One of my great cartooning inspirations is Stan Sakai and his comic ‘Usagi Yojimbo’. It was the first independent comic I read, having discovered the character through ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’. As I grew older I realized how amazing the book really was.
One of the things I enjoy the most about the series is that a character will be introduced and they’ll play a minor role in a story, only to return 30 issues later and play a bigger part of a tale. Those introductory moments are often so subtle that they don’t hint at a more significant role later on. I love that.
Another thing I enjoy is that it’s not usual for the main character to not even show up in a story. These two things were something I wanted to introduce to Uptown Girl’s world when the series went from a monthly schedule to an annual original graphic novel format. I viewed the second graphic novel (Little Adventures) as a way to try some new things out. ‘Waiting For Pizza’, a short story in Little Adventures is the first ‘Uptown Girl’ story to not have Uptown Girl in it. And weirdly enough, it’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever done. It was fun to see Rocketman and Ruby bounce off each other for ten pages without Uptown Girl intervening. The story had good momentum.
There’s another story in the book that introduces someone who will play a larger role in a future book. After the book I am working on now (A Long Forgotten Fairytale), I plan on putting out another short story collection, and then after that, a book titled ‘The Lazarus Heart’ The previously mentioned character will play a role in that story.
I am constantly working, often on several projects at once, so while I am working on ‘Fairytale’ I am also sort of writing ‘Lazarus’ in my head. The book will be pretty big in terms of scope. A caper sort of book. And! I will be killing off a character. Yep.
Anyway, these two characters will appear in the book. And to be honest, I am not sure if they will be villains or heroes or what. They’re kind of a team, so I’ll add one or two more guys to their team.