WHEN ARE THEY GOING TO GET TO THE FIREWORKS FACTORY? demanded Milhouse.
I thought of that quote from ‘The Simpsons’ last week when I was working on The Retros. I work on The Retros in three different stages due to having a pretty tight, set schedule over the week for them as well as Uptown Girl. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday night I draw a page of Uptown Girl. Thursday is my late night at work and I usually don’t have time to draw. Friday I pencil three pages of the Retros and Saturday morning I ink them. Saturday night I scan and letter everything I did during the week. In addition to this, I also color a page of the Retros after I draw each night.
I don’t do the normal thing of drawing a page, coloring it and then posting it the next day. I am pretty far ahead compared to what gets posted each day. I worked on The Retros for about 9 months off and on before I started posting pages in November. I needed to get far ahead since I knew I’d be working on the last Uptown Girl book at the same time and didn’t want to be crunched for time. Right now my drawing, coloring and posting are all at different parts of the first Retros story arc.
For example, on Saturday morning I inked pages 187 through 189:
I just finished coloring (but still need to ink) page 120. I usually am about 4 weeks ahead when it comes to coloring compared to what gets posted.
…and tomorrow I am posting page 101:
As you can see from these three pages, they are all pretty different from each other but they are still part of the same story. That’s to be expected; there should be a lot happening over the course of 80 pages or so of any story but it’s a little weird that, in a way, they still haven’t made it to the fireworks factory.
I guess what I’m saying is this story arc is long. Longer than I expected it go. I thought as I approached the 200th page I’d be close to wrapping it up but the story is twisting in different ways and I see little opportunities for new scenes that are either funny, important to the story or fun to draw…or even all three. I am going by instinct here and I am hoping it pays off.
I am still learning the daily comic thing. I do try to keep the pages pretty self-contained by having a first panel that kind of sets things up and a final panel that either ends in a funny way or in a way the reader will (hopefully) want to check back the next day to see what is happening. Also, I am trying to make sure the page that gets posted on Friday follows the same rules (on a bigger scale though) so readers will come back on Monday.
At this point I am not sure if I am doing a daily comic strip or simply posting five pages a week of a graphic novel. I guess I don’t know if The Retros will read better when it is collected or if it’s fun to read on a daily basis. What I am trying to do is recreate the adventures comic strips that were popular in the 1940’s but in a way that’s (hopefully) funnier. God knows if I’m succeeding on any level but I am sure having fun.