There are probably some regulars who would make for better part timers than Olivia. Sydney’s only known her since yesterday. Her half brother slash cousin (their dad made it with their twin sister moms for those of you haven’t been here since the beginning) would count as a regular but he wouldn’t be a good choice as she’d be flustered around him all the time. Honestly Sydney may be thinking of hiring Olivia just to ensure her conversion to the comic side.
Harem makes a pretty good supplemental communication system considering she can’t be disrupted or interfered with, at least as far as anyone up to and including Dabbler knows. You can even just tap on one of them to use morse code. She’d probably find that annoying though.
BTW, assume the picture in panel five has been up for a few hours to accrue that many notes. That’s “Vogue” in the picture. Before that Harem was Vogue she was “Cowgirl” and she decided to go retro today. Her closet is probably pretty big. I wouldn’t be surprised if it had multiple stories. (Her shirt says “Luck out with your duck out.” It’s her favorite selfie shirt.)
It’s a little odd that Sydney agrees that “boy stuff” is dumb considering she’s a bit of a tomboy herself. I assume she’s thinking of stuff like talking about sports or cars or which actress they’d “do.” Sydney’s knowledge of sports talk starts and ends with “Did you see that ludicrous display last night?”
I almost had Olivia comment that she’d seen The Watchmen movie and was confused by it because even though it was a comic book movie, the only guy with obvious super powers was “the blue guy” and everyone else playing superhero just seemed like sociopaths in masks. That was kind of my reaction to the movie since I had never read The Watchmen before. I wasn’t confused by it mind you, I just think Moore was telling a story about people, not superheroes, and that most people are assholes no matter what they call themselves. Really the only character in that movie I identified with was Manhattan, cause he looked around the world and was was like “Welp, humans suck, I’m out.” The thing that did confuse me was that none of the people in costume had any powers, at least not in the movie, maybe except Ozymandias who could catch a bullet. I don’t recall how often, if at all, the word superhero was used in the movie (again, haven’t read the book) so maybe it’s my fault for thinking since the source material was a comic and there’s definitely one guy with powers, therefor anyone in a costume is a superhero/villain. They were vigilantes at best, and The Comedian was a straight up psychopath.
I decided to cut mention of the movie because it’s obviously a huge tangent that could go on for many pages. Still, dialog like that is fun to write, and especially if it’s a bunch of superheroes sitting around talking about superhero movies it seems extra appropriate for this comic, so maybe I’ll use it to lead in to another scene some day.
The book Olivia is holding is Sunstone, by Stjepan Šejić (no idea how to pronounce that). I hate to even mention 50 Shades of Grey in the same breath as this book, but the easiest way to describe it is “50 Shades of Gray, only not sucky BDSM Twighlight fanfic with all the vampires edited out.” That is to say it’s about two women that end up in a consensual bondagey Dom/Sub relationship with fantastic art and great writing and characters. So really except for the bondage element they’re nothing alike. Yeah forget I mentioned 50 SoG. A side note on Stjepan, if anyone is more prolific than Fred Perry, its him. In addition to being a professional comic artist who’s worked for Image, Marvel and others, he has two Deviant Art accounts, both of which are updated frequently. One is under the name Shiniez which is mostly NSFW, and you can find the entirety of Sunstone published there. (Obviously pick up the book to support him if you like what you see.) The other one is Nebezial where he posts other comic work and lots of funny vignettes about mostly DC characters but he draws everyone.
Yet another page where someone is weirdly cool discovering they know a person with super powers. For some reason my instinct was to move the dialog forward and not spend any time on the “OMG” factor, which is often the funnest part of a lot of superhero stories. I may revise an upcoming page to make Olivia a little more excited about it, though I’m fairly confident she’ll be the last person Sydney meets today who doesn’t already know about her powers and the events from the prior day.
