Writer Notes Fame and Misfortune Part 2

Continuing my Fame and Misfortune writer notes.

Page 24-28

This club scene is was me trying to play with the lettering a bit. The oppressive loud music at the club takes up most of the background. Also to have a little bit of fun with character design, Mistress Lala’s entourage are Micky, Vicky, and Nicky. They have the same outfit but you can tell them apartment because their neckline makes the first letter of their name. You don’t get a super clear shot of their outfits here but you do in the next scene they are in.

Each disaster that happens around Mistress Lala is supposed to get more and more unbelievable as the story goes on. So the chances of her getting hurt in a bar fight that doesn’t involve her is weird but not unbelievable. It’s not completely clear but this guy’s knife is about to hit her inner thigh.

I established that Fatima is at ever accident, so there are pictures of everything. And that will let Rebecca notice that Lee is also at every accident scene.

Page 29-36

While working on Sorcery 101, the landscape format made some of the panel experiments I wanted to try impossible or hard to do. So this elevator accident I wanted to play with lots of tall thin panels. Page 34 and 35 in particular make a double page spread in the book, to show the elevator going up and down.

And in the last page of this scene I once again made sure to put in the background Fatima taking Lala’s picture.

Page 37-39

Marnie and Rebecca’s chat is to get some exposition out about the world again. Werewolves are the only public supernatural thing. But I wanted to lead into important info about the accident. I mentioned each accident gets more and more unbelievable, elevators have a breaking system to stop this from happening. This type of accident would require a lot to go wrong at once to the point where is doesn’t happen. Also, this is the turn in Marnie and Rebecca getting to know each other, Rebecca starts to be more considerate based on Marnie’s criticism of her communication skills.  

Page 40-43

Rebecca tries to start looking into stuff now that that accidents are weird.

Here’s the scene where you can see Nicky, Vicky, and Micky’s necklines. I also made sure Lala brought up fairies to build to the reveal at the end again.

Fatima and Marnie arriving is because I didn’t want Rebecca to see how the lamp fell over and started the fire. Also again, I made it clear Fatima was there.

Page 44-47

I always like using dramatic shadows. So this scene was fun to draw. I also tried to build the tension of as the fire gets worse and hits different hair styling chemicals. I especially like how Rebecca swinging on the falling lamp to move it worked.

Page 48-50

Marnie and Rebecca’s chat here is to let them get to know each other a little bit more. They are getting a little bit friendlier with one another now that Rebecca is remembering to keep Marnie in the loop. I also wanted it to be explicate that Rebecca was queer in the story. The story is about her being queer and has a very narrow focus, so there aren’t a lot of ways for it to come up. Then the bit about driving is some world building. There has only been a cop car in the whole story. In the series, I’m keeping cars for emergency services, law enforcement, and delivery trucks. So Rebecca driving is an odd skill to have.

Writer Notes Fame and Misfortune Part 1

Fame and Misfortune was a book I went into with several goals. I wanted to get better at writing and drawing action. I wanted the cast to be mostly female. I wanted to improve my black and white only art. And I wanted it to work as a decent intro to The City Between series, though at the time I didn’t have a name for the series. I tried to keep the supernatural fairly limited and straight forward because I also wanted the reader to get a feel for the mundane world.

page 1-3

I started with this opening because I wanted to set up the contrast of Rebecca’s thoughts to what is going on around her. She is fairly quiet as a main character and I wanted to make it clear how she differs from the humans around her. Her caption boxes are supposed to show that through out the story. Then Mistress Lala’s interview is also supposed to get info about regular human’s relationship with werewolves out. Everyone knows werewolves are real, but they are so rare that an individual is highly unlikely to encounter them. Rebecca is really hired as an actually bodyguard, she is hired to be an oddity.

