I just figured I’d post a brief explanatory note for anybody who’s been following along that the storyline I started and posted the first page of, Matching to “The City”, will be continued later on. The story is mostly scripted and supposed to be around 24 pages without dialogue, and I’m excited for it, but I started to get distracted by some of the other things I’m working on. Since the story is supposed to go back in time a little bit and tell the origin of Rickets the Robot, it would probably shed some light on some of the things that I’m posting now, but it seemed more important to continue along with the present state of things. There is also an origin that I have in mind for Prester the Bear, and lots of stuff for all of them going forward, so hopefully I’ll get to all of it in time. In the meantime, the above is a sketch that I later based the cover inks for Marchin’ to “The City” on, and I really love the image of the two robots a lot. The whole story is based on a collection of personal memories and is really important to me for a whole bunch of reasons, so I’ll get to it, but I’ve gotta approach all these things intuitively for them to make sense to me.
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.
Alright, here we are at the second to last page. I’m gonna post the last page later tonight, and maybe I’ll blog some about the story then or maybe I’ll leave well enough alone for the moment, but either way check back soon because it’ll be posted very shortly :)
Almost there, only two more pages to go! the key thing I was trying to make clear on this page is that Rickets didn’t just destroy certain memories, he destroyed his entire memory chip, so now he kind of has to decide where he goes from there.
I think I’ll hold off on going on about what the images on this page mean, since I like the fact that some of these things can be taken different ways and hopefully have personal meaning for people. I do like that a lot of the things on this page and the next few pages have a nice symmetry to things panels from earlier in the story. I’m gonna post the next new page later tonight or tomorrow, and another new page soon after.
Alright, here it is, the big moment a lot of things in this story have been leading up to. When I first came up with the character of Rickets a few years ago, the idea was to do a robot who was essentially broken. He wasn’t supposed to be dumb or anything, in a lot of the early Rickets strips he was sort of the calm voice of reason, but most people don’t usually react calmly and reasonably to everything, so this was the reason I gave him for it. His essential self is still there, and in the comics I’m writing now with him and Prester he’s rediscovering things, but his history is all gone. The next few pages of Marching to “The City” will show some of the immediate fallout and what exactly him destroying his memory chip means, but there’s more to it and elements from this storyline will hopefully come into play in the future.
When I scripted this page it originally had more panels of Rickets imagining the tall robot fucking his ex in increasingly creative positions, but I thought it hit the note a couple times too many, and I like the the last panel I did instead. Of course Rickets has already slept with a new robot, too, but that doesn’t stop you from being jealous, it doesn’t work logically like that.
Gonna post a couple new pages tomorrow, so check back.
This page is all about insult to injury. I figured it wasn’t enough for the ex-boyfriend robot to have a new boyfriend, the new boyfriend should also be taller and manlier than Rickets. And the ex boyfriend and the taller robot should both answer the doors in towels, so they were obviously just showering together. It’s funny in that kind of learning to laugh at your own worst memories way. I’m actually kind of tall, and I never met my ex’s new boyfriend in this case, but it’s about the feeling of being replaced. Also, if memory serves accurately, we broke up on a Monday and he went out with this new guy on something like Wednesday, so that was a low blow enough.
Gonna post the next new page later today, so check back!
Hi everybody! Sorry for disappearing for a few days there, I’ve been working on a bunch of different things simultaneously, and holding off on posting any of it because I’d rather post this story in order. I’ve been doing the last part of this story working on a bunch of different pages together, rather than completing one page at a time, so I’ve had a pile of work in progress pages next to my desk, but late last night, or actually early this morning, I mostly completed Marching to “The City” except for some touch-ups and odds and ends, so I promise there will be a page a day until it’s all posted, maybe actually even more than that.
This page had a long strange journey, as I spilled a bottle of ink on the first version of it when I was working on it around a week ago. the first two panels were mostly saved, the rest of it had to be reproduced. I love the page, though, even though it comes from some touchy memories for me. I think the gap-toothed robot Rickets goes out with is actually really cute, in a goofy kind of way, it’s my thing for nerds showing up. After the breakup that inspired a lot of this story, looking back on all that I’ve realized that there were actually plenty of cute guys around, and even some guys who were into me, but I was much too busy feeling sorry for myself and undesirable to notice when I was being desired. So, that’s what this page is mostly about. I like the little touch in the movie theater panel with how the other robot’s hand is out there on the arm rest and Rickets could take it, but he’s off in space instead. I also like the bit in the sex panel with the other robot’s hands being tied together. If you look closely, you can see little diamonds on the tie he was wearing before that’s now being used to tie him up. Tying someone up or being tied up seems to be a major analogy in a lot of these comics for relationships going right or going wrong. It’s also kinda super hot.
New page tomorrow, or maybe even later tonight, depending on how much scanning I get done, so check back :)