I think I’ve decided that women just don’t carry purses in this universe. I forgot to give Olivia one on this page, after remembering several times during the drawing process that I should give her one, but the forgetting won out over the remembering. Honestly though I’d probably forget it on every subsequent panel anyway. It does make me wonder where Olivia keeps anything though, as she’s wearing yoga pants and a fairly tight… shoulder hole thumb hole shirt. I’m sure there’s an actual name for that. The lexicon of women’s fashion is enormous. Let’s call it a long sleeve tank top? With thumbholes? She might have her phone strapped to her arm under the sleeve like a jogger, and maybe a credit card and driver’s license jammed in under that, or she could be one of those women that carries stuff in her bra. A credit card or a few folded bills I get, but when I see a woman stick her phone down the front of her shirt I start thinking about greasy, sweaty phone screens and want to attack her with Windex. None of this helps us figure out where Olivia is keeping her keys. Certainly not down her bra. Anyone who does that isn’t allowed to complain about an underwire poking them. You might as well stick “that darn pointy sea urchin” or “a handful of razor sharp peanut brittle” down there.
Wasn’t quite sure how to end this page. The point of it was simply to reintroduce Olivia, other than that I wasn’t really sure what to do with it. Originally the page ended with Olivia realizing she just said she gets all her news from the Daily Show in front of a gaggle (herd? school? murder?) of “real” reporters, then she turns and says “Sorry but…” and did some mini rant about how 24 hour news networks suck, which I personally think they do, but that may be because I watch the Daily Show and they spend a fair amount of time skewering them. Well, I watch it on and off. Depressing news is still depressing even if you’re making fun of it. I had to stop watching John Oliver’s show for the same reason. All I can think after watching Oliver do 15 minutes on (insert organization here) is how scummy and crappy and greedy and selfish and short sighted people are – So instead I ended the page on a ratings gag! Ha cha cha! I’m sure there are plenty of twenty somethings that watch the news, but I imagine it’s their weakest demographic. I’m not much of a newshound myself, but I usually have a tab open to tweetdeck, and if something important enough happens it’ll show up there faster than the shockwaves of an earthquake.
I’ll try and be around and catch comments today (Monday) but I’m having my whole house recarpeted so I may be a little distracted. I’m not looking forward to disassembling my office. It should be nice though, the stuff we’re putting in is so plush compared to the old carpet that I may have to plane the bottom of my doors so they fit.
New comic day (Wednesday, for those of you unaware) is the one day they’re usually both there all day. It’s the only day they get enough traffic to justify it. Otherwise one of them opens, the overlap in the middle, and the other closes. I imagine when they started the shop they had one or two part timers, but eventually couldn’t justify the salary. That’s probably not a problem anymore though. At some point Sydney’s going to have to go over her new schedule with Joel and not surprise him with each new foible.
Sydney’s obviously really asking how many times has Spider-Man saved the world, because the answer to “How many times over would the world have been destroyed” is really just one. Once it’s destroyed the first time, you’re kinda done. I guess like most things though, “destroyed” exists on a spectrum, so you could destroy the Earth slightly more each time. First time, all life is destroyed, second time, lava replaces the oceans, continents sink in to them, third time, the Earth is blown into a new asteroid belt, fourth time the asteroids get sucked into a black hole. You’d have to coordinate though. If the black hole guy showed up first, the lava-continent guy’s going to get pissed. It’s okay though, the power to summon black holes is nothing compared to Spidey’s ability to hang bad guys upside down outside of the police station from a street light.
ComicMIX is doing their annual webcomic tournament again. I don’t want to pester you guys with it like in previous years so I’ll just mention it here once and probably a few times on twitter as the tourney goes on.
The logical continuation from the previous page. Is it just me or is Robin’s outfit (which Joel is wearing a near-miss version of) basically the most humiliating superhero outfit ever? Sure there are intentional spoof costumes that are worse, but it’s tough to get past the green scale-mail speedos and the bare legs. Yes, all the modern variants have leggings included, that’s not what I’m talking about. Those leggings are there for a reason nowadays.
I found a webcomic I rather enjoyed, in that I read through the whole thing in two sittings despite needing to get on with the drawing, which I haven’t done recently. It’s different than Grrl Power in a few significant ways so I wasn’t sure about recommending it, but I figure the audience here is big enough that there are sure to be a few people who will appreciate it. The humor isn’t as zany and there are some more serious themes and it even has emotions besides “wacky” and “punch.” Anyway, it’s called Think Before You Think, and it’s about a girl who meets a guy with telepathy. (That doesn’t spoil anything, he’s enormously bad at hiding it. Also, you know, the title.) Obviously that premise could go a lot of routes, fortunately the comic plays it for laughs for the most part. Try not to take down the site you animals.
