Founder and principal of Attic High, the leading private science-focused high school in the country. Is constantly awed and apprehensive about the achievements of her students.
This is a feature I’ve been interested in for a couple of years. As we inch closer and closer to the time UTC takes place, I want to find opportunities to reference the time period and examine how the comic world sets itself up based upon our actual reality. (The proliferation of CRISPR has been fortuitous!)
For example, Flint has a poster for Avengers: Infinity War Part II on his bedroom wall. I drew that shortly after the movie was announced for 2019…but Marvel recently announced the movie will be retitled, so that actually ended up being a bad call on my part.
Anyway, I’ve been consciously avoiding directly addressing the year in the comic itself, and have been holding off on making it official in case I ever decided to change the year, but at this point the hints I’ve placed in the comic have set the fact in stone. UTC takes place in the year 2020.
So where are we right now? With the 2017 school year beginning, I realized that this is the year Cass and her classmates would begin their four-year stint at Attic High! So here we have a little news clipping about the school. It’s supposed to be a fresh, modern building with the latest technology, but it has to be at least old enough for Cass and co to actually use it, so here we are. Today is officially the students’ first day!
I was hoping to get this drawn up for last Tuesday, the official start of the school year here in my town, but of course stuff happened. I’ll attribute the delay in the comic universe to the construction needing a few extra days to get completed and get official approval for opening.
And if you’re wondering whether we will eventually catch up to the comic’s timeline, I am strongly hoping I can finish off Phase Three before we hit October 2020. UTC is supposed to take place in the “not-too-distant future,” and I have every intention of keeping it that way.
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.
The final panel should technically only include “Attic’s Six” because Cass is alluding to the ethics class only. But Flint had arrived with the others and I couldn’t leave him out of the group shot for something this dramatic. He’s much too closely involved with all that’s going on to be left out. Thirteen, less so, so I chose to exclude her even though it seems unfair since I already made that one exception.
The full concept for Katsuko’s bears was originally developed to be its own full story, but it got shelved early in UTC’s lifespan and I’ve had to resort to dealing aspects of the bears out piecemeal whenever there is an opportunity.
I don’t usually like seeing “…” balloons in comics to indicate silence–it seems like it’s overstating the point. Noah wasn’t going to have any speech bubble to indicate that he was gaping silently, but upon reviewing the page, I was worried it would give the impression that I had forgotten to put in a speech bubble. I wonder if that’s why most comics do this sort of thing?
This is the part of the story arc that many writers (particularly screenwriters of action/horror films) hate. At some point you need to assemble all of the various groups and they need to share information with each other that the audience has already learned. It can get clunky and repetitive. Robert Rodriguez brilliantly found a way to skip this section of his film Planet Terror by literally cutting it out and claiming that the theater had misplaced that reel of footage. I have no such fallback option, so I have to just make this as entertaining as possible. Cue crowdsurfing Flint!