LANCE the DOLPHIN
I’m sure you can tell at first glance that Lance the Dolphin was not produced by either Hasbro or Mattel. Nope, this is one of my home made creations. Humor me and allow me to tell you a little bit about him…
I’ve created my own comic books for as long as I can remember. I’ve talked about it at length in other homemade toy reviews like Ollie and Tiger. One of my favorite creations was a humor strip I began in high school called Costello Island. Costello Island was about a bunch of demented animals living together on a tropical island. The book was named after my friend Robbie Costello who sat next to me in English. I originally started doodling short comic strips to entertain him. A few of the characters were even based off of his horrible designs. The comics would get passed around class and people seemed to like them so I kept making them and eventually began to take them somewhat seriously. I began writing full length stories and I upped the quality; using plain white paper and sharpie markers instead of blue pen on loose leaf. I started making photocopies of the issues and then sold them to friends for a buck. It was during my high school years that I was looking for a new regular comic shop after the shop in my hometown of Sackville closed down. There were multiple shops in the city to choose from. I went with Strange Adventures, I shop I still visit on a weekly basis. One of the things that won me over about Strange Adventures was that they let local comic book artists sell their books there. Strange didn’t even ask anything in return. They let you price them however you wanted and they gave you 100% of your profits. I only sold my books for a dollar and never made any profit but still, it was pretty cool.
Calling Costello Island “popular” is a bit of a stretch but all 20 copies I placed at the comic shop always sold. Every now and again I’d meet someone who actually knew of me because they had read the comic which was pretty cool. I kept creating new characters and after a while there were too many characters to put into one book. I decided to do a spin-off series titled Hyland Island (My last name is Hyland if you weren’t aware). I only ever completed 1 issue of Hyland Island because I realized that most of the characters were one-note jokes. The few Hyland characters I did like migrated over to Costello Island after that.
One of the one-note characters I created for Hyland Island was Lance the Dolphin who spoke in rhyme. That’s about it. I think I also gave him some weird disorder like he thought he could fly or something but really there wasn’t much to work with beyond that; and writing in rhyme was annoying. However I still like the look of Lance. All of my Costello characters were pretty simple cartoons. Most of them always appeared in the same pose so I got quite adept at whipping up drawings of them in a couple of seconds. If only it had blown up and become a pop culture phenomenon; I could’ve made a mint touring the country selling 30 second sketches.
Back when I was a teenager I attempted to make Costello Island figurines out of Fimo, which is basically plasticine that you bake until it hardens. Many of my favorite characters were too difficult to construct. Charlie the Camel for example, who was basically the star of the book, was too tall and he would have collapsed in the oven. For that reason I stuck to making small, close-to-the-ground characters. Lance lucked into getting immortalized in Fimo because of his simple body construction. I basically rolled his body out of a solid hunk of blue, slapped some balled up white eyes on him and presto! instant Lance the Dolphin figure. I like this figure because it turned out better than most of the others and it actually looks pretty close to my drawings of the character. Another one that turned out okay was the previously reviewed Chiliwac the ant.