Including Cass and Noah was almost an afterthought. Rather than draw more panels of Jen talking, I decided the final page of Phase One should feature Cass somehow. Noah’s offer to go with her to the store adds a touch to their budding relationship.
I’ve had an idea in my head for a minicomic about their experience going to the store to buy nuts. One of these days I might do something with it.
Jen’s mention of a new class sets up Phase Two without requiring a cliffhanger ending. During the rewrites, I had gone back and forth about using a cliffhanger. I didn’t want to end the story abruptly, but I also didn’t want to tie up every single thread with no sign of how the story would go forward. Jen’s foreshadowing was a great compromise.
This is the longest chapter to date, coming in at 30 pages. Initially, I planned for a “normal-sized” 14-page chapter, followed by a 14-page Chapter 5, which would have been a stand-alone adventure. (That’s the teddy bear story I mentioned in the commentary for page LXXV.) During the rewrites, I realized that Keris’ dilemma, Cass and Noah’s relationship, and other existing plot threads needed to be given proper attention. I decided to throw out Chapter 5 and give all of its pages to Chapter 4. So now Phase One begins and ends with giant-size chapters that encompass the complete first story arc of the series.
When writing Sinbad for this scene, I had to remember this was the same character who didn’t seem bothered that his daughter was changed into a poodle monster at the fundraiser. I had to make him appear concerned, yet also fascinated by his family’s transformations.
While writing Jen’s sudden change into a were-poodle for this chapter, I became concerned the storyline was starting to trivialize situations of mortal danger. I decided to address this by writing this monologue for Jen.
This is the only page in Phase One that does not feature any main characters. (At the time the only main characters were Cass, Flint and Morty.)
Cass and Noah’s first kiss was planned to come some time in Phase Two, but I felt the readers should see more progress on the relationship after it took so long for Chapter 4 to finish. It also follows the thesis of Jen’s words to Cass on page LXIII.
The prospect of drawing two kissing panels was intimidating enough that I set this page aside to work on at the very end, so I could concentrate on doing it right.
Because it was produced last, this is actually the final page that Josh colored for UTC under our original collaborative deal. The comic that I inked for him was later completed and we successfully sold copies of both our comics together at New York Comic Con 2011.
Cass’ words in panel 5 are the only dialogue that remained in the second half of the script through most of this chapter’s rewrites. Jen was originally the one who asked her how she was feeling, and it was actually an entirely different scene at first, but I liked this part of the dialogue so much I made sure to find ways to keep it in the script after every revision.
Cass originally gave Morty a speech before accepting his apology, to express the recurring theme of responsibility and how it applies to his character arc. I knew something wasn’t right when I rewrote the speech ten times and it still didn’t seem to work. Now the two panels that featured the speech are silent. I redrew Cass’ facial expression in panel 7 to create a moment of drama before she gives her acceptance. Sometimes silence says more than words ever can.