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About Mostly Harmful

Mostly Harmful is actually an old comic. It dates back in 2003, when I was planning to abandon vector characters in my The ICCL comic. I realized I couldn't just start drawing the new hand drawn characters and expect them to be superior to the long tweaked vector characers I had, so I came up with another comic, mostly made of the reject parts of the ICCL. This comic was the original "Mostly Harmful". About 5 strips were ever scripted and 2 were drawn.

Soon after drawing the first "Mostly Harmful" strips, several readers contacted me objecting the idea. Many said that the stiff looking vector characters made the ICCL what it is. At first I was rather frustrated about being asked to abandon the idea I had so eagerly been working on, but looking at the situation more objectively I realized the readers were correct. The vector characters are the thing what makes ICCL's graphical look rather unique. So, Mostly Harmful was buried before it had even began.

Fast forward 4 and half years. I got myself probably the most uninspiring job in the galaxy. I'm washing and delivering cleaning towels and mops to the cleaners of a rather large cleaning corporation. Most of my days consisted of putting the laundry in a gigantic washing machine, then waiting an hour, stuffing the now clean laundry into a dryer and putting another set of laundry into the washing machine. 5 minutes of work, 55 minutes of sitting and drinking coffee. Yay!

The ICCL had been going on all these years. There were hiatuses, hardware failures and other major events in my life, but the ICCL had survived. The one thing that REALLY annoyed me in my job was that I had to be there at the office. If I had my graphics workstation there, I could have made about 2 to 3 strips of the ICCL a day with all that spare time to kill around there. So at first I read every god damn book I found in the office. Then all the magazines. The corporal propaganda leaflets. All the fine print in everything I could find. Then I realized I'd lose it if I didn't find something to channel all this frustration into.

I picked up a piece of paper and a pen. Wow, suddenly I realized I had lots of one strip ideas that just didn't fit anywhere in the ICCL. I started to draw them on every piece of paper I could find. The strips varied from completely hand drawn to modified or re-captioned newspaper articles and ads. People found them, some actually kept the strips, some laughed and commented I should become a cartoonist. I didn't bother telling them I already was.

Eventually the job went sour, and walking out the office for the last time I picked up every piece of my drawings I could find. At home I realized this was pretty much the same kind of material that the 2003 Mostly Harmful had been. The only difference was, that the original Mostly Harmful had the ICCL characters, and the new drawings were just pretty much whatever I had had in mind when I drew them. But then again, this wasn't about the ICCL any more.

It was the November 2007 when I made the decision to resurrect Mostly Harmful. I'd re-draw the original two strips and incorporate the existing scripts to the new ideas. And for those who are curious about the original strips, the re-made versions are "Pro-masturbation" and "No pants".

This web released version however differs from the paper version in that I left out all the modified newspaper ads and such. Instead, I use photographs and 3D renderings in the same spirit. From the strip #15 on, I began to redraw also the ones that had been originally drawn on copier paper. The characters now look like the ones in the very last strips I did at work, and I like this style better.

Oh, and this comic IS NOT autobiographical.

Mostly Harmful VS The ICCL

Mostly Harmful's relation to the ICCL seems to be the biggest misunderstanding of the ICCL fans. First: The ICCL isn't going to be replaced by Mostly Harmful. The ICCL was designed as a finite comic. It means it has one big 45 chapter story line and when the last chapter is reached, the comic ends.

The second misunderstanding is that Mostly Harmful takes the time away to draw new ICCL strips. It does not. I draw Mostly Harmful strips in my sketch book when I'm away from home. The coloring and background rendering time is pretty marginal when compared to the actual drawing time. Mostly Harmful however has some unique 3D background scenes, but most of them do appear also in the ICCL, so the comics actually benefit eachother.

Who's doing this?

The Author Hey, I'm A. Sovijärvi, the one to blame for this comic. I'm an Unix system administrator by profession, but most of my interests and hobbies include non-nerdy stuff like writing prose, restoring (and playing!) old mechanical coin ops and traveling around, looking for food for thought.

I've been interested in comics for a long time, but lacking the graphical skills I really got into drawing as late as in 2002 with my first serious large project, The ICCL. Not counting random projects, there is only one other attempt at 'real' comics, The Car Bomb, released in the class magazine in elementary school days. The Car Bomb ran for about 200 strips.

I'm a huge fan of irony/sarcasm/black humor, which reflects on most of my scripted work. I don't believe in black and white heroes and most of righteous stories make me feel sick. I always tend to say, that my world isn't black and white, it's more like 256 shades of grey.

Thanks for reading and enjoy Mostly Harmful :)