It’s been a a busy time for making comics. Here are the latest.
So I’ve been busy trying to crank out the rest of that bar scene. And yes, page 20 is the end of it, hopefully that isn’t a spoiler for you. It shouldn’t be. I think it turned out well, and I was able to produce 3 pages in a pretty timely manner.
I worked on 18 and 19 somewhat concurrently, so I was able to finish them on back to back days. So did my zeal to finish them quickly hurt the quality? I don’t think so. Best I’ve ever drawn? Probably not, but I don’t think they’re bad either. In fact there are some things I love about them. I like how this scene was divided into a few smaller scenes at different locations in the bar in these last few pages. It adds something to the overall believability of the world, and makes the scene more exciting/less tedious.
O’Reiley and Eric’s exchange is very much in the vein of the original comic books. Some oddball comedy there. I’m happy we’ll be able to tell more of the Eternal Barkeep’s story this time around, as things were only hinted at and starting to build in the comic books. I think the actual bar area came out looking really good here.
Why whiskey sours? I don’t know. Alex wrote it. I think that is one of his drinks of choice. I’m a Jack and Coke man myself. If I’m feeling a bit more exotic I’ll get a Rum and Coke, or when I really want to sweeten things I’ll White Russian it. The dude abides. I really like the panel looking back over at Black Snow and Elephant Boy in all their stupid glory.
These 3 pages actually smack of the much maligned issue 1, as this is a very similar scene to what took place in the opening scene. I’m not sure if Alex realized that when he wrote it, since he particularly hates issue 1. This may subconsciously be part he enjoyed. Hopefully we did it better this time!
We get the true intro of the Native American superhero Jon Killingbear, who was always a bit of a bro in the original, but I think we are going to play it up even more-so this time around. We also get the re-debut of the much redesigned Lightning Lad. Originally when I first thought about the Lightning Lad character I thought of a Robin looking type. Then I came up with the more bizarre full masked rubber suited, thick goggled electricity themed look that I used. This revamp is sort of a mix of both ideas, plus some inspiration from a character I played in a short high school superhero movie. You can find it on YouTube.
I wanted a more visible face this time and to really emphasize his youth. I really wanted to make a lovable, goodhearted, naive looking little sidekick. Hopefully that comes through. I think it is an improvement that will ultimately benefit the story.
So this was the big opening bar scene (I’m sure they’ll be several more). What do I hope readers take away from it? That Black Snow and his friends are inept. They’re just some goofy clueless working-class smucks surrounded by a dangerous city. Hopefully this will become more obvious as we get to juxtapose them against more characters in other scenes.
Speaking of, a big inspiration for trying to hurry to finish the scene is that I’m really excited for the scenes to come. I think they are Alex’s best writing. I’ve always felt he was a good writer, but he definitely has some quirks that I could see how some people would dislike. I think people will find that he has made a very strong effort to improve and will see scenes, tones and pacing like we’ve never done before.
It’s easy to see when an artist improves in comics, but a much more subtle thing when a writer steps things up, so I really wanted to call some attention to it and give him props. I don’t really want to get specific as I don’t want to give anything away, but I’ll discuss it more once the scenes are done.
While I’m giving props, Mark “Rawr” Egan continues to surpass my expectations and turn each page of I’m Famous in Japan! into something great. The way Alex writes usually focuses mostly on dialogue and gives the artist a lot of freedom as to what to show visually. I find it fascinating to see what Rawr does with his writing versus what I would have done. He thinks of things in a different way and comes up with really funny stuff. I love the style.
I think it’s really impressive the way he handles the punchlines. As I’ve said before, Alex isn’t a punchline guy. He isn’t really even a comic strip guy. I think that’s part of what makes his comic strips so unique. Rawr finds a way to make these punchlines a bit more traditional while still keeping the unique spirit of the strip intact.
Lastly, you’ll notice a picture up there of a stack of 200 of our APE mini-comics. They turned out really well and I think that are going to get us some buzz at the show. We’re working on getting all the other products ready, and we have a few surprises planned. So get excited and hopefully we’ll see you there.