Back in 2013, with the help of a couple of my close friends, I got the idea to start a weekly art challenge called Mutant Mondays. In my ambition, the idea grew far greater than it should have. Mutant Mondays became housed under an umbrella entity I called, Atomukk Pizzeria. A name who's pronunciation caused as much confusion as my "mikuloctopus" moniker. Atomukk Pizzeria was to be a blog site of sorts, where I would update it with random ramblings, current events (if any), horror movie reviews and anything else I felt like talking about.
Little did I know that my eyes were bigger than my stomach in this instance. The pizzeria failed, but Mutant Mondays flourished. Every week, on Monday, I would post a new, completely original mutant character design. These designs were inspired by the 90's mutant craze forged by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Troma's The Toxic Avenger. I did not do it all myself, however. I had friends and guest artists contribute on occasion. It was amazing to see the creativity that poured into their characters. It was inspiring and a lot of fun to see others having as much fun with it as well.
We made it through the entire year of 2013, and completed almost every week. I can only think of 1 or 2 occasions where we didn't have a mutant on a Monday. The final mutant was one of my favorites because it combined the talents of three of my close friends and myself. It was a symbol of what the whole project had become. The mutant was called, The Mutrazord. A play on the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers' Megazord. And this was, unfortunately, the only full year of mutants ever completed.
Over the next few years, I tried to revive Mutant Mondays. But lacked either the motivation or creativity. I hosted the characters on Facebook, and due to Facebook's new algorithm system, the mutants were not reaching the audience they once were. Likes were not the reason for continuing, but we still wanted as many people to enjoy them as possible. And seeing the same 16 people see or like each mutant when you know over 300 are following them was a little disheartening. It wasn't fair to the up and coming artists that where hoping this project might give them a little more exposure.
That brings us to the present. 2019 saw the return of Mutant Mondays, but not in the same way. The mutants are no longer on Facebook, and are no longer associated with Atomukk Pizzeria. Instead they reside only on my personal Instagram page. Because they are only on my instagram page, I decided to not open the project to friends and other artists. I didn't want to falsely represent anyones art as my own by posting it to my instagram feed. This also made it more of a challenge to me. When I had others contributing, I was able to take breaks between creating mutants. There could be entire month long stretches where I didn't draw anything. Now I have a reason and motivation to draw every week. And with a wife, 2 kids and a full time job, that is a challenge in and of itself.
I'm excited to see where this new challenge takes me. I've already been very pleased and surprised by some of the characters I've created. There are definitely the zero hour submissions that I have to crank out so I have something ready, but sometimes even those can be gems. They are also allowing me to explore different styles and techniques without the fear of it not being right. Most of these characters are intentionally ugly, so it's ok to be a little rough around the edges.
All in all I hope Mutant Mondays proves to be a challenge that I keep around for years to come. I love having a bank of predesigned characters that I can use in stories and comics now. Hopefully one day I'll be able to make a book or trading card series of all the characters. The possibilities are as endless as the different mutant characters I can create.