On the Verge: the Arrow of Time, eleven

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On the Verge: the Arrow of Time, ten

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On the Verge: the Arrow of Time, nine

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On the Verge: the Arrow of Time, eight

I love the expressions on this cover!

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On the Verge: the Arrow of Time, seven

Of all of the covers that I’ve done for these chapters, this is probably one of my favourites!

I’ve always felt that this chapter was really where things started to get moving. Hannah’s ready to get involved in all of this weird science that’s happening, so Lucas takes her into the field – where she promptly does exactly what he says not to. I also managed to squeeze in two character bits in here:

  • We meet Andi Anderson in person. At this point in developing the story, I realised that it would be an ideal time for Lucas to actually run into her and we could see that they have a bit of a history. I also loved dropping hints at things that have happened but not really explaining them. I wonder if I’ll ever go back and tell those stories?
  • I also got to introduce Michael Conklin. He’s a bit of a supporting character in this story but he is integral to the overall story of Edge Inc. and Lucas (they were partners at the FBI). I had ideas about expanding his role and developed a whole story just about him to kind of feel out his character.

In general, this was a pretty fun chapter to do. We finally got some action happening after what seemed like a lot of talking heads, plus we end with Jeremy!

Next week, more fun as this whole thing keep rolling. Thanks for reading!

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On the Verge: the Arrow of Time, six

The cover for this chapter of the book features one of my favourite techie things that I included in the story: the weird goggles that Lucas puts on. And because they’re one of my favourites, why not put ’em on the cover!

This chapter serves two main purposes:

  1. I needed to quickly provide information about the Incidents that have occurred. We’ve kind of touched on them a bit but this is where we really start digging into what’s going on.
  2. And I also really started to explain just who la Fleur is and her reasons for wanting the technology. Up until now she’s kind of appeared and hasn’t explained herself.

There’s a lot in this chapter and going back and re-reading it, I can’t believe how much I sort of slipped in. The intent was to focus mainly on the two Incidents that have happened and continue to develop Hannah’s relationship with Lucas. But I also managed to slip in:

  • Hannah’s a workaholic! She’s been doing this since Agnosto put her on it.
  • That Hannah is actually pretty smart and on the ball. She figures out that the two events are connected. (I mean I knew this already, but it was good to show).
  • Hannah’s reactions to the Incidents. Lucas just kind of takes it in stride, but it was fun to show what the “weird science” actually did and her reaction to it.
  • The evidence that they’ve collected – not that it does too much for them.
  • Lucas is pretty smart as well and he knows things from his experience.
  • They’re still pursuing the Shadow Gang and the bank robberies. Even though we (the reader) know what’s going on, these guys are still trying to figure it out.
  • Jeremy’s journal! This will come in handy in a little bit but we’re finally introduced to “the Arrow of Time”!
  • La Fleur isn’t exactly what she seemed and she may be a little bit crazy.
  • The Professor isn’t exactly ok with everything. La Fleur is forcing his hand a bit.
  • The Professor reached out to la Fleur… because he wanted to finish developing this technology.
  • La Fleur funds the protesters and the Watchtower!
  • La Fleur will do anything to get the Arrow of Time working – including using Jeremy and Hannah however she sees fit.

The one thing that I really love about the Professor in his scene is how uncomfortable he is. I liked playing with the panel layouts on those pages so that he’s looking at Mackenzie and Jacob in different panels, not at la Fleur.

And then finally, the chapter wraps up with a completely different look at la Fleur. Just like in the last chapter, we get a backstory, but we also get an bias that is completely different from what we’ve just seen on the previous pages. Which one is correct?

As you can see, we’re halfway through and really starting to cover some ground. Next week, things start to get interesting! Thanks for reading.

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On the Verge: the Arrow of Time, five

We’re back with the next block of pages and our next character cover – Agnosto Mercury.

Aggy only appears a couple of times in the story, but each of them are pretty important. In preparation for this chapter, I actually wrote a complete history for both Edge Inc. and Agnosto himself. I kind of always intended to go back and do a short story with Aggy, but it just didn’t happen.

Anyway, here’s the cover and the full chapter!

