This morning I finished inking page 3 of a story that will appear in the next Uptown Girl book. The book was going to be called ‘Imitation of Life’ but now I am not so sure. The story that was going to have that title was scrapped and won’t be in the book, so I might be coming up with a new title.
I’ve demonstrated before my approach for when it comes to drawing and inking and Photoshopping a page, but I thought I’d demonstrate how I write a page and break it down. The way I write is…well, I’m used to how I write. But it’s not the smartest way to write. My style probably wouldn’t work for others. I tend to come up with a plot and I write that down and then kind of go from there. Once I have the beginning, the middle and the end worked out I can get started. I don’t like writing full scripts, I prefer to be spontaneous and surprised by the dialogue when I create a comic. Sometimes I get into trouble this way, but not often.
Anyway, spoilers, I guess.
One of the key parts of the story is that we find out that Rocketman is famous. Not Robert Downey Jr. famous, more like…”That guy working at the gas station? Wasn’t be part of Milli Vaniili?” The story requires the reader and Uptown Girl finding this out at the same time. So, in order for this to happened, I thought Rocketman needed to recognized while he was out and about. So, I needed Rocketman to be outside. now, sure, I could have Rocketman simply standing outside and have someone come up to and recognize him, but that seemed a little lazy. So I thought Rocketman needs to be doing something Rocketman-ish which means he needs to be doing something kind of stupid and/or dangerous. I thought something involving a pogo stick would be a good idea. So, how does he get the pogo stick? I decided he’d find while he was looking for something else. But what?
As I mentioned, I needed Uptown Girl and the reader to find out about the sort of celebrity status at the same time, so I needed to get Uptown Girl over to Rocketman’s place…because…(and this was my thought process at the time) he borrowed something from her and….she went to his place to get it back. He lost it and while he was trying to find, he stumbled across his old pogo stick. So, in the story, she heads to his place to get her dictionary (there’s a reason) back. And that is where we join the story.
When I sat down to write and draw the page (again, I don’t have a full script) I knew I needed to have Uptown Girl start the page by knocking on his door and asking for her book back,. Of course, nothing with Rocketman can be that simple.
Here’s the page:
So, let’s break this sucker down.
Rocketman has a history of opening his door and revealing what his life is like when the girls aren’t around. Like here:
Uh, in case you haven’t read this story, he was playing video games in his underwear. Rocketman’s apartment is a place where you’ll never know what you’ll find when he opens the door, like here:
Anyway, for this new page I knew I couldn’t do either one of these gags again, so I thought it’d be funny if Rocketman was trying to keep something from getting out. Why rabbits? No idea.
The rabbits thing though, it’s one of the reasons I don’t like writing a full script. I was feeling a little strange when I drew this page and the rabbits likely came out of that mood. The next sequence of panels need to have Uptown Girl ask about them. She has to react to what she sees, and as the writer, I do too.
Now, as the writer, I have NO idea what is up with the rabbits. I don’t think Rocketman does either, and he also informs us he doesn’t understand reproduction. This begs the question of how long has he has these rabbits? Although I prefer not writing a full script, this is when things can get a little frustrating. Rocketman and an apartment full of rabbits is the kind of thing that can hijack a story. Suddenly this story can go from the original idea to Rocketman opening a petting zoo. Despite the bunnies, the story must go on. And Uptown Girl helps me out with this.
I really like this page. I feel it really captures the spirit of the comic. We have the randomness of Rocketman, we have Uptown Girl keeping the story moving forward and hopefully the reader is entertained. But most of all, I like this page because I was surprised by how this scene went. Drawing comics can be very boring, so it’s nice to be surprised once in a while.