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Wow. Just.... wow.
I’d just like to say that writing and drawing To Save a Life was a huge amount of fun for me. I complained a lot, yes, but honestly I love drawing comics, and having one big story to tell was amazing.
I set off on this whole thing because one night I decided that I wanted to write, draw, and actually finish an entire story. It was unheard of for me – Fish Food had petered out, and most of my other stories before that had met similar fates. I had a problem sticking with one thing long enough to actually make it matter, and too much of a schedule to fit in constant and consistent updates. I still do. But if there’s one thing that TSaL has taught me, it’s that I can do these things if I persevere. It’s an amazing feeling.
Scott and I had some creative differences with the writing of this comic (we planned the whole thing out in a large Google document beforehand), for example, that he wanted to name the last chapter, which I call "Some, More than Others", and he called "The Dawn after the Storm". Luckily, I’m the one who actually draws this. I don’t know why I’m telling you this, because honestly, Scott’s a great guy and I enjoyed working on TSaL with him immensely. He contributed a lot to the story because his cynical eye for the cheesy kept my oft-fanfic-sounding writing out of the fray. I havenít talked with him in a while, seeing as I’m in Wisconsin and he‘s in Colorado, so I’d be interested to see what he has to say about the whole ending.
If you think the ending was rushed, you should have been here. I cut pages, chapters, to make the entire thing before my self–imposed November 1 deadline. (November, I’m did National Novel Writing Month, I said. Not before your college apps, my mom said. Still working on that one!). Anyway, you’re probably bored already, so I’ll spice things up a little with some character stuff.
Zach, obviously, is based on me. I‘ve always been a fan of adventure (I went off to boarding school!) and so seeing myself do cool things like summon swords out of midair is really fun for me. You might call it self–appeasing, and it is, but I tried to write him so that anyone would see him as themself. I tried to write him as just an average kid who gets pulled along into this. I really want anyone who reads this to imagine themselves as Zach, and I think I got an inkling of success there, I'm hoping even with the females out there. Comics aren't just for boys. His hair is blond, to represent the fact that he‘s still young, and getting pulled along into this is his "coming of age" trial. When he awakes in the hospital, he is 21, and legally an adult in America. I originally had something about him visiting a psychologist in the last chapter, but I lost it and never felt motivated enough to put it back in.
Ben is based on a person I considered my best friend for years. It doesn’t really come across enough, but Ben is definitely more popular, more cool, than Zach. I think I may have subconsciously written this as a way of getting back at this friend for being more awesome than me all through middle school. Actually, no, I consciously wrote Ben that way at the beginning, and got too far along to go back and change it.
Kaylah is the one character that didn’t really keep her design throughout the entire process (which took almost exactly two years); she went from being a karate chick to a karate chick with some character. I like to think of her has being my current girlfriend, Greta, because Kaylah is strong and graceful, and would be able to better defend herself from a wraith than Zach (Read: I) would.
Maser was originally a giant being made of molten lead and lashed together with the bones of innocents... and then I was a lazy lazy artist and decided to make him a skinny guy in a robe with some sort of priest’s shoulder–thingy. Whatever. Also, his hair disappears between his first two appearances and the last chapter. Oops.
Alton I like as a character and the scene of his transformation always makes me smile. He’s the old–mentor–that–dies cliche that I used before I got all into this anti–cliche mode that I’m working with for NaNoWriMo. I didn’t realize he looked like a Pac–man ghost until someone pointed it out, and then it was too late. But he could totally beat up those other ghosts.
Jonathan Pascal (The guy who jumps off the roof) was going to appear in Scott and my next big novel, See No Evil, but Scott wrote that one on his own, so you’ll have to ask him to read it. I haven’t even seen it yet. He keeps telling me he’ll send it to me...
Boulder Colorado is the setting of the story because that’s where I grew up, and it is the most awesome place I have ever been. The atmosphere of the place is just amazing, and I have a lot of friends who live there. Because so many of these friends (read: readers) live in Boulder, I felt like putting it this hometown of ours would make it more fun for them, as they might be able to recognize the locations. I hope one of them rides the bus to school on mornings and goes through the bus station where the final fight was held.
So, all in all, an amazing experience. I have a few thank–yous to give out, so bear with me.
First off, to my parents, for supporting me throughout this entire thing, even though it affected my grades, because they knew that I was doing something that I loved. That and they bought me an amazing WACOM tablet that is seriously awesome. Seriously.
To Scott, for being there with me to check my cheeziness-factor and put some pretty funny jokes into the mix.
To my friends who read the comic from the beginning, because I know I‘ve put them through some pretty bad writing and it’s great to know that I have at least some people who read my comic...
To my readers, new and old, because it’s for you that I’ve made this entire comic. I‘m not currently taking donations, so it’s really really free for you to read and enjoy. Thank you guys (and girls!) for reading through my comics, and more importantly, through all of this ranting. I know it‘s a lot.
Not much else to say in this last, great, final blurb. It was tons of fun and I look forward to starting Fish Food 3.0 sometime after I've applied to college!
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