Though we first saw him in full a few pages ago, to me this page is the first real appearance of this new character, Geoff.

I’ve written about his inspiration before––basing the character on my small, hardy, weathered, and goofy father-in-law, also named Jeff––and how the character went from being an in-joke with my wife to an uncomfortable totem after Jeff passed away in February of 2019.

The very first drawing of Geoff, drawn in December 2015.

I have been forced to confront my feelings on the strange burden this character carries––aside from all the other stuff he literally carries––a few times while making the chapter. When I wrote the Sketch Friday about him, I had just finished drawing and inking the initial run of pages he appears in (spoiler alert?), and the experience left me emotionally drained. Since then, I’ve passed over those scenes multiple times––scripting these pages, adding flat colors, shading them, and lettering them––and each time the “Jeff” of the situation became subsumed by the “Geoff” of the story.

That isn’t to say the inspiration is gone or forgotten––obviously not, since I’m writing about him here––but there’s something different about putting lines on paper that give him the wrinkles around the eyes, or the crooked toothless smile that I’d seen so many times before, and making sure his words help the scene or blanketing him with the same four colors I use on every other character. With each pass, Geoff became more a part of the world instead of an avatar for an emotional and sudden loss.



The thumbnail layout for this page. Admittedly, this one might be hard to figure out; it’s pretty messy.