Did some Blockhead. Made a lil' Mastermind. Co-created Madness: Project Nexus. I love you so much!

Michael Swain @The-Swain

Age 41, Male

who said that


Philadelphia, PA

Joined on 9/16/05

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The-Swain's News

Posted by The-Swain - April 25th, 2008

*UPDATE*: Click to view the image below, but with text!

The time is rapidly approaching. Yeah, it's not a question of "if". But I don't wanna rush into this without knowing what you guys think, EVEN IF YOU HAVE NO INTENTION OF GETTING ONE. I love feedback, which I have been known to cover with milk and eat from a bowl.

Shirt designs really should be aesthetically pleasing while still capturing the essence of the series. I couldn't figure any way to make the logo "cool" and keep it funny, so I ended up with this noir-ish silhouette design. It ended up much more serious than the cartoon itself, but then again, the series wouldn't work if it weren't half serious and half silly. Also, it's got Doomlaser.

I know red is an obvious choice, but what other colors would you care to see this logo on top of? The examples below are just that: examples. Nothing is final, and I'd like to figure out what the crowd favorite is first. Just remember, NO BLACK! The logo itself is only black with some white, meaning it looks best on lighter shirts, but anything too light kills the darker mood of the image.

Thanks for helping me build a better tomorrow, guys. SWAIN OUT

(p.s. I finished the majority of the script for Mastermind 4 today, which I intend to release ALONGSIDE my new game, Mastermind: World Conqueror. Then it's on to Blockhead 11, uh oh!)

Mastermind T-Shirts?

Posted by The-Swain - April 3rd, 2008

Anyone watch that (the BBC one, not the garbage American bastardized conversion)? I'm watching it now, and am completely obsessed with it. Good God, tell me I'm not alone.

And if you haven't done so yet, go watch Mastermind 3. It's the last time you're going to see me recycle those backgrounds, so go make use of them while you can. /PLUG

Oh, last question. What would you look for in a game based on the Mastermind series itself? Not a board game themed around the series like the one I've already done, but an actual game where you play the Mastermind? I've got my basics down but I'm looking for themes or general interest that can help me turn this thing in the direction the fans want. AM I NOT MERCIFUL.

Posted by The-Swain - March 20th, 2008

Ok so here's the issue, fellers'. Today I wanted to get some feedback from you guys on a few topics, namely my present and future approach to cartoons. I've always made it a point to read the reviews my audience leaves me for inspiration, motivation, and direction on my projects, but with my toons being released more slowly as I learn how to up their quality, I get that user advice less and less often.


Ok, this is for you Blockhead viewers out there. My darling little Blockhead has been around for years and years, ever since I was a wee lad of about 12 or 13, but making his cartoons is such an involved process that I've had to make all kinds of new decisions about how to portray the character. It was different when I was sketching still comics on notebook paper between classes in junior high. Since then, all these new windows for exploring the Blockhead character have kinda taken my attention away from the fundamental qualities that he had in his earlier episodes.

My problem here is that when I go back to my old cartoons to remind myself of the "oldschool" Blockhead, I sometimes confuse the poor quality of the cartoons with the character humor that I used to find funny but am now bored with because I'm too used to it. Basically, this means that it's hard to tell the difference between what parts of my cartoon sucked outright and what parts are just played out...then, when I make a new cartoon, I start to steer my characters away from what might actually be a funny theme. For example, you'll rarely see the Conscience character saying "You're stupid," or "Shut up idiot," etc., because even though he has no actual reason to stop saying it, it's a played out joke for me and I don't like reusing it, even if Blockhead's fans love it every single time.

I hope that underlines my problem for you all. I think it's an issue a lot of people have with their creative work - I was watching the BBC3 program "Mighty Boosh" the other day, and I noticed that their third season is remarkably horrible compared to their BRILLIANT second season, and for those of you who have seen the show, you'll probably agree that they recycle too many played out jokes while avoiding the elements that made the second season so funny (which is worse even than MY problem). I felt the series would have turned out much better if they'd stopped to ask their fans for a reality check.

So THAT HAVING BEEN SAID, I wanted to get a solid set of opinions from all varieties of fans, be you old or new to the Blockhead world. What are a couple things in the series that you like most about the older and newer episodes? Was it better for you when Blockhead sat around the house and was picked on by his Conscience? Do you hate the house scenes entirely? Do you care for the Weevil, or does he sneak into your dreams and creep you out at night? Do you like destructive Blockhead, mean Blockhead, crazy Blockhead, etc. the best? Give me anything you can think of that you love or hate the most about the series, and I promise I'll pay attention.

Flash Graphic Novels

Speaking of novels, I'll try to keep this section short. Now I know I've kinda asked this question before, but I want to get some solid opinions on what you guys think of the Graphic Novel scene in Flash. I'm talking about cartoons like Thamesis or Broken Saints. Even if you haven't watched them, then let me know that, because I want to have a picture in my mind of how popular they are. If you have, is there anything redeemable about them, or do you maybe look at them as intrusive elements in the Flash world? I am of the firm stance that Newgrounds is a FLASH site and not an ANIMATION site, and that what a person does with Flash is up to them so long as they're doing it to entertain people. My goal is to figure out if these graphic novel toons are succeeding.

This, by the way, is to improve my approach to Starkston Crusade, which will be more like my Blockhead Ani-comic theme than any graphic novel. But I'm not fool enough to confuse them for being completely different.


Ok, time to do some actual work now. Below is my next project, TRY TO GUESS WHAT IT IS JK ITS MASTERMIND 3.

