At this point I was struggling to keep UTC on schedule. I took a month-long break, during which I formed a creative partnership with my friend Josh. We both had comics in the works at the time, and we kept ourselves fresh by trading art chores. I inked his comic while he colored mine. Josh colored the rest of the pages in Phase One.
Starting with this page, I changed the official name from Urgent Transformation Crisis to UTC, re-appropriating “Urgent Transformation Crisis” as a subtitle. I created a new, stylized three-letter logo, which is displayed at the bottom of the page.
From here on, the word balloons have more appealing curved pointers.
The page dress (credits, title, etc.) was changed dramatically. The border at the top was removed in favor of a black stub at the very bottom containing all the page information. Because UTC became a two-man operation, story, art and coloring credits were added.
Readers are robbed of a drawn-out transformation sequence, as we’ve jumped several hours ahead. I fought with myself over depicting their changes while they slept. (Flint would try to stay awake but the changes are happening so slowly he’d eventually nod off.) For the sake of surprising readers with their final forms, I ultimately decided to skip right to the reveal.
This was the very first strip to be made. I wanted to pin down the aspects of Cass’ goat character design, and also to determine a comfortable format and style for the strip that would work for both comedic and dramatic effect. This was planned to be the first dramatic scene in the series. (After creating this strip I ended up expanding the introductory scenes into a whole chapter.)
This was the inspiration for the very first strip in the series, which I would draw next. Both have silhouettes of a character in bed leading to a reveal at the end. However, where Flint’s was a tease, this strip really does feature the end result of a transformation.
The Turtles on a Kayak poster was just a cheap gag, but ended up starting a running joke where all movies mentioned in the series with animals in the titles had those animals replaced with something else.
This strip marks the beginning of my first ongoing comic project to be made in full color. Certain strips of Evil Jim were tinted or used limited splashes of color, but the primary format of the comic was black and white.
When this strip was made, the concept of chapters was not yet established. As production went on and the early plotlines were being formed, I decided to subdivide the series. I chose this strip to begin the second chapter, since it comes after the falling action of the fundraiser events and kick-starts the first major conflict of the series.
This strip had two working titles: “The Worst Part of Waking Up”, and “Get Your Freak Out”. When I decided to make the “Freak” title the umbrella name for Chapter 2, I had to come up with another one on short notice, which ended up being “The New You”.
Flint is having a little fun fantasizing about suffering a fate similar to the main character of Franz Kafka’s short story, “Metamorphosis”.
The first line that Flint speaks is a reference to the first line in Unfamiliar Reflection, UTC’s spiritual predecessor.
(The main character in that series was also unwittingly transformed.)
UTC’s strips and pages are numbered using Roman numerals because of my organizational habits. There are many different computer files that make up each strip and page of UTC, and they all need to be numbered identically for easy identification. During the comic’s first year, I produced the strips out of continuity order, and I didn’t know at first exactly where each strip would fall into place. I had to number the comics somehow, so I assigned each one a “production code” in the order in which I made them. (ex: “UTC002” means it is the second comic created, not the second in story order.)
To prevent myself from getting mixed up with two identical sets of numbers, I decided to use Roman numerals when numbering the comics in chronological order. (After Phase One the production and chronological numbers almost always synced up with one another, but I kept using the Roman numerals out of tradition.)
The reason the comics were made out of order in the first place was because I wanted to work out how certain scenes would go. I was also concerned about the very first dozen strips being of poorer quality than strips I would make once I got used to drawing the characters. I thought that a “staggered” approach would hide the quality differences. In hindsight, this was self-defeating, as I eventually changed the format of the comic from a block of six panels to a full page with varying panel sizes. This is why the strips/pages for Chapters 1 and 2 vary in size seemingly at random.