Mistress Lala’s dress went through a few revisions. Mostly it was because I wanted the average person’s clothes to be different from our everyday, but at the same time Mistress Lala needed to be more out there. The bow at the back of her dress is also supposed to make fairy wings to start her gimmick of having fairies as a branding thing. I wanted to start small and make that more and more obvious until the end.

Rebecca’s reveal visually is to give her center stage and not compete with Mistress Lala. Also her towering over the reporter.

Sometimes heightened senses can be hard to convey visually. Rebecca’s captions pointing to folk are supposed to be a combination of her senses and learning to be more aware while working as a bodyguard. It’s also how she mostly interacts with the world. There is the 4th panel wide shot on page 3 to show off all the stuff she is constantly picking up.

Also, I tried to put as much stuff going on in the background as I could. Like in Page 3 panel 1 you can see Mistress Lala getting mad at the camera man for paying attention to Rebecca rather than her, before she swoops in front of the camera in panel 2. Then in panel 5 Fatima is taking photos before she is introduced properly.

page 4-7

Action time. Like I said I wanted to get better at drawing action. I tried to make sure things were fairly clear.

When Rebecca pushes Mistress Lala out of the way, originally Mistress Lala was nastier. But I softened it because Jay Edidin who edited the script for me, asked if I wanted people to route for Mistress Lala’s death right away. Basically, she was too harsh too soon.

Rebecca’s outfit was something I planned out based on the fact that she goes back and forth from wolf to human on the job. So the big coat is long enough to cover her while she looks for the rest of her clothing. Then the halter top is supposed to be removable by just untying two notes. It’s also a shirt that is more feminine in cut than someone would expect from someone as butch as Rebecca.

This chase scene is something I wanted to stick with sorta the same angle to keep things clear. I think I maybe could do this better and make all the thrown obstacles clearer now. I also think I should have put more people on the street in general. It would make Marnie getting pushed into the line of the LR more understandable.

Rebecca’s wolf design is a little hard. I was trying to avoid the halo thing when black stuff is next to one another. Her fire helps clear up her form though.

page 8-10

Some of the text in this page is a little crowded. After Fame and Misfortune, I realized I can afford to make my lettering a little bit smaller. Connor’s uniform is something I wanted to nail down so I could use it again and again. I have a bigger version of the patch on his jacket. It’s the S.N.O.W.I. logo. In theory each cop would have a different patch where Connor has his. This is the first place I used the thought caption covers what another person is talking about.

page 11-12

I was trying to so that Fatima and Rebecca don’t like each other, aren’t great people, and both treat Rebecca’s client as a means of making money. Rebecca is aware she is usually a prop for her clients so why not sell them out to the paparazzi for cash.

page 13-15

The first panel of page 13 I wanted to make sure there is a good view of what most of the city looks like. The idea is there are outside way walks every 5 stories. The piles are both support beams, plumbing pipes, and the streetlights. So everyone mostly walks or they take outdoor elevators to the top level which has the LR on it.

Marnie and her friend chatting are again to drive home how rare werewolves are. I also wanted to establish that Marnie’s friend Janelle is a big fan of Mistress Lala. So when it comes up later, it’s their before.

Rebecca and Marnie’s first interaction doesn’t go over the best. Showing Rebecca’s social modes with humans are awkward, annoyed, and scary. But just as important Rebecca backs up a little when Marnie tells her not to lean over her.

page 16-18

Marnie is taking werewolf news, she freaks out a little. And her lack of knowledge about werewolves is matched by Rebecca’s lack of knowledge about humans. Then when Connor fills in the gaps, he is much nicer/more charming to Marnie than he was to Rebecca.

Also, I kept Rebecca’s coat off in this scene because I wanted to show off her guns. Lady character don’t get to show off arm muscles much in shows.

page 19-23

Second chase scene. I said earlier that Rebecca doesn’t talk much. At least not saying what she is thinking. So her attention is Connor but she doesn’t give Marnie any sign of that. Again I probably should have put more people on a street. But I like her jumping over someone. But she keeps up the not pay attention to Marnie while figuring out what to do.

