Saturday, February 06, 2010

The Making of Torex

For a little over a year, I've been working on a webcomic called 'Supernova Lullaby.' The basic premise is to show the everyday problems of another galaxy, centered around a group of friends; the shy and neurotic Froiberg, the scientific genius Ogglethorpe, the overconfident Hurster, and his girlfriend the sweet but feisty Meranda. However, over the course of this time, the series has accrued its fair share of supporting characters, each with their own personality traits and distinct back stories.

One of these is Meranda's ex-boyfriend Torex. Torex has a become a central character in the current storyline 'Alien-kind's Best Friend.' Recently, I felt it necessary to remind the readers of the comic of the connection between Meranda and Torex, and when I linked to the previous comics that he appeared in, I happened upon the realization that his character design is now dramatically different.
Above is the first appearance of both Torex and Meranda, from the fifth installment of 'Supernova.' And below is the second appearance of Torex from the seventh week, where we witness Meranda's break-up with him.
This is how Torex appears now.
This is a pretty dramatic difference, even though several elements are similar. His neck still merges with his head, except his cranium is now wider. His nose is the same, and his hair is still composed of spikes, though they are drastically shorter than before. The most obvious change is the removal of the third eye.

So, what happened? What made me change his design and features? Why didn't I hold true to my previous rendering of the character. I think the following sketch holds a clue:
This was a sketch I drew at the Philadelphia Alternative Comic-Con back in September 2009. At the time, I was just beginning to think about the story for 'Alien-kind's Best Friend,' and I knew Torex was going to play a big part. I also knew that I wasn't terribly happy with Torex's previous design, and so I sought to change it. And this is where it all came together for me. The other thing that caused the change was 8 months, the time from when I first drew the character to the beginning of 'Alien-Kind's Best Friend.' In that span of time, I started thinking about the different kinds of aliens that made up this galaxy, and I wasn't sure how to make Torex's previous rendering fit in.
Am I just trying to let myself off the hook for this? Kind of. Should I have been more faithful to the continuity? Probably. But I think one of the great things about this series (which is still a very young series) is seeing how these characters develop, from both the storytelling and aesthetic aspects. And I think I recognized that I would need to change Torex in order to make him more appealing to draw. As I heard Scott McCloud say one time, if you're going to draw a character over and over, you better like to draw that character.

I hope that's reason enough.