Now that it’s all posted, I think I should at least talk about the title. The title’s kind of a semi-elaborate Bob Dylan nerd joke. Dylan’s song Marchin’ to the City is one of those songs he’s great at that feels like he wrote it exactly about you. When I was writing this story, I heard it and knew it was perfect. There are a lot of lyrics in the song with resonance for me, but the chorus is, “Once I had a pretty girl/ she done me wrong/ Now I’m marchin’ to the city/ And the road ain’t long,” which was perfect for Rickets’ story. There are a few meanings for the changes I made from the title of Dylan’s song. I put “The City” in quotation marks as a nod to Dylan, because using a version of this lyric as the title is meant to be done in the spirit of the references Dylan has been fond of recently to older songs, using bits and turns of phrase from older lyrics and writing them and putting them to a different purpose. Dylan’s album “Love and Theft” is full of those kinds of references, and he has the title in quotation marks to acknowledge that even the title itself is actually a quotation from a book, so my quotes are referencing that I’m quoting Dylan’s use of quotes I suppose. The other reason, and the reason I capitalized “The City,” is because, as you might have thought of seeing the last page of the story, “The City” is one of the common nicknames for a particular city, which is San Francisco, where I live.
I thought when I drew the city in the distance on this last page here, the buildings should be generic enough that it could be an image of a universal large city that Rickets is heading off toward, but I felt that I really should have the Transamerica building in there, because I wanted to have the visual rhyme to this comic here . In that other comic, the Boy From Santa Cruz and the bunny have one of their first serious conversations about their relationship, and the conversation takes place in Jack Kerouac Alley. I liked setting that comic there partly because I thought it tied in well to the whole idea of On the Road and all that mythology, and it fit because a theme of those comics is trying to find your place in life, and figure out what it is you want to be doing. That’s what Rickets is doing here, too, and the two stories can be metaphors for each other.
I’m hoping I still struck a balance between the last panel being universal and also particular to my experiences, but I did also end up drawing the hills a bit to look like the rolling country side between Southern and Northern California that I remember from my trip up here. The last panel is also meant to have a nice symmetry to the first panel of the story, as they’re almost the same shot of Rickets’ neighborhood, except there’s been the equivalent of a camera tilt so that instead of looking down into the neighborhood it’s now looking up a little and you can see what was there before, but outside of the panel frame and not visible. So I know that this story seemed kind of dark at some points, but now Rickets is on that road, and hopefully headed out to see all the parts of the world he wasn’t looking at before.