It would seem that the store might experience a slight uptick in sales in the foreseeable future. This is just the early bird reporters too. (ooh I forgot to draw the people looming outside.) Given the store’s previous history and sales records, it’s possible their inventory will be depleted by the weekend if not sooner.
Not a whole lot else to say about this page really. Oh, the poster on the wall behind Sydney is for the webcomic Superbitch (which actually has a book out, so it makes sense they’d have it in the store) The poster was fairly prominent in the middle panel until I added in the balloons and orbs. I’ve linked it a few times and it lives over in the “Webcomics I Like” block. When Maxima is feeling grumpy she probably goes and kicks around with the title’s main character. They’d probably get on well enough but eventually they’d piss each other off.
A bit of and odd page. I know people were expecting a scene with the orbs coming out and everyone oohing and aahing, but I thought we’ve already seen that a few times in one form or another. Just assumed that happened, the press took lots of pictures and asked obnoxious questions. Eventually Sydney yelled and waved her hands like she does and shooed Joel into the back office to get up to speed.
It really only occurred to me as I was drawing panel 5 of this page that Sydney’s phone should have been going berserk all last night. She had it on her at the restaurant, and every news agency in the world would have been trying to get a hold of her to get quotes and set up interviews, not to mentions her friends. I guess she had all her calls going to voicemail, or more likely she just turned it off after she called her parents. Of course, any reporter looking for information on her would quickly discover that she has a business partner which is why Joel’s phone is loaded up now. I’m sure everyone she’s friends with on facebook has tons of messages from news agencies as well. She’s going to have some ‘splainin’ to do.
Oh and if you’re curious about my misspelling of “news” in the title, it’s a reference to Garry Gnu, from a old kid’s show called The Great Space Coaster. I remember nothing from the show at all, I even had to look up the name of the program, except for the news segment, which was hosted by Gary Gnu, a muppet gnu (wildabeast) and started with his catchphrase, “No gnews is good gnews with Garry Gnu.” The joke being that anything he said starting with an N got an added G sound in front of it which is of course the opposite of how you pronounce gnu. (Though I realize now my title should say “gnews” and not “gnus”. Oh well.)
Update: I’ve posted about a colorist position so if you’re interested, check it out here. (applications are closed now)
And we return to the hilariously spartan comic shop. Actually, my local store, Zeus Comics in Dallas doesn’t have every inch of the walls plastered with posters, but usually when I think of a comic shop, I think of one like in The Big Bang Theory, where no wall is visible, the counters are lousy with toys and there are characters standees in all the remaining spaces.
I hate drawing crowd scenes. I blame the writer. :/ I’d prefer not to have to draw them but at the very least I need to establish the crowd, then I can get away with just drawing the fringe of it. Oh and if you could, ignore the fact that the tube is probably too small for all 7 orbs. They’re smaller than the diameter of the tube, so they can fit in there like o°o°o°o, whatever that’s called. Wavy I guess. Still it’s a stretch. Comic book physics am I right?
I haven’t drawn Joel in about 4 years, it’s a little jarring seeing the difference. I’m glad to get the chance to bring him up to date, though I guess since yesterday he’s taken some vitamins and cleared up his jaundice.
This page is exists almost entirely due to the fact that when I’m descending in an airplane, I have enormous trouble telling where I am. Mind you this is on the return trip – when I’m coming home to the city I’ve lived in for ~20 years. Obviously I know I’m near and/or heading toward the airport, and sometime I can pick out a massive landmark like a huge mall, but if I’m high enough and can’t read the store names, I’m not positive which mall it is. Also, you’d think one of those big mix masters on the highway would clue you in to which road you’re above, but a sufficiently large city has one every 5-10 miles, so you can guess but you still might be off by quite a bit.
