Early in my comics career I did a lot of events. I did a lot of conventions, I gave a lot of lectures at libraries and colleges about comics, I did signings and taught comic classes. It was a lot of fun. I think my favorite thing was participating in Free Comic Book Day. Most of the FCBD events I did were at Jimmy Jams Comics and Games.
Brian and I did about four FCBD events at the now closed Rochester store. I think the last one we did was in 2005? Once the Rochester store closed FCBD was always kind of bittersweet. I loved the event but really missed Mark and his store. Thank goodness I’m still friends with Mark and his wife, Susan.
Jimmy Jams still has a location in Winona and the owner purchased another comic store in La Crosse, Wisconsin a little while back. He invited Brian and his brother Dan and I to a signing last October. It was a lot of fun. I hadn’t done a lot of signings and lectures for a while…I took myself out of a lot of events after a few years and once my daughter was born. I was burnt out and needed a break and wanted to focus on my comics. This was a bad decision, in retrospect. I was a fairly well know cartoonist in the Twin Cities thanks in part to my constant promoting and appearances. I quickly slipped into obscurity and will likely never be as “famous” as I once was. It was the right choice at the time but when I decided to get back into the game I realized that I was an unknown once again. I made the realization that *I* will never be a famous cartoonist, but perhaps I could create something that is popular. I used to have dreams of being a freelance artists and doing magazine covers for local publications or spot illustrations for the newspaper. That’s not going to happen. I wish I had time to promote myself as a freelancer and build a portfolio but I choose to spend my drawing time working on Uptown Girl and The Retros.
Anyway, at the October signing Mark asked if Brian, Dan and I wanted to do FCBD in 2015. I haven’t done a FCBD in a very long time so I’m looking forward to it. Usually at these events Brian and I would create something new to give away. We thought it’d be fun to “remaster” a one-shot we did about ten years ago starring Fly-Girl of The Retros.
Fly-Girl was the first character we can honestly say we created together. Brian and I really liked her and had big plans for her but ended up creating only one comic with her in it. As we started to work on the Retros we both felt there was something missing from it. The early days of the Retros had a constantly changing cast of characters but the roster never seemed right. Eventually one of us suggested adding Fly-Girl to the team and the other one of us said no. Then a while later the other one of us suggested adding her again and presto, she was on the team. Adding her to the team was really the moment we felt that the team was complete. She was the final piece of the puzzle and really got us excited to work on the project.
I drew the one-shot about ten years ago and I don’t think I’ve looked at it since. I know I have a copy somewhere in the house but I haven’t a clue as to where. Brian dug out his copy and I got to work. The one-shot was drawn mini-comics style. Splash pages, different layouts and varying panel sizes. In order to be consistent with The Retros format (each page having a four panel grid layout) I decided to redraw it in that same layout. Taking a 16 page comic and changing it to a 12 page, four panel layout wasn’t easy but I think it looks okay.
Here’s an exciting action sequence from the first comic compared to the new version:
Yeah. I like how this is turning out.
I’m looking forward to May 2nd! And then MSP Comic-Con is two weeks later with the release of the next Uptown Girl book! I’ll talk more about that next week.