I’m mad productive when I’m procrastinating.

That’s the only conclusion I can arrive at as I really should be working on the big collaboration project I’ve teased a few times now, but I just keep coming across great material and getting inspired and…well, you know how these things go.

So, lets get to the goodies and then you may read-on at your leisure for the director’s commentary on this new animation. Step right up, ladies and gentlemen and witness the newest miracle born of technology and artistry! Experience, for yourself, the wonders of the Nickelodeon!

In the second installment of Manip Musings, I outlined my keen interest in the turn of the 20th century as an era full of posibilites for mind control erotica. I think the vestiges of the Victorian age and the slow transition of the superstitious old world into the reasoned age of industry provides a fascinating backdrop for our fetish.

Apparently someone else thinks so too; or else they wouldn’t have released such an amazing photo series out into the wilderness of the intertubes for me to find.

Three nights ago I happened across a series of images starring the beautiful Nicotine and featuring some Male-on-female bondage and device torture with a steampunk twist. Now, while steampunk itself doesn’t hold great interest for me, in this case it was the absolute linchpin in bringing together this new series.

The alternate-reality nature of the source pics allowed me to get away with a certain level of technological sophistication that would be difficult to swallow in a more straightforward historical setting. Further the instant I saw the fellow in the mask and goggles, and the similar spectacles adorning Ms. Nicotine’s headwear, I suddenly saw the whole backstory in my head.

I saw her as a sleuth cut from the same cloth as Sherlock Holmes; possessing a keen analytical mind and host of knowledge and experience across science and the arts. The man I saw as a person who is under suspicion, but not a known villain. I thought the only way he could gain the upper hand against my heroine was if she underestimated him; and the only way I could explain how such a formidable thinker like her could be out-maneuvered was if this was their first encounter and her guard was down. To further explain her carelessness, I thought that her sense of culture and sophistication would preclude her from seeing this man as an intellectual threat if he were a showman; in this case a stage hypnotist and mentalist.

That was my initial burst of inspiration. Then I sat down and picked out the ten or so images I planned to use and did some minor photoshop work to remove some of Ms. Nicotine’s body piercings that didn’t quite fit the character I was developing. Ordinarily at that point I’d get to the fx work and animation but the story really wanted to be written at that point so I decided to layout all my images and start on the captions.

Strangely (for me), I actually wrote the last panel first. I had done this sepia-tinted shot of Nicotine and her Master posing together; I thought it might make a good preview image or title page or something. But the thought occurred to me that this could be an actual photograph within the world of the manip. A photo the villain commissioned to show off his loyal new thrall. But show her off to whom?

That’s when the idea for ‘The League’ first entered my mind. Obviously, this was a thinly-veiled reference to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (a far better comic series than film incidentally), and, like them, would be a united group of crime fighters in Victorian England. She would be a part of this group and the villain would send them the photo and a brief note saying something along the lines of ‘Your greatest detective is now my brainwashed slave, suck it heroes.’

Then I thought better of it and decided to have her write the note instead; now as a loyal subject of her master. It morphed into a resignation letter, a warning against further interference from the group of do-gooders, a hint of other women already being enslaved, and a bit of foreshadowing that this wouldn’t be the last time The League clashed with The Marquis DeVice.

His name, incidentally, came right from the original photo series. I liked the wordplay of the Marquis of Vice/device so much I left it in. As for the lead character’s moniker, I knew it had to be Irene Adler, the lady that bested Sherlock Holmes; though I have taken liberties with the character (none the least of which being her nationality).

One other aspect of the resignation letter is the information that The Marquis had forced the brain-smoothed Ms. Adler to become his wife. Now I did this rather instinctively at the time. Its a staple of all kinds of adventure fiction: a villainous man forcing an heiress into a union for her family’s wealth or a political figure marrying into royalty to consolidate power, etc. While I’m not especially fond of bimbo-fication stories, I think, in a sense, I was doing something similar here. I saw her as a woman of great intelligence and so in-love with her work that she didn’t waste a moment of thought on the prospect of a relationship. To take that kind of person and turn her into someone’s pet; concerned only with whatever she’s told to be; in-love now with the thought of being property; well, as Sasha Grey so succinctly observed: “Its wrong, so its hot.”

With the text for the final panel completed, I started at the beginning and slowly forged through the story-work for the remaining images. At ten panels in total, I finally had enough space to write a caption without censoring myself to severely. Having said that, I’ve got oodles of ideas for other places these characters could go. I really wish I were an illustrator at times, I’d love to have my own mc-themed comic series to explore these characters and the world they inhabit.

Until then I’m at the mercy of the photos I can locate. Though after completing this series, I really don’t have any reason to complain; I don’t think I’ve found another collection of images that lent themselves so perfectly to my purpose. After I removed the aforementioned piercings and replaced a head in one image, I only need to produce some animated effects and add a suitable pair of goggles for Ms. Adler’s conversion.

So the bulk of the work here was the writing, which I must say was just a joy to do. Finding an image set that finally allowed me an outlet for this Victorian-era mind control angle I’ve been mulling over for so long was a treat in and of itself. I found myself so inspired by the source material, and that, in turn, led to having a really great time coming up with different ideas and directions to explore. I must say, I don’t know that I’ve ever had as much fun working on a manip.

All in all, not a bad result for two day’s of work.

As always, your questions, comments, and suggestions are welcome.

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