P.S. New Racist Vampires webcomic...I guess it's Easter themed, I just dunno anymore.

Lessons from the Fans

Posted by The-Swain - March 5th, 2008

Pass-My-Flash 2 - It's a dangerous world out there, so make sure you watch it before you accidentally die or something.

I was a last-minute addition to the project, barely even an afterthought when one of the other artists bailed, but being the unquestionably awesome friend that I am, I spat in Luis's face and then said "Yeah ok sure I'm in," when he asked.

And because this is MY post, I get to mention that my part is the finale to the project. Everyone else got to enjoy seeing how the artist who followed them could recover from the strange situation they'd left the animation at, but not I...my task was to bring it back together with some kind of conclusion. Easier said than done with only 8 seconds to work with. BELOW IS A SCREENSHOT OF MA BOY LOLOLOLOLl

Didn't see the first Pass-My-Flash? I wasn't a participant (actually I threw something together for the project but it was left on the cutting room floor), but you can check it out here for background on the project series: http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/

Pass-My-Flash 2! WATCH'UM

Posted by The-Swain - February 14th, 2008

Valentines Day, eh? If you're like me, then you'd want it to take corporeal form so that you could wrap your fingers around its greasy little throat and choke the living essence out of it, and then ditch the body in a snowy meadow where it isn't discovered until next season when the ice thaws. If ever a holiday had an ego, it's this one. Thanks for everything Hallmark.

So, in anti-celebration, I've whipped up a Racist Vampires webcomic, as well as a second Blockhead Ani-Comic. FOR YOU.

For those of you who aren't keen to my made-up terminology, an Ani-comic is like a still comic with voices and intrinsic pacing (i.e. it's like animating, only unbelievably lazy). It's what I do when I've been stagnant with the content updates and have no regard for my own dignity.

Happy V-day, suckas. Don't kill anybody I wouldn't kill.

V-Day + Blockhead and RV

Posted by The-Swain - January 16th, 2008

Why not, right?

Had to shelf Racist Vampires because it was entirely too much for me right now. The same thing happened to me this time last year with a cartoon that I never finished because I got burnt out on it, and I ended up making that kind of lazy Heroes parody out of desperation to have at least one cartoon done a couple months after the Blockhead game.

So I thought I'd whip up a sequel to Mastermind. Rather than arguing with his Minions again, I figured I'd throw in a few new characters and see what happens. Below is a patsy lieutenant of the Mastermind. He hasn't got a name, and he isn't quite as evil as the Mastermind, but he'll do. FOR NOW.

Mastermind 2 Soon!

Posted by The-Swain - January 4th, 2008

UPDATE: My site is back up - Ani-Comic and RV Preview links work again!

And still I work. I keep having these 'simple' ideas that get drawn out way longer than they were supposed to. I wanted to make a short, 2-minute segment worth a couple of laughs...but try watching/listening to that same segment over and over for a month while you work on it. It goes stale pretty quickly, and saps your motivation. And by 'your', I mean 'my'.

I took a break over the holidays, so it's not fair to say that I've been working on Racist Vampires for all of December. Getting back to it now is tough though, because I see just how much I left for myself to do. There are around 8 camera angles in the same scene, with a lot of character motion during the dialogue. That's something I'm already used to with Blockhead, who lacks real eyes and thus has no other genuine way of physically expressing himself but to wave his arms around and dance about the scene. Now I'm animating full-body characters with a full range of demeanors beyond "excited" or "crazed".

I'm halfway tempted to shelf the cartoon for a few days and work on Mastermind 2.

Oh, and if you're bored, I made a Blockhead Ani-Comic in December. It's kind of like a short comic strip with sound attached. I dunno, it was an experiment.

Anyway, below is a shot of Nat and Percy. If you wanna see the first demo shot I put together of JJ expressing himself with his arms, click here. I SAID DO IT MAGGOT

Racist Vampires (cont.)

Posted by The-Swain - November 11th, 2007

Every now and then I make a new one of these weird things. And yea, I still intend to animate this cartoon some day in the near future.

I think this is one of those "figure it out yourself" strips.

Also, the RV icon looks like a metroid. SORRY

Racist Vampires

Posted by The-Swain - November 1st, 2007

New cartoon, Mastermind. Go get your protection point <3

I don't care that it's different than my normal approach, so long as it keeps you entertained. I had this idea while putting the finishing touches on my first Racist Vampires demo script, which I pray to God I can complete this month.

Hope you guys had a swell Ghostmas. Today begins the maximum possible number of days I have to wait until I have to make another Blockhead Halloween cartoon, so I couldn't be happier :D

Below, the Mastermind delivers his sinister victory speech to his minions.


Posted by The-Swain - October 24th, 2007

Blockhead will be celebrating Ghostmas tomorrow...WILL YOU?!

The cartoon runs about 3 minutes long, and yet I still managed to take three weeks to animate it. I can never figure out where exactly I am losing all this time, but I desperately miss the days when I could release 3 cartoons in a month. Granted, the quality of said cartoons was despicable. NEVERTHELESS, why does quality have to be my ultimate goal? What ever happened to just trying to entertain?

I think I really need to step up my goal of simplified character anatomy to include backgrounds and motion as well. It's the only way a one-man animation super squad like myself is ever gonna get back on track with frequent cartoon releases. What do YOU do to limit yourself, or to keep things simple but effective? Anyone got any tips for the Swain?

Oh, and does anyone recognize the background in the picture?