How to make a guest comic strip

So you've decided to make a guest comic strip. Excellent idea indeed, but we're left with the question as to how.

Is it sometime after the year 2000? Do you own a computer? Then you're in luck, your computer has whatcha need. Find the default image editing program, likely having 'Paint' in the name. Found it? There ya go, you're set.

But with that out of the way, we're left with the creation of the guest strip:

Step 1: Obtaining the sprites.
Dude, I gotta tell ya. I've tried linking to sprite resources, but those pages seem to come and go every few years. Rather than have half my links being broken or going to adware pages over time, I'll just tell you to Google sprite sheet collection, followed by whatever game you're thinking of sprites for. Also, a simple Zebeth sprite sheet can be found here (also in original .gif format)!

Step 2: Creating the setup.
By setup I'm refering to how you want the comic strip to look. The default setup that I personally use is over here. It's basically comprised of four frames. If you wish for more or less, I'd suggest doubling the height of the image (and add 3 pixels for that grey bar down the center), pasting the blank strip over the bottom half, and go from there. You can even drop the rightmost frames if you only want 6 frames. It's a layout of a comic, basically how many frames do you need to tell your thing.

Step 3: Designing the strip.
Excellent. Now that we've gotten the layout and the sprites, it's time to smash them together. Now, the ideas are basically up to you, though there's about 3 points that I stand by for guest comics. Y'know, do your own thing, but these are points that I personally adhere to:
Point 1: Try to avoid the toilet-humour. Generally, I don't care how good it looks... it the humour is stupid... just no. That said, toilet humour has a time and place, but it's meant to be used sparingly, at the paradoxically appropriately inappropriate times.
Point 2: Have it somewhat make sense. I shouldn't be confused as to what's happening. Does the idea travel from one frame to the next? Awesome, good start. Where's the characters? If they're moving, move 'em, if they're not, they should be in the same place. You might have to zoom in a lot to line it up nicely.
Point 3: No mocking/defaming/killing/etc. Kabutroid! And preferably not much talking for her. I've allowed this on only several occasions (Cyrus/Figaro) because it's not a direct crack at me, and they do an EXCELLENT job making strips. Otherwise... generally no. Or at least ask first. I'm actually quite pleasant, despite the stern exterior. But if you want to make a good sprite comic, you must be militant with yourself. Every pixel counts!

But other than those points, the rest is up to you. All that's left is making it look good. Here's a few rules of thumb that I generally try to go by.

Rule 1: Allow equal blank space. By this, I mean try not to stuff too many characters/items on one side of the frame, leaving the rest of it empty.
Rule 2: Word bubbles go top to bottom, left to right, at least for this language. That way we at least have an idea as to what to read first. And give enough white-space in the word bubbles around the letters to not have the letters connect with the background in any way.
Rule 3: Add a floor! Don't just stand people at the bottom of the frame! Give them something to stand on. And have them stand ON the floor... not slightly above it. Or indented INTO it, just... UGH. C'mon, take some pride in your work. This is a labour of love here.
Rule 4: Don't mix different Metroid game generations unless it's actually part of the humour. If you mix them for no reason whatsoever... it just looks bad, I dunno man. Modify the sprite if you must, but just make it look good.
Rule 5: Check all of the strips on this site to see if the idea has already been done. Aaaaall of them. If it's somewhat different, that's not too bad. If you're not sure, just lemme know the idea and I'll give you a thumbs up or thumbs down.
Rule 6: Use an appropriate font/font size. Generally, Arial with bold is good, and no smaller than size 9 for what people say seems to work. Sound effects can go to size 7 regular, but it's aesthetics really. 7 is still readable tho. And if you use italics, use a good font that's easy to read. If you have to squint to read it, redo it.
Rule 7: Use correct punctuation. Unless it's for a specific reason, no l33t-speak. Use periods, commas, semi-colons, quotes, dashes, capitals and the like correctly. It annoys me to no end when there's no capital letters or periods. If you catch one in my comic, lemme know, and I'll see if I get around to fixing it. But no, seriously, I'd appreciate it if you could tell me :).
Rule 8: PLAY THE GAME! I can't stress this one enough. Know what things generally do, and how the Metroid universe works in general. Don't have Samus shooting enemies from her gun (I've seen this lots), or use Rinkas as explosions or anything. Know what's what. If you're not sure, it's probably just best to >watch it yourself.

Step 4: Final touches.
Well, now that you've got the strip made, it's time to give it a once-over. Read it entirely over and check for spelling mistakes. If you're not sure, type it in Notepad++ or something and correct the wavey-underlined words before pasting it into the comic. Also check for any colour differences frame to frame, covering up of pieces of other characters when copying/pasting, or random dots or something from accidentally clicking somewhere with a different colour. And if you're using lines to depict movement, make the lines curved or straight accordingly. Don't just use the pencil tool. And go with appropriate thickness. More/thicker lines indicate faster movement.

Step 5: Completion!
Well, you've got the strip made, looked over, and saved (preferably as .png, or whatever preserves the colours and pixels). It's time to post it! If you want me to see it, best way is probably to head to my Discord or Facebook page and post it there. You can email me too, but it might be a day or so before I see it or respond... pretty rare to see email used outside an office setting, really. And as a final note... compare your strip in general to those in Planet Zebeth, Subsector Hiroshi, and/or the Bonus section. If you're about on-par with that, you're on-par in general. Post it to your heart's content, and revel in having learned a new skill today!

As an alternative to this however, you can check out the H A L L _ O F _ S H A M E . If your comic reminds you of any of these... this is probably not the right direction to go when making sprite comics. And yes, I am aware that most, if not all of these were sent as a deliberate attempt to be put into here. That's fine, sometimes, a dumpster fire is something to be admired, and these are the most admirable. Enjoy!

And failing all that, I give you the greatest of the worst... so bad, it's actually awesome... TEEN ZEBETH SQUAD!

When in doubt, sleep on it. You can always get back to it later. Just don't forget about it.

And with that, thus concludes the lesson of how to make a guest comic strip. Use this knowledge wisely, young pixelshifter.

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