Bloop creator Steve Conley on how the little, green space monkey came to be…
Bloop had his beginnings in my series Astounding Space Thrills. I ended the first issue with a joke about the hero of that series, Argosy Smith, needing to find a space monkey.
That was it.
In issue #2 of AST, Bloop looked much more like a a real monkey with antennae. I even toyed with the idea that his tail might have rings around it – like Saturn.
Although he figured prominently in a few Astounding Space Thrills adventures, Bloop was mostly comic relief and was something fun to put in the background.
That was until until 2000 when Bloop took center stage with the launch of Bloop.tv. I had some success syndicating (“tooncasting”) AST comic strips to web sites (this was before the days of YouTube and before the “share” or “embed” tags appeared everywhere) and I figured that animation would fare even better since it’s a more passive medium than comics. The animation featured Bloop because, well, animating humans is hard. I had very limited animation experience and the webisodes turned out pretty great given the limitations of software and bandwidth at the time. It was pretty in a lot of ways and not just in how it was animated. The second webisode had one of the Internet’s first pre-roll ads ever embedded in it.
I struck a deal with a few large dot-com media sites to syndicate these Bloop to their sites. Everything looked great and then the dot-com bubble burst and the main syndicating partners closed up shop or significantly scaled back. Only two webisodes had been finished.
Since then, Bloop has appeared in a few other places including as the mascot for the Baltimore Comic-Con for a few years and in a free convention comic I distributed in 2004. He also appeared in a short, full-color story in the 2004 Free Comic Book Day Amelia Rules comic book.
I’ve never sought work in the comics field, but have been approached occasionally by editors to work on their books. I’ve worked on STAR TREK: YEAR FOUR for IDW, Michael Chabon’s Amazing Adventures of the Escapist for Dark Horse Comics and even writing Aquaman for DC Comics. I’ve never stopped working on my own creations. In 2007, I launched SOCKS AND BARNEY a semi-political comic strip starring Bill Clinton’s cat Socks and George W. Bush’s dog Barney.And I’ve been developing a few other projects as well.
During all that time – I kept returning to Bloop. I think his story is everything I want out of a comic: fun characters, unexpected plot twists, action, drama and silliness.
And I think I’m finally ready to draw it.