Here be the second official issue of A Dude’s World, a comic that I am not entirely proud of, but am definitely glad I got through. Looking back, especially at this issue, I can see my style and storytelling starting to feel like my own — anyway, I’ll shut up and let you take a looksy.
And for some reason, there was a variant cover, which I am sharing here because it pretty much just became the back cover, as I disliked it so — the focus for both issues was Star, a young super heroine who crash-landed into the main character Jason’s universe at the very, very end of the first issue.
Yeah, so did I mention that I only really realized pacing was a thing much later on in my comics-making?
Also, apparently, there were two titles for this issue — which doesn’t make any sense. So weird!
When I was working on this particular issues, I had just officially started my Fine Arts degree (Fall of 2002) — so, deceptively, the prints in the previous post
actually come after I finished working on much of these beginning pages for DW #2 — the third issue would be about when I started shifting focus from drawing to textiles. Oh, and for the first issue, see here.
Anyway, we open with Jason and his mom arguing because Star is officially crashing at their place — these pages, despite hours of work, are still pretty rough in my opinion. I’ve worked out a lot of the bigger kinks, but as demonstrated by the line through Suzy-slamming-the-door’s knee in the lower right panel, I didn’t catch everything on each page yet.
For one thing, I continued my ridiculous tendency of sketching in ballpoint, layering detail in pencil, and then adding a final layer of pen and nib or very detailed ballpoint. I really don’t get that process, at all, and especially hate it after hours of working on the shitty job I did on the lettering. Most of it was illegible and much of it was blotted with ink or smashed due to poor planning of space. So, if I’ve learned nothing else from trying to bring DW #2 up to date, it’s that one should NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE IMPORTANCE OF GOOD LETTERING.
Above, Jason’s mom realizes she’s being a weirdo while talking to Suzy and Jason, as Star floats a bit in the background. There was to be a long-running gag of Star using her powers in the background of scenes and then being accused of not having any kind of useful powers. Also, the reason that so much time is given to Jason’s mom was that she was supposed to be a major character later on — she knows some stuff and is also going through some stuff at the point when all these events happen, but, as the story changed directions, she got pushed into the background.
Yeah, the story for this series got extremely melodramatic very quickly — which is a big part of why I ended up dropping it.
One major thing that I tried out for the first time was really establishing different looks for different characters — so we get Star at the top with bigger hair and a slimmer figure while Suzy stays shapely and has the same haircut. Unfortunately, Suzy and Jason get haircuts halfway through because I was bored of drawing the same hairstyles — ARGH younger-version-of-me, you were crazy!!
I was also playing with the text a lot — in that I was constantly incorporating it into the landscape, sound effects, characters’ hair — basically anything to make it impossible for anyone to read my comics. Hah! That was not the intention, but this comic was definitely the start of a long period where I really didn’t want people to read my stuff — course I was still sending it to friends who seemed interested. Anyway, getting the letters and words out of the background and into a readable position was most of the work on these pages — along with editing out some distracting drawn elements — but that is really the most annoying part because it not only takes buckets of time, but is quite boring and repetitive (and sleepiness-inducing!).
You may be wondering, wait, why is Star going to high school with Jason and Suzy? The answer is that Star was actually an incredibly unstable person who had just recently watched her lover get killed in battle right in front of her — in a pretty sad way since it was to have been something that could have been prevented if anyone had been paying attention. I never got to writing that part…
Point is, Star wound up falling out of the sky when her powers went on the fritz, though she managed to get enough of her solar energy powers to work to not fall too hard — she was going to be a friend to Jason, who would help her through her grief, such that they would bond, leading to him helping her confront her friends and fellow superheroes on her team about their not being their for her when she had had the kinda-sorta breakdown that she did.
So, much much later in this issue, when Suzy calls her out for being weird and such…
Background for that page: Star and Jason wound up at the mall getting superhero gear — Star humored him because she’s a little crazy and a superheroine. But, technically, Jason was supposed to be on a date with Suzy — he’d gone home early to comfort Star after she got upset…about something. Anyway, I also wanted to point out that Star was a runaway, I think, so she was actually later high school age-wise. Again, this story was super overwrought!
Anyway, some of my favorite early comics panels are in this issue of DW — and I’m including them below. Mainly, I like the scene where Suzy and Jason are getting ready to hang out, only to decide to run errands instead. Really, I just like the panels where they are really small — I cannot say why, but those are my favorite kind of drawings that I do.
I don’t really get the relationships I set up between the central characters, though — and I have no idea why or who Jason’s friend Mike is. I know I planned for him to die pretty early on, but I don’t remember the story arc or anything. I don’t get the competitive spirit between Suzy and Star, either. Star also seems to ‘grrr’ a lot, whereas Suzy kinda ‘hmmm’s a lot — what’s up with that?
The one really funny thing is that the Muse series was intended to come out of DW — initially, after many issues, then after maybe 10, and then I just decided it would spin out after DW #3 — which was never photocopies, printed, and published in the way that the first two issues were. For a little while there, I had a list of names and addresses of friends, family, and former professors who would get a copy of DW whenever I completed it — with the promise of at least 4 issues. Sadly, I think I stopped sending them out after the second one — who knows how many people are waiting to read the last two issues of DW? Probably very, very few — but still, that was something I probably shouldn’t have given up.
On that note, here’s the original note from DW #2 where two characters who were to appear in Muse get a moment to chat — check out the terrible lettering and overall messiness…
Anyway, that’s all for now — hopefully, tomorrow’s post will be more timely! I gotta get on top of these daily deadlines or they are going to kick my ass…