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Chris Burnham’s 24-Hour Comic Pits Mecha-Moongoose vs. Super-Snake [Full Comic]

I’ve been a fan of Chris Burnham ever since I saw his art in “Nixon’s Pals,” a graphic novel he did with Joe Casey a few years back. More recently, he and Casey put out the equally awesome “Officer Downe,” and while both of those are full of insanely huge (and hugely insane) ideas and phenomenal art, they’ve been completely dethroned as my favorite thing Burnham has ever done.

Because this year for 24 Hour Comics Day, he has gifted the world with Snake Punch! Catch the entire full story after the jump, and as you read, keep an eye on the lower right-hand corner, where Burnham timestamped each page as he finished. And then get supremely jealous of just how good it all is.

For those of you who don’t know, 24 Hour Comics Day is a yearly event originally conceived by Scott McCloud in which comics creators — writers and artists — challenge themselves to create an entire 24 page story in one day. This year’s was last Saturday, and even if it hadn’t been done on the tightest deadline in comics, Burnham’s entry and its story of a super-snake charmer, a bank robbery, the deliciousness of orphans and the destruction of the moon would easily be the most impressive I’ve ever seen.

Done with an astonishing hour and 42 minutes to spare. Here’s what Burnham had to say about this one:

Let’s see…. what can I say about this thing…

I always make up my 24-Hour Comics on the fly. I only had the bare bones idea for it about an hour before I started. Since this was my third go at doing one, the phrase “Third Time’s the Charm” popped into my head, which immediately made me think of a super snake charmer. My initial idea was to have the guy’s stomach actually be a clay pot, but I couldn’t figure out how to make it work visually. So I went with the bellybutton idea instead, which has the bonus of being a little more visually disturbing.

I really have to thank my 24-Hour compatriots for their valuable feedback and advice. I think Gabe Bautista was the one who suggested the Rio de Janeiro Jesus monument when I was looking for a South American landmark… I honestly didn’t even notice that it perfectly dovetailed with the Dodecahedron’s creepy comment about “Remember what we did with Jesus” until 3 or 4 pages later. I had to go in and edit the artwork to remove Jesus’ head and replace it with the Dodecahedron after the fact. I was actually going to leave the Dodecahedron thing alone entirely until Sean Dove had a weird idea about it actually being a giant D&D 12-sided die rolling across the landscape. Almost the instant he mentioned it was when the ending really clicked into place and I went back to edit the Jesus drawing… the devilish look on the Charmer’s face on page 13 is a portrait of me devilishly realizing that this thing was totally going to work! I think Chris Neseman and Luke Smarto played a part in convincing me that a robot mongoose was awesomely stupid rather than stupidly stupid. I can’t remember whose idea it was to have it be a MOONgoose. Puns are funny.

And seeing the insane work that Mike Norton and Ryan Browne and Ben Goodman and many many others were doing was pretty inspiring. I can’t see being able to do one of these things alone. And HUGE thanks to Challengers Comics & Conversation for hosting the event. Hey, Pat & Dal!

Getting back to the story, my initial instinct was to have the moon immediately crack open on page 8… but I realized that in upping the stakes that early in the game there would be a good chance for this thing to go off the rails entirely. So I backed off a bit and tried to slowly build up to that big ridiculous reveal. Another thing I’ve realized is that it’s a favorite writing trick of mine to turn a plot hole into a plot point. After I’d decided that The Charmer should combine all the snakes in the world into a giant Super Snake, it occurred to me that snakes are deaf (is this actually true or just a wives’ tale? Only Internet knows for sure) and the Global Broadcast System wouldn’t actually work. Rather than ignore the problem, I embraced it and somehow managed to come up with the line “Loud enough to wake the deaf.” Puns will always save the day.

And yes, I realize that The Charmer is totally a ripoff of the Cat Masters from “King City.” Steal from the best, right?

For more of Burnham’s awesome artwork, check out his website and his page at Ten Ton Studios!

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