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.
This chapter originally launched in November 2015 with this single page. Shortly after posting, I had some serious issues with my ability to complete pages in a timely manner and was unhappy with the overall look of the page.
Eventually I redrew the middle section of the page and improved the backgrounds, adding some subtle textures.
This is the very first time the primary building of Attic High is seen in full. I hadn’t ever designed the complete structure, so the layout was cobbled together from what few exterior shots existed prior to this point, and I attempted to make the building match the established interiors as well. Then I covered almost the entire drawing in snow so you can barely see it. Surprisingly, this ended up being the easiest of all the panels on this page.
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.
When I was a kid I wanted there to be a day where things in school just went nuts, like they would on television. Shows would have an episode every so often where some disaster or quirky thing would happen that would affect everyone for an episode. The power could go out, or due to flooding everybody would be trapped in one room together, or some other extremely awkward or gimmicky situation. I enjoyed seeing a familiar location get thrown into chaos, because it temporarily pushed aside status quo and caused the characters to behave differently than we’ve ever seen them.
My point is, Flint is literally living his days like this and I’m a little envious of him.
The orange “telephone receivers” are cellular destabilizers. They were first seen in “Day of the Dork”, where Gareth (the guy holding Cass) used them against were-poodle Keris. I added them into the establishing shot of the advanced equipment room on a whim, presuming that Jen would have a problem with a teenager creating a portable device that could literally break apart living tissue. (It also helps explain why Gareth is working with Ken in the first place.) On this page, Ken originally subdued Cass with a taser he kept in his pocket. I thought that idea was too “normal”, and when I realized that the destabilizers were right there on the shelf, I drew the page to show Ken moving into the room, where he could reach for them quickly.