This is mostly my own fault. I mean besides the fact that everything looks different from above when you’re used to seeing it from 6 feet off the ground, but for all the time I’ve spent living in Dallas, I really don’t know it very well. 90% of my haunts are probably within 10 miles of where I live. Once every 3-4 months I’ll wander down into Dallas proper for one reason or another but considering the size of the DFW metroplex I really don’t go exploring a lot. That’s why when I spot a mall from the air “near the airport” I still rarely have any idea where I really am. Sydney’s probably the same way, most of her regular destinations are ~10 miles from where she lives, with the odd trip out further to the specialty game store or a small comic convention in a satellite city. If she wanders too far off her beaten path without a working GPS she can get lost real quick.
That top panel took like six hours. :…..( While I have a functional understanding of perspective, a city scape like that is more or less beyond me, at least making it look convincing. So my solution was to take several photos and stitch them together, then use that as a base to paint from. That’s harder to do than it sounds cause finding aerial photos taken at roughly the same altitude can be tedious, plus most of the pictures I found were either taken smack in the middle of the downtown area, were suburbs with nothing but residential housing, or they were countryside and farmland. Maybe I’m bad at Google but industrial urban sprawl aerial shots all in the right perspective were few and far between. Once I have the reference pictures melded together I wind up fudging a lot of details anyway, but it’s useful to have the base to work from. I do that partially cause I don’t want to just plop a photo in there, even with attribution and permission I’d still want to paint over it, and partially because I want to be vague about what city they’re based in, at least until I decide it’s relevant to the story to establish it. The point is the characters may fly over this exact spot a lot. :)
It occurs to me that I didn’t draw Sydney with a purse. I gave her a little blue one in some of the early pages when she was at the bank but then I completely forgot about it for the next 250 pages. Even though she doesn’t carry cosmetics around with her, it seems unlikely she’d be able to get by with just a phone and wallet in one pocket and keys in the other. (And The List in her back pocket) Yes, if she was only running to a grocery store and back maybe, but she’s leaving her apartment for the day. Very few women are so minimalist. I don’t blame them. If I could carry around a purse like thing that was acceptable for a man, I would fill it with all kinds of garbage. The perfect example is a shoulder bag I bought for carrying stuff around conventions. It’s exactly the right height and width to fit an iPad, but obviously it’s deeper than that with three separate zippable compartments. Now it has, in addition to a small sketchpad, some pencils, a phone charger with 4 separate USB outlets on it and the appropriate cables attached, and a small stack of the postcards I use to pimp the comic (perfect for a convention naturally), it has every adapter known to mankind so I can hook the iPad up to any video display, with the possible exception of UHF. The bag is now weighs 18 pounds. Oh, also one of those very small screwdrivers with all the interchangeable heads stored in the handle. Because I’m a guy.
March snuck the hell up on me. :P I seriously thought there was like a week left in February. :/ Edit: The vote incentive is finished finally!
It’s weird seeing Sydney in a different colored shirt, but this ain’t no Hanna Barbara cartoon. If you’re wondering where the orbs are in the first few panels, she stuffed them back in the tube.
I’d like to draw Sydney with different hairstyles every now and then, but braids are much more time consuming to draw and color than ponytails, and French Braids are a straight up pain in the ass. I got distracted with the braid step by step (there’s even an additional panel of that sequence I penciled but cut before I started inking) and meant to show Sydney covering up her bruise with cosplay supplies. Obviously her makeup box would be inadequate for the task. The only things in it are chapstick, which Sydney considers to be makeup, probably a light shade of lipstick, and only because it has sunblock built in, an eyeliner pencil that she used once but stabbed herself in the eye, and a bunch of different colored hair ties.
The disadvantage of working at 600 dpi is it’s sometimes hard to gauge how legible little details will be at web size, so here’s a closeup of the package on the counter.
If I was a girl and had a choice of birth control, I would definitely go with the one with the funny name. BTW this doesn’t imply Sydney has a boyfriend at the moment, a lot of women use the pill to moderate their symptoms and even control when they get their period to some degree.
Patreon is like Kickstarter for microtransactions - That is, giving ongoing support (the most delicious kind) to independent artists you enjoy.
Shopping through the Amazon link doesn't cost you anything extra and I get a small % of each sale for the referral.
The good ‘ol Paypal tip jar, good for hit and run donations.