much as I want to say stuff, it would make me giggle like a schoolgirl. If I can get some discussion drummed up in our Forums, so much the better. So expect me to say stuff about comic books, anime, movies, and whatever else, when I have a chance to write in this space. And expect me to reply to emails if you have a response. We started this online comic to have some fun, and I aims to have me some fun.

And just in case you were curious, here are some tidbits on the fellas making and appearing in this comic:

Dan is tall. Taller than Tony, even, who used to be short, but is now tall. But I am bitter because I am not tall, so I draw all of us as having pretty much the same height and build. Dan and I have been walking the fine line between English geeks and computer geeks together for years. We "edited" (I use the term loosely, because we mostly just made dumb jokes and played computer games) an online sci-fi/fantasy fiction magazine during high school. Before we quit producing it, Dan was an English major doing all the computer stuff for the page, and I was a Computer Science major doing all the editing. That was odd. These days, when he's not at Cornell, he drives me around a whole lot, which is pretty cool. Dan is a nice guy.

Tony is kinda tall, I guess. I have trouble drawing his hair because I can't tell if I should draw it almost completely shaved or only a little short, or even kinda longish and blue. Thank goodness Kai doesthe coloring, so I don't have to deal with such mind-boggling issues. Tony attends UMass, like myself, but he lives in the area of campus that has frequent riots, and he hasn't come to his senses and quit Computer Science yet. He convinced several of his friends that he broke his ankle by borrowing a skateboard from a local kid and attempting to execute a 540 nosebone. Tony's friends play too much Tony Hawk Pro Skater. Tony is a nice guy too, but don't tell him I told you.

Kai is about my height, so I like him. My father often says that Kai is "cooked." I think he comes from a family of eccentric geniuses: one of his brothers is an incredible artist, one is an incredible musician, and Kai is overflowing with a strange cornucopia of skills. I am impressed by his electronic music (especially the song that sounds like it was written for a Mega Man game), his web design skills (he did the design for mine and Dan's e-zine page, as well as this page), his sense of humor (you should see the prank email he sent to the people in his office, about him being a pirate), and his wardrobe (few people can pull something like that off). Kai is a nice guy, but you'll probably hate him out of jealousy anyway because he's at video game college and you're not.

And I'm Jason. I started as an undergrad in Computer Science at UMass Amherst, but I came to my senses and now I study English. And yes, the rumors are true: my second major is a self-designed program with a concentration in "Fiction and Mythology" (with plenty of fantasy, sci-fi, and writing), for what I like to call a "holistically geeky" education. I guess I consider myself more of a writer than an artist, but then again, I also consider myself more of a lover than a fighter, and I'm a single guy taking karate lessons. Go figure.

I hope you like the comic. It'd be nice if you liked reading our random babble too, but I won't push it. Perhaps someday we'll even cross paths, and you'll ask me if I draw an online comic, and you'll tell me, "It sometimes does not make sense ... but usually it's pretty funny." I think I could live with that.

All text and images 2000 by Jason, Kai, Dan, Tony, and Mecha Gaijin. He WILL kick your ass. Instant superfine!
All characters are ™ & © their respective owners. All Rights Reserved. Some Comics Ex Machina (CXM) strips are satirical in nature, and are not intended maliciously. CXM has invented all names and situations in its strips, except in cases when public figures are being satirized. Any other use of real names is accidental and coincidental, or used as a fictional depiction or personality parody. CXM makes no representation as to the truth or accuracy of the preceding information.