Just as I was finishing the drawings for this page, I remembered this was just two days after Morty’s feeding frenzy (on page CLXXIX). I altered him slightly to show that he hadn’t shed all of the weight yet.
If I had more space in this chapter, we would have seen Mike and Ainsley in their own subplot, involving the way Flint behaves around them and Mike’s bid for the council seat. Ultimately, I could only bring them back into the story toward the end.
Because parts of this subplot were inspired by my high school experiences, Flint’s junior high looks a lot like the one I went to.
I had named the black-haired kid back on page CLXXIII. Mike calls him Kyle. That was done at the very last minute (while I was making the word balloons) and was not in the actual script, and I never went back to add it TO the script. By the time I got to this page, I had completely forgotten he already had a name, so I named him James.* I failed to fix this mistake before the comic was printed, so his character officially has two first names: Kyle James.
* I named him James because, if this comic ever had a character named after me, he should be someone with qualities opposite mine. After years of self-inserting my own character into comics, I figured it was about time to turn that on its head.
Rameses finally goes feral after his long transformation. The reason it happens to him at this particular point is never brought up in the comic itself. By focusing completely on running, he tapped into his growing cheetah instincts, making it all too easy for what was left of his human mind to slip and allowing the wild cheetah to take over
Side note: It was during production of these pages that I was building the basics of this very website! Talk about laying a railroad while the train’s already moving.
This is one of my favorite pages in the series, because of the challenge it presented and the way it finally turned out.
This begins the chapter’s big action sequence. In these pages I needed to communicate a lot of information visually…a pleasant turn from dumping info via word balloons. The entire page was a challenge. In the previous page we didn’t get to see just how dangerously high up the bleachers were. In trying to figure out a way to show this, I realized that there had to be something that drew the attention of the students to Flint. I then decided Flint could drop the device, and that it would make banging sounds as it fell. That’s when the skeleton of the page came together. After that it was a matter of arranging the panels so that the reader’s eye could follow all the simultaneous events vertically down the page without being confused about where to look next.
My only hang-up regarding this page is that the angle at which I drew the bottom left panel’s border makes it look like the other edge of the race track, making the entire panel look like it’s part of the large bleacher panel. I thickened the border some more after realizing it, but if I had caught it sooner I would have changed the angle of that border entirely.
It was tough figuring out exactly how Cass would deal with Noah and Flint’s secrecy. I wrote two versions of the scene, one where she was very understanding and calmly expressed disappointment, and another one where she aggressively called Noah out in front of Jen and the rest of their class. I went with a blend, where she’s clearly angry, but she’s forcing herself to stay rational and direct because she knows there is a chance Flint could get into trouble any second.
Cass says here that she noticed Flint’s samples while in Noah’s lab on page LXXXIX. I included that line because Cass never got her sleuthing scenes, which I talked about in the commentary to the page before this, so it was a way of “showing her work”.