an .info Magazine comic strip, circa 1989-91 (?)
An Amiga memoir from artist Greg Conley...
In the transition between the 80s and 90s, after graduating college 10 years later than anticipated, I had acquired a strong interest in computer graphics. This started in the late 70s with visits to my brother-in-law's house. I worshipped his TRS-80. You could make things happen visually by learning a language....cool.
I bought a Commodore Vic-20 and learned a little coding and almost published a game or two. I moved through to a Commodore 64 and learned paint programs and music sequencing. I also ran a BBS called Chiller Theater that featured flamers and hackers and pirates and an online game called Empire.
Then around 1986 I saw a game called Defender of the Crown on a new Commodore Amiga during a basement swap-meet. A machine ahead of it's time graphically and functionally, I fell in love with it—and continued all my interests at a higher speed and resolution. It had the funkiest damn operating system though.
Meanwhile, a year or so later and I'm a fine art graduate working at Tradin' Times designing display ads for cars on original and Macintosh Plus computers, drawing and painting, being a family man, and "wasting" my time on computers at home.
In 1988, a magazine called ".info" held a cartoon contest. I won. Cool.
What developed over the next couple years was the Bryce Amiga-specific comic strip. Mark R. Brown provided direction, writing and continuity, and I provided 6 - Panel (320 x 200 pixels each) full color cartoons and added my own "twist" and visual puns. I even wrote a couple of the last few strips. The magazine was the first to be totally published on the Amiga.
The drawing software of choice was Electronic Arts Deluxe Paint II, III, and IV. I took a direct approach. The panels were first "penciled" in a light blue as the basic design of each was established. I then "inked" each panel in black using the "penciling" as a basic template, adding refinements as I went with the handy-dandy selection of line and curve tools.
Then I protected the black (jagged) line (ink) work with a "mask" and wiped the background clean. From there it was just fun acting as a "colorist" with a limited palette of 256 colors.
It was sad to see PCs catch up to Amigas in capability and start to match what the Mac could do. It was fun while it lasted, and added a few bucks towards the growing family table.
This is what I've managed to salvage of the Bryce strip. They came from some last minute Amiga to DOS saves as I was turning to PC format a long time ago. Seeing them now, they look so small, but then again my memories are shrinking a bit too.
My Commodore Amiga 500 sits in the attic with my Commodore Vic-20, both still work. I think. Sorta.
—Gregory Conley, 2005
*2015 update - I still have these images and memories :)
.info magazine's BRYCE commodore amiga comic strip
© Copyright Greg Conley, Mark R. Brown