During this four-week run, I’ll make a stand-along post about the long history of Hellrider Jackie as a character. In a sense, she’s been in my sketchbook longer than Long John. What I can say is that the original form of Hellrider Jackie was conceived with Josh Tobey, the artist of this Hellrider Jackie story.

For those concerned with continuity, this takes place basically concurrently with the end of “Sunza,” as one can see that the sunset is nearly over.

I’m not sure if I’ve said it before, but I only “wrote” this story out once Josh was on board. Had he not decided to do this, there would still be a Jackie story, but it would be incredibly different. Having grown up internalizing his style and watching it grow, I wrote this specific story for Josh’s style. As anyone would probably agree, our styles are very different. It was interesting––and sometimes frightening––to watch our artistic styles grow apart, both resulting from the changes in our lives as well as the coagulation of our own artistic goals. I will admit that, though we were still close friends that could talk about art all night, I wondered if there was any intersection with our art anymore, or were we on two completely different highways, so to speak.

With that in mind, this was the first time I’d written for another artist, and though Josh’s style is very different from my own, the “script” I sent him was in the form of layouts. I basically gave him free-reign to interpret the layouts how he wanted. He made some smart deviations along the way, bringing his own sensibilities––the sensibilities I wanted him to bring to Long John––into the mix, I feel like it was in the in-panel compositions that I found the intersection of our very different styles.

While scripting the layouts, labored over the in-panel compositions the most. I wanted them to be striking, meaningful, and carry a specific narrative thread throughout. Even though these layouts are digital scribbles, they were arduous for me as I tried to synthesize the story I wanted to tell with the style of Josh’s that I had internalized over the entirety of our friendship. For all the unique style and detail and unique storytelling Josh brings to the comic––again, which is what I wanted more than anything else––I was impressed with how much of my layouts he kept. Knowing him, if he wanted to change it, he would––he’s a very gut-feeling artist in the sketching stage, waiting to for the composition to click with his innate sensibilities. Despite all the deviations and left turns our respective styles and artistic endeavors have taken us, we have a similar sense for visual storytelling. That’s when I knew that my hunch was right about bringing Josh on board to help tell Jackie’s story.

Josh’s Notes:

So, this is my attempt at one of the pages of Long John. After D. sent me the page roughs, my thoughts were flowing. I don’t know if it shows or not, but I didn’t really put much planning into the composition of the page. I had the general needs that I needed to stay within, but I just sketched for a bit and went in with ink. At least half of the page was sketched with ink. [In a sense], it was literally made up until it worked.

Uncolored line art by Josh Tobey.

Uncolored line art by Josh Tobey. (click to enlarge)