The page title comes from the sixth season cliffhanger of Star Trek: The Next Generation. An earlier page was titled “Redemption”, and after a bit I realized that “Redemption” was coincidentally the title of STTNG’s fourth season cliffhanger. I thought “Cool! I can foreshadow the upcoming cliffhanger by naming all of the rest of the pages with Star Trek cliffhanger titles.” But when I looked through my options, there weren’t many that could be used that matched the context of what was going on in the pages. The only one that fit was “Descent”, so that’s all that ended up being used.
The scene in the maintenance room was going to dismiss Morty as useless and then immediately focus on Jen’s worsening problem, but I just had to add a comment about the irony of Cass putting hope in Morty.
With this page I realized that Ken and Kestrel appear to be Magneto/Mystique expys. This was not what I was going for at all. Kestrel being a chameleon made sense as far as her function in the story (a ninja saboteur) while Ken is the end result of how certain entitled individuals with low regard for others would push back against an institution that placed rules on them. I’m not going to deny that Ken and Kestrel have a lot in common with Magneto and Mystique, but they definitely do not have the same interpersonal relationship as we saw in the X-Men films.
The page title is not a true French phrase. It’s a play on “coup d’état”, swapping the French word for “state” with the French word for “school”.
This page is exactly as written in the script, but there was a time in between writing and drawing when I thought I should leave a few panels out and put them on the next page. I drew only 7 panels: the top row and bottom row, and left one giant panel in the middle to depict the scene in the principal’s office.
After drawing the panels, the page looked like it was going to be really empty. I divided the middle panel into three asymmetrical ones, and brought back the part that I was going to push to page CCX. I like the way the page ends. I liked it in the first place. There was just a period of doubt in the middle, which just goes to show it’s always possible to overthink your ideas.
Really, all of UTC is one giant lesson about that.
The first two rows of panels were written for the previous page, with the end panel being the stunned silence of the two students. However, we don’t see Dr. Attic disciplining students much…the only time she did, she was super angry because Morty had turned her own daughter into a giant poodle. So the punchline wouldn’t have come off as strongly as the one about Thirteen pointing to a chameleon on the ceiling, being the only person in the room who even noticed.
UTC has reached a point I’d been waiting for for a long time. With so many different transformations and plots going on, it’s become more natural to write situations where characters can use their “powers” in productive ways. Instead of reworking the story to create an advantage for the main characters, I was able to figure out a way for them to solve the problem that already existed. I had created a problem where nobody could see this girl on the ceiling and I looked through the UTC roster to figure out who could help the most. The answers were Thirteen and Noah. Bam. Pages written.
There were a lot of different directions I could have taken this scene, all revolving around the personalities of Mr. and Mrs. Calloway. At this point I still hadn’t come up with solid characteristics for them. I even worried that the dad’s heavy-handed reaction to Sinbad gave the impression that he’s usually an angry, violent person. He isn’t, he’s just trying to get this rude, bizarre, insensitive man with a camera to leave his family alone.