PREVIOUSLY: DJINNX by J.R. LeMar and Samax Amen
As I said, I was having a blast working on Djinnx with Mr. Amen, but I wanted to stretch our creative muscles and see what else we could do together. I wanted to do another strip with him that featured another “mythical/magical/supernatural” type of character as the lead. It took me awhile to think of something, I considered a strip about an angel, or a witch, or even a superhero. But then while I happened to be scrolling through Samax’s Instagram page one day, I came across this image (which he has since deleted, for some reason):
I immediately thought, this should be the subject of our new comic-strip! And after a little bit of thought, I soon came up with a few story ideas, which I knew meant that I was on to something. Frankly, the hardest thing for me initially was coming up with a title for the strip. I eventually settled on “LIFE UNDERWATER”, just sort of by default. It’s not particularly clever, I’ll admit, but it’s about mermaids and other sea creatures who live underwater, so. . . .
I contacted Samax and told him my idea. I recall in my first email to him about this I made a couple of points. The first being that I wanted our mermaid to have a nose. He drew the one in the above image without one, which makes sense if you think about it. As a being evolved from a fish, and who breaths underwater, the mermaid would probably be more likely to have gills, instead of a nose, but I didn’t want to stray to far from what most people expect a mermaid to look like. I also said I wanted it to be clear that she would be topless, but instead of just not drawing nipples on her (technically, female mermaids probably wouldn’t even have breasts, since they’re not really “mammals”), to just always draw her hair or arms strategically covering her breasts in the strips (because these are family friendly comics). I included a script, and this is what he came back with:
The name for the main character, OSHI, just came to me immediately. I thought of it as short for “Ocean,” but it also sounded like a real name. And for the shark I chose Melville, in honor of Herman Melville, the author of Moby Dick. Melville turned out to be a particularly fun character to write. I like the idea he’s really not a bad guy, he just wants to be loved like anyone else, but he’s a Killer Shark, so he just can’t help his own nature, sometimes. And Oshi and the other characters in the strip don’t seem to hold it against him, because he is part of their eco-system. And when you live underwater, being eaten by a shark is just something that happens sometimes.
The next idea I had was basically just a visual joke. I don’t know why, but the idea of a Muslim mermaid, wearing a burqa, popped into my head, and I thought that image would be funny. But I just needed a reason to introduce such a character, so I came up with the idea of someone being set up on a blind date with her, unware of her background. So thus I came up with “Romeo,” A Black male mermaid.
I’d like to bring the Muslim mermaid back in a future strip, but haven’t come up with a story yet. But I quickly came up with more uses for Romeo. He shows up in the next strip, where I show that some mermaids like to get freaky…
I figure with 8 tentacles, an octopus could hit multiple spots on a woman’s body. How’s a regular man, or merman, with just two arms, going to compete with that?
Incidentally, I named the new mermaid, “Meegan,” after a real-life online friend of mine, a busty blonde woman who goes by the screenname “mermaidmeegan” on Snapchat. She posts a lot of erotic photos on Instagram, and for $10 a month you can see her topless pics (and occasional videos) on OnlyFans. I sent her a link to this strip when it first went live, and she was pretty happy to see that character, so I promised I’d bring her back.
But first it was time to check on good ol’ Melville again:
He can’t help himself!
I think I can get several more good stories out of Meegan and her unnamed octopus boyfriend, and their relationship troubles. So they’ll both definitely be back.
So those five strips were my initial batch which I had Samax do. I planned them specifically for the month of May, which is when many artists online participate in something called “MerMay“, a trend that began in 2016, where you draw pictures of mermaids everyday. There were five Mondays this past May, so I wanted to post a new Life Underwater strip each week.
After these five, I wanted my next collaboration with Samax to be a return to Djinnx. And then I came up with an idea that would naturally tie both strips together, similar to how I previously established that Djinnx and Boss From Hell existed in the same world. So I told Samax I wanted to go back to his original mermaid drawing, with the budding relationship between the land-dweller and the mermaid, for inspiration. And I just love how this one came out, it’s perfect because it stands on its own. Even if you’d never seen a Life Underwater strip, it’s still a funny joke for a Djinnx strip.
My favorite part is actually Djinnx’s reaction in the first panel. I think it’s funny how she, a genie, is surprised to discover that mermaids exist. And now Djinnx is connected to both Life Underwater and Boss From Hell, which means all three strips coexist. And there’s more to come. I doubt that I’ll bring the reverse-merman back after this, but you never know.
Now, I did have to put MyComicStripClub on a hiatus, while I work on some other stuff. But regular updates will resume when I can, so I hope you’ve got it bookmarked.
And, as I mentioned before, if YOU have some of your own ideas for a comic strip, but are lacking artistic abilities, you can contact Samax Amen HERE, and he’ll draw it for you!