The K

There was a glorious two-year period when we first started doing effects that (at my wife’s request) we leased an actual warehouse space to work in. It was on a tiny, obscure, industrial block; one of those ubiquitous, nondescript garage-type places that usually house auto body shops and indoor pot farms.

We had an end unit, which was awesome, and better yet the unit next to ours was only used for storage, so we could make quite a lot of noise without disturbing anyone. We did a great deal of filming in there, and it even had a couple of small offices. So Max moved his workspace into one of the offices, and John took over another, and I had the back.

This was Unit K.

The two years we were there were like one long boys’ club. We were there day and night; music was always playing, I would work up new effects, Max would do art, John would help me or do his own thing, and on a hot summer night with the warm Santa Anas blowing and the bay door wide open and the creative juices just flowing, there was no place on Earth any of us would rather be.

So of course my wife, realizing that we were having Too Much Fun, shut it down.

Actually, to be fair, there were a number of factors. One was that we eventually did practically every effect that could be done indoors in that space, and needed to move on. Another was that the lease was up and the landlord decided to raise the rent considerably. But finally, it had been a glorious two years — almost too glorious — and it was time for all of us to leave Neverland and grow up.

So Unit K was regretfully abandoned and is now occupied by a foam rubber company. I suspect the magic is now gone. But it lives on in these pages, because Max has exactly duplicated it in this sweatshop location. Great to see it again.

Good times.

— Bob out.

Artist’s Notes:  So, yes, this the infamous Unit K these thugs are about to plow into. Not only Unit K is brought back, but also the street and driveway leading to Unit K.  The “hard left” depicted above is the same left I would make – a very dangerous maneuver as well, since it served as the sole entrance/exit into the parking lot on our side, and often enough you would damn near almost crash into a pickup that would be exiting at high speed, blocking your path, and depending on who’s testicles were bigger, you or he would have to reverse out so the other could pass.  

So this place was dangerous before you even entered it.  Every day was an adventure.  Every day something blew up.  I don’t think I can mention the really cool stuff. 

But here’s a classic Unit K anecdote I tell my friends:

“Sometime in 2006. I was drawing in my office area, near the front.  My office was small with a futon, looked like a college dorm.  Comics everywhere, half-empy forties, old clothes.  Stacks of drawings, CDs, DVDs, Playstation 2 games.  Just a big fuckin mess everywhere.  No point in trying to make things look nice.  No girls would ever, ever come into that place.  So I’m drawing on my old wacom, headphones on, zoning out to the music, totally in my own world.  And then WHOOMP!!!  The whole building shakes.  Something BIG has exploded and I’ve heard a lot of my Dad’s explosions; this was the biggest so far.  I jump from my seat and make my way to the back to survey the damage.  I swear I can hear screaming.  I open the door to the back area and I’m hit in the face with a wall of smoke.  Cough cough!  I can’t see ANYTHING.  I feel around in the blindness for whatever remains of my father and brother.  As I make my way in I can hear them more clearly and they aren’t screaming, they’re laughing.  In the blindness, Dad and I collide, as he was rushing my way to show me the incredible footage of the explosion.  ‘You gotta check this out!!’  he squeals as he hits the playback button on our old Sony DVCAM.  My brother has opened the garage door and now the smoke has begun to spill out into the parking lot and we can see and breathe again.”

That kind of scenario happened hundreds of times at Unit K.  Every morning, I thought, “Today’s the day.  Today’s the day the cops show up and shut us down and throw us in jail.”  

But that never happened.  -Max