Planet of Hats is a comic retelling of the original adventures of the starship Enterprise, as chronicled in the 1966-69 television series Star Trek.
The episodes are presented in original screening order, not production order. (This means the Stardates sometimes skip backwards.)
The strip was originally begun as a relatively small project with a definite end point (79 original series episodes). I decided to extend it to The Animated Series, and then the six original cast movies (ending with The Undiscovered Country), concluding with Generations, as told from Kirk's point of view.
This ends the initial run of Planet of Hats. I will not, in the immediate future, continue with The Next Generation and other Star Trek material. But never say never - I am not ruling out a revival some time in the more distant future.
The reason behind Planet of Hats
Planet of Hats is inspired by Shaenon Garrity's webcomic Monster of the Week, in which she gives a similar treatment to The X-Files. It was also directly inspired by Shaenon herself, when we met in San Francisco in early 2014. I mentioned that I wanted to start a new webcomic, similar to hers, but based on recapping the original series of Star Trek. She said:
"You must do this!"
I could hardly let her down, now, could I?
The other reason behind Planet of Hats
I originally announced my intention to make this comic in this post on Irregular Webcomic! (one of my other comics). To summarise:
For a long time I have wanted to be able to draw more competently. I really want to draw better. And I'm a firm believer that I can if I just get enough practice. Unlike the people who end up drawing comics or other art for a living, I never really got into the habit of doodling. Whenever I drew something, it was a deliberate effort with a specific goal in mind. I never allowed my drawing hand to just do whatever it wanted across page after page. Perhaps I paid too much attention in mathematics and science at school, when people destined to be artists were scribbling and doodling and sketching in the margins of their notebooks.
I have tried sketching in the past. Carrying around a set of pencils and a sketchbook, and taking "snapshot" sketches of the world around me. But I never managed to make it into a habit that lasted more than a few days. What you need is discipline and a love of drawing. A lot of one can make up for less of the other. I like drawing, but it wasn't enough to overcome my lack of discipline when it came to making sketches.
This is where this new comic comes in. If I give myself a schedule, with a regular deadline, I impose that discipline on myself. I know that once I have a deadline, I am the type of person who will shift mountains to meet it. If I commit to publishing a drawn comic once a week, I will publish a drawn comic once a week. The quality of the drawing may not be great to start with, but the drawing will happen. And when it happens, over time it will get better.
So if you want to know what my new comic will be about, this is what it's about: It's about improving my drawing skills.
So the artwork is... not as good as I would like at the beginning. I hope and anticipate that it will improve. That's the whole point.
Here are the drawing supplies I used on Planet of Hats, as they appear after completing the last episode. I bought one 2B pencil, which I ended up not using very much, and one HB pencil, which I used for almost all the pencil work. As you can see, I used a bit less than half the pencil, which is pretty good for over 100 strips.
The rubber was brand new when I began, and as you can see I used a good two-thirds of it. I went through about:
- 3 of the Artline 90 markers - used for colouring large areas of black,
- 6 or 7 of the Artline 700s - used for panel borders, strip titles, small areas of black, and outlining large areas of black,
- about half a dozen Artline 200 0.4 mm markers - used for character line inking and dialogue, and
- 2 or 3 Artline 220 0.2 mm markers - used for backgrounds and hatching.