Saturday, July 10, 2010

Wichita in "Beach Thief"

Here is the ten page Wichita adventure that played as the second feature story appearing in the first issue of "Unstoppable Tuff-Girl." It's broken into two parts. The mythology is helped, in this first issue any ways, not only by have Wichita involved in the action, but also by depicting Debbie in it as herself and not entirely is Tuff-Girl and inserting Deanne, none of which is in the lead feature.

The conceit of the Wichita stories is that they're Tuff-Girl stories told from the dog's perspective. The story telling is simpler with a more cartoony art style inspired by Chic Young's "Blondie."

Early Wichita designs actually more closely followed that of Dagwood's pup Daisy (or Pluto). Her final design incorporates a smooth line from head to nose which better suggests the profile of an Airedale or wire hair terrier and fur concealed paws that was more inspired by the design of Danny the sheep from Disney's "So Dear to My Heart" (1949) than other cartoon dog designs.

Neither Wichita nor any of the animal characters will talk or "think talk" as do Snoopy or Garfield. Instead the details of Wichita's thoughts and actions are described by the narrative - think nature film ala Walt Disney's "True Life Adventures" or more recently "March of the Penguins."

Production wise, the feature was originally planned as an eight page story told in two parts until two pages opened up in planning the book. Which was a bit better for the story, since it might be an idea bigger than even the final 36 panels.

Not hindered by the fact that I had yet to coalesce how magic works in Tuff-Girl stories, I needed a magician opponent for the tale and had come up with Voilare based on "voila." His design is roughly a caricature of Jim Valeri because of the similarity of the names. Then I kind-of sort-of based the assistant, Ana Cara, of his wife Kara. Ana Cara's back story is that she replaces her sister as Voilare's assistant. Her sister's name is Abigail Carolyn Dubois (a.k.a. Abby C. DuBois).

I was hoping to have the rabbit, Friday, play a bigger part in the tale, but there really wasn't enough room. Friday is named for a magician friend.

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