When I was putting together Chapter Zero, I knew that the next chapter after that was going to start this way – with Hannah sitting at her desk again, starting at her computer screen. So the idea was that the opening spread would definitely resemble the last chapter. As far as the character building here goes… I knew that Hannah wouldn’t just sit at home twiddling her thumbs. I’m sure someone out there might question her going back to work while Jeremy is missing, but I know for a lot of people, when something bad happens, they need to get back into their routine to feel normal, or bury themselves in work just as a distraction. And that’s kind of what Hannah needed to do.

The other thing to point out is that this chapter is really Hannah’s “call to action” in terms of a heroic journey. She’s down right now and she’s looking for something. So Agnosto gives her something to do and from here, the story starts rolling.

This chapter was one of those where I needed to cover a lot of ground to really get the story going and set up the characters (especially Hannah and Lucas and the way they interact). But then I started adding in all sorts of extra little bits. I was working on THE INTERVIEW short story that featured Edward Hopper and I kind of fell in love with writing him (which is why he ends us being in so many OTV stories). Anyway, I threw him in here just for shits and giggles, but that meant adding some pages. Then I added in Cheryl (and Hannah on the way to the meeting) which added in a couple of more. So this chapter grew in the telling.*

And finally, this Daily Recorder story that ends the chapter was really fun to write. It was a way to really give a quick backstory to Hannah (which was great), but at the same time, I wanted to write about her in a completely contrasting was to how she’s so far been presented in the story. For me, one of the big themes throughout this story is the media and how it presents information – usually with a bias of some sort.** In this case we’re not really sure what that bias is, but there definitely is an angle that’s different from the Hannah that’s presented in the comic. At the same time, there are facts in that story that are true. So does that make the whole story true…? This is where you’ve really got to be a smart, objective reader!

Anyway, lots and lots of stuff happens here in this chapter! I hope you guys enjoy.

*One of the great things about working on a webcomic is that you don’t have to worry so much about keeping a story to a certain length. You can just tell your tale however you want. This can sometimes be an issue – and at times I think I let this story ramble a bit – but for the most part, I love that I got to include stuff that I probably would have cut if I was aiming for a typical 22-24 page comic book.

**The point here is that ALL media has a bias and if you don’t see that, then that’s where we run into issues. This idea that media can be fair to both sides and completely balanced is crazy. If you happen to agree with everything that you see and read on a given day, you probably need to expand the news that you’re consuming.


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On the Verge: the Arrow of Time, four

It’s not that stuff hasn’t happened in the story up until now, but this chapter is where things start to get interesting…

I’m really happy with how this cover turned out. I’ve got to admit that drawing “cool” covers for OTV has been hard because not a lot of “cool action” happens – Hannah isn’t a superhero after all. But I think I managed to capture a good amount of Hannah’s personality and attitude here.

Ok, as many of you already know, this was the original chapter that I created for THE ARROW OF TIME. At the time I called it “chapter zero” because I wasn’t 100% sure just what I was doing and I was pretty sure that this wasn’t the actual start of the story, but it’s a good name because this is pretty much ground zero for when the shit hits the fan.

I’m still really happy with how this chapter looks 6+ years later. I was just figuring things out at this point and this chapter really set the mood for how the rest of the art ending up looking. I was also trying some stuff out with the storytelling and seeing what I could do and after the fact, I think those things I tried really do work.

This chapter is also where we start to follow Hannah – which is key because she’s our gateway into the world of On the Verge.* Whereas I discussed earlier that Jeremy, Lucas and the Professor were set up to follow the three different types of scientists, Hannah was purposely different. She’s new to everything and really seeing it for the first time just like the reader is. Plus, since she’s not defined as one of these types of scientists, she really gets to question why things are like they are.

I always worried about not really focusing on the main character until this far into the story. But at the same time, I kind of like the plot twist that it serves. We kind of follow this celebrity scientist and the poof! he’s kidnapped. And at the end of the day, it’s how everything kind of shook out. I really tried fighting Hannah being the main character, but it just made so much sense. And now that everything is done, I kind of look back and wonder why I ever doubted it.

So a couple of quick points that I feel are worth sharing:

  • One of the big things that I was trying to do was figure out “how” to draw the characters here – which is one of the reasons why Hannah is doing so much different stuff. Page 95 for example has seven panels – six of which are Hannah pulling different faces as she works.
  • The original story that made up “chapter zero” ended when Hannah arrived at home and found the appartment in shambles and Jeremy missing. At this point, I decided I didn’t know what to do next and went off and did part one of THE JUMPER. When I came back, I added the six pages where Mr. Tall deploys the test for the Arrow of Time.
  • And then the last bit with the Daily Recorder got added in when I decided to go back through and add those sections to each chapter. This really provided me an opportunity to give the reader lots of detail on things that had happened and not take up too much space.

