This is another time when I take some severe license with an actual place and its history.

Today, Bridgeport is kind of the “big city” of the Mono basin; back in Long John’s time, it was definitely a big deal, but it was nowhere near the prosperous metropolis (I’m exaggerating a bit) of Bodie up the mountain. The town is situated at the base of the mountain trail that leads up to Bodie, so Bridgeport acts kind of its sister city––the last stop before people head up the hill.

While I did base the first panel off of more recent layouts of Bridgeport (finding images from the late 19th century of this area has proven quite difficult), the major change I made was in the big old building that this unidentified character is walking to. As of 1881, the biggest building in the town––the Mono County Courthouse––was in the process of being built (you can see it under construction in the right column), and this big old hotel toward the west end of town never existed.

It’s a hotel that belongs to a character called The Rook, and I wanted it to be monolithic. I had the image of a figure walking up some steps and is dwarfed by the towering entryway, like something out of a Poe story. I got that part, at least, but the final panel is one of the few panels I look at and think, “If given another shot, I could do better.” As with everything, you have to call it “good enough” sometimes in order to move on. By no means do I look at every other panel I draw and think that it’s perfect, but I have learned the skill of seeing that it does more good than bad. As long as it’s clear enough for the reader to understand, then I’ve done my job. And it was by that metric that I put my pencil and pen down on that panel.

I will say that as daunting as this page was to draw, I am really happy with the mood it sets and the questions it begs the reader to ask and, in that alone, it’s a success.