Love and Hard Times

Tomorrow is Valentine’s day and love is in the air.  Love doesn’t really play that much into Uptown Girl’s comic but a few years ago I did a small story about Ruby and her boyfriend, Jumpin’ Jack Flash.

Jack first appeared in issue 37 of the mini comic series.

The gang goes to the wedding of Jack and Diane where Ruby meets an old high school crush.  Jack was the star basketball player back then but he and Ruby never really got to know each other.

They hit it off right away.  Jack had ambitions to play basketball in college but gave up on his dreams after a setback.  Ruby was very much like myself, ambitious and dedicated to her art.  She was hesitant to date anyone because she wanted to focus on her career.  But despite that, they went on a few dates and their relationship really started to grow.

Up to this point the status quo was almost always restored by the end of the issue.  But I was in the middle of a big storyline that changed a lot in Uptown Girl’s world so I thought it was a good opportunity to let their relationship play out.

When this issue ended, a lot of readers wrote to me that they were surprised that there seemed to be a new main cast member.  They liked Jack, but weren’t sure about another person along in the trio’s adventures.  But liked myself, people hung around to see how Ruby and Jack’s romance grew.

As much as an adjustment for the readers, adding someone new to the mix was also an adjustment to Uptown Girl herself.  Since Uptown Girl is Ruby’s best friend, it’s natural for her to be concerned about her friend’s new boyfriend.  Early on she started to have doubts about him.

Rocketman seemed oblivious, as always, and I think he just liked having someone to hang out with when they all got together.

After a few issues, Jack started to become…well, annoying.  His lack of ambition was there from the start, but he also has this stupid little laugh as demonstrated above.  In issue 40 we start to see the cracks in his and Ruby’s relationship.  It was a natural progression.  Jack’s lack of ambition carried over from his basketball career to his relationship with Ruby.  Simply put, he wasn’t trying anymore and was too self absorbed to notice Ruby’s hurt feelings.

Ruby tries to put on a brave face around her friends but she can’t hide the fact that she’s feeling insecure.  She continues to try to salvage her relationship, though.

It was never my intention for Jack and Ruby to date for very long, but their dissolution of their relationship was happening faster than I expected.  The characters contrasted each other quite a bit so it felt very natural to write.  Readers also grew to hate him, which made me happy.  They liked him at first because of how he treated Ruby, but started to hate him for the same reason.

So, in issue 43, months earlier than I expected, Ruby dumped him.

Their relationship had been going downhill for a while, but we see how different they are…and how annoying Jack is.  See?  That little laugh is back.

This argument was the breaking point for Ruby.  For months she was contemplating breaking up with him, but eventually she accepts it.

Uptown Girl, as helpful as she usually is, tries to give Ruby some advice.

Ruby spends the next few days trying to find the appropriate time and place to break up with Jack, until finally they meet for dinner.

And that was the last time we saw Jack.

The saga of Ruby and Jack ended with the restoration of the status quo like all previous issues of ‘Uptown Girl’.

When I thought up this story line, I intended to go until Valentine’s Day and have them break up then, but they dated for about 5 months until they were splitsville.  Ruby is pretty insecure and it was interesting to see her go through something like this especially when most of the time she’s pretty tough and independent.  I’m glad readers grew to hate Jack since it’s what I was going for from the start.  I don’t know what I would have done if people liked him.

So, uh, happy Valentine’s Day.  This was pretty much the only love, or love lost story I did with Uptown Girl and her friends.  Well, I suppose there was the dates Uptown Girl had with Magic Man and…uh, that guy in issue 27 and Rocketman’s girlfriend who moved to Canada before anyone else could meet her.  But those stories will have to wait until future Valentine’s days.

 

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Love and Hard Times

  1. Could that have been Radical Rob you were referring to? We know she really didn’t have any actual date with Johnny B. Goode. I always liked those stories, and the break-up story was very well done. Still chomping at the bit to read the new graphic novel!

  2. radical rob! yeah, that was his name. good call.
    the graphic novel is almost done, thank god. the cover is almost done. ben mudek is coloring it and he’s passed on a few versions of it and i hope it’s done soon. i think it’ll be printed in March. i haven’t decided if i am going to try to do a book release party or not or just have it for Springcon in May.
    but i am about halfway done on the second graphic novel, so that’s coming up next.

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