There is no doubt that Hellrider Jackie is pretty cool. She’s got a fun design and an ominous presence and, in comics, that could be enough to let her get by. I think of her as being very closely related to Long John, though, and I really wanted to develop the logic to her mission, skewed though it may be and judged by any rational person as being rather illogical. It’s important that it makes sense to her.

I’ve developed a lot with these characters beforehand, but when it comes to sitting down and working out scenes or chapters and thinking within certain page ranges and plot needs, I tend to practice a form of what Composition teachers call “pre-writing” or, as you may be able to guess, the writing you do before you actually start “writing.” The “writing” in this case being the final product and genre that the author is creating. The pre-writing is about idea-generation and getting those ideas out and onto the page. It’s something I discuss thoroughly with my students. One pre-writing tactic is called “freewriting” where you set an arbitrary time-limit and just write non-stop until the end bell. Even if you have nothing to say at the start, you simply begin by writing “I have nothing to say.” Just write. More often than not, your brain will take you where you need to go, it’s just about figuring out how to focus it. Words are cheap, spend them freely. I tend to do this in handwriting in a tiny notebook and it takes me about a page to hit the kernel I was looking for, even if it was unexpected.

When I sat down to work out “Save the Bones,” I hand-wrote about four pages-worth of garbage. After stopping and looking back at it, I found––buried in the middle––the lines that really helped coagulate this story for me: “She has a goal but doesn’t really know how to accomplish it. She’s too disconnected. Long John is an observer of nature; Jackie reacts.”

Specifically, the idea of being disconnected really stuck with me. It doesn’t mean she’s a monster or a bad person, but she doesn’t know how to put pieces together socially or logically. Instead of a face she wears a skull, that is a face without skin, muscles, or nerves. She tries to connect by touching things, but those things are distinctly not people––they are burned-down buildings or locomotives, things which are not alive. For a person so motivated but so disconnected, how can she actually accomplish anything? I don’t know, but it’s quite a fun story to tell.

Josh’s Notes

There is not much going on here. It’s a pretty straight-forward page.

Original art by Josh Tobey.

Original art by Josh Tobey.