And what better way to commemorate the occasion than with the near drowning of one of the central characters....
I really like Rhapsody. She's sort of like the daughter I never had. Writing the opening where she gets swept off the boat and nearly drowns was very hard to do. But actually drawing it out was really disturbing. The next pages, where she's lost in the ocean, didn't help. I actually felt ill drawing that. I couldn't wait to get to the pages where Melody and Marina come to rescue her.
My book isn't just black and white. It's monochromatic. Since I don't play with gray shades, I had to figure out how to depict nighttime darkness in Rhapsody's bedroom. I opted for black with white outlines. I use an inkbrush for Chinese watercolors, which covers a lot of area but costs you a bit in accuracy (I had to digitally touch up the pages where Rhapsody is lost in the ocean because of little flecks on the panel borders the brush made, and that's even with using brush tip pens to create a buffer around the page elements). I needed precision, so I used ink pens with brush tips. I must have gone through five or six of them by the time I had the issue finished.
In a way, the story is the legacy of the original idea when Sound Waves was a video game idea. There, it was a curse brought upon by the death of an otter. I thought about also using the black volcano rocks of Hawaii to start a story, the whole cursed rock and Tiki god thing. In fact, I had started working on a mock-up of a cover for that. After a while, though, I realized the two stories were too similar to really justify including them both in such a relatively short span of time. The cursed rock was the easiest to work out from a story perspective, as the otter one would have required more books with more pages. So, otters got the thumb and the cursed rock stayed in the game.
The rock is introduced relatively late, more out of preference on my part. I couldn’t really think of how to lead the issue off with it without making it contrived. So, Todd acting uncharacteristically worried in general and about Rhapsody in particular was my hint of bigger things going on. That said, I enjoyed drawing the scene where he apologizes and Rhapsody tries to talk him down. They’re brother and sister. They tease, fight, annoy, and pick on each other. But when it comes down to it, they really do love each other.
My favorite bit to draw was the part where Rhapsody presents to rock for Melody to examine. Melody freaks, the entire pod gets their asses out of Dodge, and Rhapsody gets that “Oh, fuck!” look on her face. I just think the image is just priceless.
The issue's a two parter. I'll talk more when the next issue hits and the Big Secrets are revealed.