This is UTC’s first two-page spread! I have to find some way to display 228 and 229 on the site in a way that doesn’t break the site format.
Normally when an artist draws a two-page spread, they lay out the entire thing at once. I didn’t. I actually stumbled onto this format while drawing page 228, which was supposed to be a regular page like all the others. I realized the arcing panels at the top could be continued onto the next page to follow the trajectory of the animals, keeping that part of the action distinctly separate from what was happening elsewhere in the cafeteria but still easy to read. Demetrius was falling, so I knew his panel had to be the lowest one spatially. That left me with the question of what to throw in the top-right, and I came up with the blast to the face for poor panda guy. An unfortunate side-effect is that the extension of the final panel on page 228 leaves the bottom-left of this page pretty bare when broken off from its counterpart. But, like I said, this was a haphazard spread. I’m surprised it turned out this decent.
It took a few sketches before I found a falling posture that looked good and dangerous. I tried for a more realistic “slipped down” look with his feet leading, but it just looked like he was jumping. So I flipped his body all the way around, with the insinuation that Keris’ tail hung on for a bit while Demetrius’ upper body fell forward. I wanted it to look obvious he is not going to have a safe landing.
That’s an uninteresting tidbit, but that’s all I got for this page and I had to write something!
I didn’t intend to have a background in Panel 1 while I drew it. During the coloring stage, I saw how blank the backdrop looked compared to having the foreground pieces (the hints of the machine Ken’s group is building). I also realized that it isn’t super obvious that Ash is breaking through the upper level windows. So I threw some color in the BG and added Ash’s silhouette.
All series I’ve been looking for a way to showcase Demetrius’ “genetic warfare” devices. We’ve seen his biological weapons before, but not any of their delivery systems until now. Aaaaand…it’s basically a tee-shirt cannon.
This is the first actual use of Morty’s (and Noah’s) transformation ray since the final chapter of Phase One. I kept it away from the students in Phase Two because it’s kind of a miraculous device. It healed Jen’s mortal wounds after transforming her into a were-poodle and back again, and with the kind of dangers the kids face every chapter, it would have become the dreaded deus ex machina of this series. At that point I started coming up with the germ of the story that’s unfolding here, where the ray is at the crux of villain Ken’s ambitions, and created the subplot that ran through Phase Two where Jen had confiscated the ray to prevent this kind of misuse.
All of Katsuko’s bears are designed to protect children, so I figured it would make sense if some of them were capable of acting as baby monitors.
This page takes its title from the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “The Changing Face of Evil.”
I like having a varied pool of background characters that can develop into contributing characters. July started as a friend of Keris’ to fit a single scene in “New Tricks,” and over the next few chapters she’s had a supporting role in establishing Ken’s plot. Obviously she’s gone from being somewhat supportive of Ken’s group to being so against it that she’s helping to thwart them. And she’s only had three pages in total devoted to this across four chapters. These types of storytelling tricks are still new to me, but I realize I should have been using them far earlier.
I hadn’t intended for Jen to be wearing pantyhose, but this felt like a great way to show how much she’s shrunk. From what I’ve heard, women sometimes wear hose under pants for comfort or insulation, and considering there is a full-on winter storm outside, it seemed pretty plausible.
I was a bit iffy on Keris’ self-defeating attitude here. It feels almost like a step back from her growth in “New Tricks,” but given the crushing circumstances and the fact that she doesn’t have an invention that can be used against Ken, I believe her decision to stay out of the fight is appropriate for this stage of her character arc.