Writer Notes on Buffy: The High School Years 3 part 2

Page 34 – 38
The demon’s name is from the scientific name for a coo coo bird. So I asked for the design to have a beaky looking face with no eyes. Yishan added the fleshy flappy skin. I wanted the monster to be fairly easy to kill this time around because the challenge later is gonna be keeping Joyce away from the fight. 
page 39 – 42 
This scene is about upping the ante. The demon maybe hasn’t seemed THAT dangerous up until this point. It hasn’t directly hurt anything but I wanted to show the full implications of putting it’s needs before your own safety. Hense the vampire walking into the sun and burning up. Then immediately after the demon mind controls Joyce, so we got the threat made clear and then it’s directed at a character we care about.
page 43 – 47
These few pages I tired to build up some brief tension before the reveal of Buffy finding Joyce. Then I wanted Buffy to try and deal with it herself. 
page 48 – 52
These are all kinda dangers in the kitchen that can accidentally get left unattended. It’s a little bit of minor jeopardy before the big fight. I also wanted the demon to be sorta indifferent to Buffy because it only cares about being taken care of. Like it’s not thinking it’s all want. Kina like an actual child 😛
page 53 – 63
Buffy springs into action. This scene I wanted to make sure while they were restraining Joyce they weren’t hurting her. So Joyce is doing all the damage to the scoobies. 
One of the fun things about comics is you can do fun things with lettering. I specially suggested the “words” of the spell make ribbons that attack the demon. It’s fun to take advantage of the medium. 
page 64 – 68
If you listen to my podcast with Spike and Amanda (Dirty Old Ladies) I talked a little bit about this scene on the episode of censorship. One of the examples of when censorship is good was in relation to me working on Buffy. The demon has to look monstrous when Buffy fights and kills it because it can’t look like Buffy kills a child when taken out of context. It’s a branding/property protection thing that makes sense and doesn’t really interfere with anything story wise. 
page 69 – 72
Since a lot of the conflict on the personal end of things was Buffy and her Mom so I wanted to end on a nice Buffy and her mom money. Something sweet and it very they ended up getting the mother daughter time Joyce wanted. 

Writer Notes on Buffy: The High School Years 3 part 1

Page 1 – 3Like the last book, I had to start the book with the “Every generation” monolog over an actiony introduction. One of the notes I got back for this book is that since Angel wasn’t in the last two High School Years books, he should have a role in this one. So I opened with the two of them fighting together. I think if there is one flaw with this book it’s that I feel like Buffy and Angel’s scenes are maybe better suited to Buffy and Angel in season 2. I tired to place this story firmly before Buffy knew Angel was a vampire so the attraction is more obvious on her part. In season 1 Buffy and Angel’s relationship is kinda Buffy saying something and then rambling a bit to “prove” the comment she made wasn’t complimenting Angel. So you really only know she likes Angel because of how much she tries to make it look like she doesn’t like Angel. Anyway, that just leads to some blushy times. I asked if this book was sticking to natural acting or being more cartoony acting. I gave directions for both and Yishan split the difference.

Page 4 – 5

I wanted to show Joyce’s side of things here. Her POV is kinda important to this book. She probably got a lot of calls like this over the coarse of the show. Also, we never get to see the gallery in the show so I wanted to set a scene there.

page 6 – 8

For this scene I wanted Buffy to seem small while she was getting yelled at. I told Yishan to position Joyce so she is higher and larger than Buffy in the first page. Then once Joyce is done yelling they are on more equal positioning in the page.

page 9 – 12

Buffy is based on the whole girl that usually gets killed in a horror movie ends up being tougher than the monsters. So I wanted to tap into that with this monster of the week being disguised as a little girl. I wanted to have a humor beat with the vampire being annoyed at her lack of fear before the mind control power reveal. I always liked how Buffy blended horror and humor.

