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Sound Waves #2 Is Out!



Whew!  Next one is done.  On to #3...

#2 actually makes a major logistic shift from my original idea.  When I first conceived the series, I was going to play the "music is magic" angle and how the music of the mermaids affects the water (there's an artifact of this in issue #1, when Melody says the ocean waves are the results of the mermaids singing).  The plot for #2 wasn't as important to me so much as the mechanics of getting Rhapsody in the water while still being able to speak and without having to put her in scuba gear any time the plot shifted under the ocean.

The plan all along was one of the elements from when the series was a video game idea -- Rhapsody would sing a song that acted like a magic spell, enabling her to survive under the water without air or worrying about compression.  She would discover it, and there would be a two or three page sequence showing her swimming and reveling in this new ability.  According to myth, mermaids can sing and are found sitting on rocks when they do so.  Ergo, they have lungs, so I needed some way to explain how they could romp with the fishies that could also apply to Rhapsody (so mermaids having lungs and gills like Kevin Costner in Fishtar...I mean, Waterworld was inadequate).  When Sound Waves shifted from a couple of ideas to something I thought I could make a series out of, the "music is magic" angle was explained as how the merpeople controlled the water, enabling them to slip through it for super speedy travel (which was the lynchpin for the upcoming issue #9), manipulate the waves to give them form...

And then, I remembered Michael Turner.

Let me first say that I get very nervous talking about Michael Turner.  Turner was a comic penciller and the founder of Aspen Studios.  He died of cancer at the age of 39.  I have NEVER seen anyone that relatively young in the comic industry get such an outpouring of love and respect from the business.  As a result, I get very nervous talking about him because I don't want to seem like I'm talking smack or dumping on the guy.  See, I just didn't like the way he drew women.  He rendered them too anorexic-looking for my tastes.  I do respect the guy, his work just didn't appeal to me.  So please don't think I'm trying to inflate my sense of self at his expense.

Anyway, Turner's biggest claim to fame was the creation of the comic series Fathom.  It's about a woman named Aspen who is actually descended from a race of undersea beings.  Not only can she breathe and such underwater, but she can psychically manipulate water to give it form and movement....

That paragraph illustrates the problem -- basically, I had created Fathom Jr., with Rhapsody in the role of Aspen.  I began a hasty rewrite to come up with some other explanation and clamp very hasty limitations on the powers of the music.  I was still going to emphasize the music angle (the series IS called Sound Waves, after all), and the harmonizing water inside and outside the body was the best thing I could come up with that still had some kind of originality to it and wouldn't put me off-deadline.  I admit, it's kind of lame, and has some logistic problems of its own.  On the bright side, it inspired a couple more story ideas, so it worked out pretty good.  And it's part of the reason the "Rhapsody as Green Lantern" pic makes me smirk, because her music almost worked out that way.

Yes, the boat's name, the Jalapeno, is a reference to MythBusters.  In fact, if you saw the outtakes from the Ping Pong Salvage Myth, you'll likely guess how the issue ends long before the reveal on the final page.  Once again, my focus wasn't on the story so much as laying groundwork for the rest of the series.  Speaking of laying groundwork, the original idea for the series was just Rhapsody and Melody hanging out under the waves and exploring.  Partway into writing the script for #2, I thought people would not buy Melody as a solitary mermaid (especially when, in the first issue, she specifically references her parents).  I was already planning on introducing another mermaid in #3, so I created the trio at the beginning and end as an indication that Melody is actually part of some society.

I did enjoy drawing page 8, where Melody gets a little pissed at Rhapsody.  I am constantly worried that the characters will be seen as Mary Sues, so I think it's important to show them at the very least disagreeing once in a while.  After all, they are friends, not clones of each other.

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