Hide In Plain Sight

It is a common trope in movies that high-tech facilities should look, at a bare minimum, like the Cyberdyne Systems building in the Terminator franchise, and preferably more like Stark Industries.

But if you have a building like that, you might as well just hang out a sign saying “Hi! Cool stuff inside! Come in and bother us!”

You’ll notice I did not say “Commit Espionage!” This is because the actual spies, whether political or industrial, do not locate targets by driving around looking for cool buildings. I’ve worked for toy companies and comic-book-based animation companies, and both have their share of corporate espionage, but industrial spies are generally quiet hardworking types that are a pleasure to have around when they are not selling your marketing data to the competition.

No, the real problem is the general public, especially geeky types. For some reason, they believe that the inside of Mattel must look like Santa’s Workshop, and they are determined to get in and visit the elves. Worse yet are the Rabid Fanboys, who are furious that Superman is not going to be wearing his underpants on the outside of his costume in this latest iteration and are determined to storm in and Demand Justice.

(I am one of those fanboys, by the way. Dammit, Supes’ red briefs are iconic!)

So most companies that anticipate a certain following try to keep a fairly low profile.  It just makes things easier. A nice ubiquitous industrial park building, with a small sign, or perhaps just a number on the outside.

We have a bunch of them in our own area. They generally house two different types of industries: 1) Top secret aerospace technology research, and 2) Porn.

I leave it to you to imagine what kind of rabid fans each get, but they both have them. Really. And both deal with it the same way: by presenting as drab an exterior as possible to the world.

It’s not as flashy as a S.H.I.E.L.D helicarrier, but hey. All the excitement’s on the inside. At least in porn.

And in Cicertech Applied Electronics.

Bob out.

Artist’s Notes:  Industrial parks are indeed simultaneously cheerful and welcoming, as well as desolate and repulsive.  Despite the well-groomed greenery, there’s something very dystopian about it- kind of like the suburban shots in Edward Scissorhands, where you just get a sense of misery behind all the facade.  

This particular building was based off my memories of what the Foundation Imaging building looked like, a now defunct production studio where my Dad worked as a producer for a spell.  Dad would drag me along to work with him to make sure that I would do as few drugs as possible, and I would pass the time by helping to revise the production artwork, particularly the storyboards.

Before that, even as a young child, I had the good fortune to accompany my parents to many other studios, including Disney Studios, Nickelodeon, Netter, Wildstorm, Mainframe, SB, Dic, Ruby Spears, Filmation, etc etc – most likely as evidence of their ability to relate to the target audience (and therefore deserving of employment).  

The leaves being blown around in panel 1 symbolize death.  As does the rat on the first page of the last episode (it was a mouse, originally).  Lots of death in this comic.  -Max