Anyway, I’ve always really loved this chapter and I still do. It’s got a bunch of great little character moments in it and a couple of hidden Easter eggs. I’m glad it still holds up!

*One of the things that I think worked especially well about the Harry Potter series is that as you read through it, Harry is basically the stand in for the reader, seeing everything for the first time. I liked that idea and wanted to replicate it.

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On the Verge: the Arrow of Time, three

And we’re back with the next chapter and more new art featuring two of my favourite characters from this story – Mr. Tall and Mr. Small.

This was another chapter that first started out completely differently. I was still working away on just what I wanted this story to be when I decided that I kind of left things hanging with the Professor in the previous chapter. So it made sense to go back and kind of finish that story. Last week I explained about a bit about the “29 Day comic Project” and because it worked really well, I figured it was best to take the same approach with part two of the story. So in September 2012, I wrote and drew part two of this story in a month and then published it all the following month.

Anyway, when I made the decision to include all of this chapter within THE ARROW OF TIME story, I redrew and coloured all of the pages, just like I did with last week’s chapter.

I had fun with this part of the story. It was important to introduce Mr. Tall and Mr. Small here because they’ll play a larger role down the line. As well:

  • I really wanted to start to really explain the Professor’s motivations. This wasn’t to make excuses for what he was doing, but I wanted him to be more than just an evil genius.
  • I didn’t just want to introduce Tall and Small, but I felt like I needed to explain how Tall and Small aren’t just the Professor’s henchmen. They actually work for La Fleur and are keeping an eye on the Professor. I knew I wanted these two guys in the story because they served a variety of purposes, but it didn’t make a whole lot of sense to have them be the Professor’s henchmen. I mean how would he even find henchmen? So once I sort of figured out the La Fleur angle, it actually seemed to make things fit together better.
  • It was important to really tie Jeremy to the Professor. This is an important link that needed to be made because I needed to really explain how this guy (Jeremy) was really the guy who was going to be needed to figure out how to make the machine work. Plus I really liked the fact that Jeremy was this prized student and has formed this relationship with the Professor. What do you do when your mentor goes bad? That was a fun angle.
  • And then finally we go back to La Fleur. To me it was important that with each of her appearances, we start to evolve her character. She really is controlling the Professor who’s obviously in over his head and this continues to be something that happens right until the end of the story.
  • Also! I managed to squeeze in another Daily Recorder story about the protesters. This is one of those things that keeps building through the whole story, so it was fun to keep plugging that in there.

So yeah, there’s a lot that’s happening in this bunch of pages and I think it’s really setting up what’s coming next. I hope you enjoy!

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On the Verge: the Arrow of Time, two

Here’s the next cover and the full chapter… enjoy!

Ok, so looking back, this chapter was kind of where I started to figure out just who and what this story was about. I knew what happened at the end of the story, but I had no idea exactly how to start that off.

Anyone who has been following this project for awhile may have heard me talk about my “29 Day Comic Project” and that was the original “project” to create this series of pages. My goal with the #29DCP was to (A) draw every day, and (B) create a story from scratch on Day 1. So that’s what I did… and it wasn’t until about Day 20 or so that I realized that I created a great opening for THE ARROW OF TIME.

The question then was what to do. I had the Prologue mapped out (and you would have read that last week) and I’d already done what is now Chapter 3 (which you’ll see in a couple of weeks). So I debated about how to fit this block of story in. At first I thought about doing a separate book (but quickly tossed that idea as impractical) before finally settling on the fact that I was going to have to include everything together. So I set about completely redrawing the whole chapter, adding colour and tweaking the copy.

The goal with this chapter is really to build on what happened in the Prologue, start really adding in some “weird science” and to focus in on some of the various characters that will play a big role in what’s to come. I established Jeremy and Hannah in the Prologue, so it was fun to jump to different characters (and I think all those Game of Thrones books helped me figure out how to do that!).

Anyway, my goal for the story was to create a “sci-fi thriller” and that meant really trying to build up some mystery and I feel like this chapter really did that.

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