page 13 – 17

The scooby time in the library was both a way to let Buffy vent but also so Xander could get some quips in. He was the focus on my last book so he pretty sparse in this one. Willow and Giles are too but they get more during the next scooby scene.

page 18 – 22

When Buffy’s mom shows up, I wanted her mom to be more proactive. I also wanted her to not seem like she’s punishing Buffy. Also, I had Giles leave while Willow, Buffy, and Xander lie to Joyce to keep things in line with Buffy episodes before they all know Angel is a vampire.

page 23 – 25

Buffy and Joyce’s dinner is again trying to show Joyce putting time in that’s not about punishing Buffy. But at the same time I wanted everything Joyce said to make Buffy feel bad even if that’s not what Joyce intends.

page 26 – 29

This is one of the scenes between Angel and Buffy that in hind sight that is more season 2 or 3 Angel and Buffy rather than season 1. They don’t really confide in each other at this point. It was kinda a way to make Angel more present in the story to have Buffy confide in him. I did want Buffy to show that she appreciates her mom time. That sorta back and forth between wanting space and also wanting quality time is something that feels very teenager to me. Especially for a teenager that has a lot of responsibility.

page 30 – 33

This fight was mostly to get the information to Buffy so she can report it all back to Giles in the next scene.

Writer Notes on Buffy: The High School Years 2 part 2

page 37 – 39

The clean up bit was mostly set up for how Buffy defeats the tiger. It was also to get Willow to contribute a little more to the story, since it’s very Xander heavy.

page 40 – 47

Bakeries opening early enough that Buffy has probably seen a few open during patrol. It would also be a good time for the tiger to attack. Also Just Desserts was one of the possible titles for this story. This fight was mostly to show the tiger’s skin is impenetrable. I’m not so great at fighting quips. So the dialog in this scene took me the longest to write. Fry of the Tiger is also one of the possible names for the book.

page 48 – 49

Buffy describing the fight is a way to make things that the reader might not have picked up on more clear, without 100% spelling it out. I also made sure Xander mentioned how good the pastries were to hint at what will happen to him after he cheats in Mr. Blake’s class.

page 50 – 53

I really like Yishan’s drawing of Mr. Blake eating that cookie. Close ups of people eating are always unpleasant. Xander cheats. When this book was first advertised, someone commented that Xander buying sweats to pass off as his home ec homework is the most Xander thing they’d heard. I was glad to heard that. Anyway, I wanted to make sure Buffy knew Maria was missing in class so she can put things together in the next scene.

page 54 – 57

Since this is aimed at younger readers, I was told it needed a clear theme/lesson. Willow and Buffy basically spell it out here. Kinda how you get lines in Buffy episodes like “I had one drink and almost got eaten by a giant snake”

Exposition time. I also like it when someone suggestions something as a joke solution and that is the real solution. And I always like it when Buffy puts two and two together.

page 58 – 61

Buffy’s fight with the tiger is kinda goofy here. He looks very cute when Buffy boops him on the nose. Here his eye gets injured to hint at the key to getting past his fur coat.

page 62 – 64

Giles suggesting the woods while Buffy remembers the Rain Forest Cafe type place, I thought would be a fun beet. Both are reasonable.

I put in that Maria and Ms. Miller should look really tired while Xander is added to the group.

page 65 – 70

Teamwork makes the dream work. The cutting back and forth between Buffy fighting the tiger and everyone else hiding chemicals in the meal is to make things interesting. Buffy then stabbing in the eye while distracted is the solution. When I first submitted eye stabbing I got the note that this might be too violent, so I suggested cutting to a silhouette.

page 71 – 72

Fun little wrap up with everyone’s hard work getting shown off. Also doubling down on the lesson. Note that no one has eaten Xander’s cupcakes. I love how that middle panel came out on the last page where Buffy and Xander are Willow’s painting which would be were the reader is.