As stated in the first “Long John Primer” that was posted even before the comic went live––the “Long John Primers” being four articles covering the four main inspirations for the development of the comic––one of the main inspirations for this comic is its setting, the Mono Basin in the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountain range that marks the boundary between California and Nevada.

Only a few of the buildings in Bodie are standing wholly on their own accord. All photos taken during a 2018 visit.

Though it hasn’t yet been a major setting for a scene of the comic, the whole region, at the time, revolved around the big mining town of Bodie. The town has been brought up at least a few times in the comic, acting more as a specter hovering over the entire story. At the risk of spoiling things, Bodie will most definitely be a major feature in the latter half of the comic in a more physical sense as opposed to the more ethereal presence it has held up until now. Bodie is what actually brought me to the region, and it’s from that epicenter that I circled outward and fell in love with the entire basin.

Even though, it hasn’t featured in the comic yet, the research of and time spent in Bodie has completely informed every other aspect of the comic. If you haven’t been, it’s a wonderful and strange place. A ghost town, it is elevated above others because, first, it is a state park. Second, it is preserved in a state of “arrested decay,” meaning that it hasn’t been “restored” to how it looked during its heyday with people in costume walking around pretending to be old timey cowboys. Instead, any restoration and preservation is done to keep it in the state that it was in when it became a state park––half falling-over, rotted, and dusty.

Most buildings, however, need a bit of assistance.

Being a state park, it falls under the purview of the protection of the park rangers, who must monitor and protect it year-round. This is especially difficult during the winter when the region––especially Bodie––gets buried in snow. While it is hidden by climate and inaccessibility, it is still technically open to the public (tenacious skiers can still access the park), necessitating the consistent presence of a ranger.

To that end, being the assigned ranger for Bodie during the winter is surely a lonely and unappreciated job. So, when journalist Rick Paulas spent some time with ranger Taylor Jackson, chronicling his time at Bodie during winters, the resulting article provides a really interesting look at an incredible place like Bodie during a time of the year when it’s most forgotten.