Shaenon: Thought I’d share some thumbnails for this storyline. Everyone likes thumbnails, right?

The great thing about Moustachio is that he’s exactly the same in the sketches as he is in the final artwork, except that I break out the circle template for the finals. Not a complex character design.

Note that I changed the number of missing Guardsmen from six to three. That way I only have to draw half as many Guardsmen.

Yeah, so sometimes I have to rewrite stuff a lot. I like how Unity had this whole long line in the first panel that got cut down to, “Alaska! Bah!” Hemingway would approve. I love this strip (especially the final version, which has some nice extra details in the art) for about six different reasons, none of which, alas, have anything to do with whether it’s actually funny. Anything with Chris, Marcie, and/or Nick delights me to a really stupid degree.


That hat’s even better than the hat I ended up using!

Channing: Sarge and I are both writers at heart, it’s just that she can both write *and* draw, and me… well, I refer you back to AsLan. One of these days, I think it would be fun to do a “Channing Draws the Strip” week, a la “Family Circus”. And of course by “fun”, I mean “horrifying to a degree not yet experienced by man”.

Anyway, speaking from my own perspective, a lot of cutting goes on between the moment I conceive of a line on paper and the time I submit it to Shaenon in script form. By then, it’s usually still too long, and so it gets even more trimming to fit the final product. It’s certainly a challenge to keep hitting all your marks as the words get steadily whittled away, to condense all the content you originally wanted to include into the hard three-to-five panel limit — especially when you want to always end on something you can at least pretend is a funny line. When it works, it’s a triumph unlike anything I ever experienced as a prose writer. When it doesn’t, I, um, give it to Shaenon, who proceeds to make it work in ways I never imagined. Lawks, but it’s great to have a partner upon whom to foist the hard stuff.

Shaenon: Oh, I am way into Channing Draws the Strip Week.