With the tough drawings behind me, this third page needed to actually introduce the protagonist into the story. More than anything, it allowed me to bring back my favorite running gag in the comic, “two drunk friends.”

They first appeared at the beginning of Chapter 2 outside Lady May’s store having a very good evening:

The first appearance of the “Two Drunk Friends” in Chapter 2.

Drawing crowds is never easy––it’s fun, for sure, but not easy––and it’s always nice to throw in some familiar faces to make the process go a bit faster. So, these two guys also appeared in Chapter 4, in the extreme foreground of the bar as Long John and Geoff are having some serious conversations before things go haywire:

Our friends appear in the extreme foreground, having a very good time at the Broken Barrels Saloon in Dog Town.

Since we are in another bustling town (albeit early in the morning), it only made sense to me that these two chuckleheads would have made their way out to Bridgeport. And so, there they are, in panel three, continuing to have the time of their lives:

As long as there’s a bar, there they shall be.

They aren’t based on anyone that I know. They were pure creations of a moment; a bit of inspiration that allowed me to flesh the world out a bit in Chapter 2, adding some flavor and tone to a brand new locale. I’m not sure what made me bring them back, but I’m glad the thought crossed my mind. With hope, they get at least one more appearance.


These first three pages were the last to be drawn for this chapter. As I said before, I knew I needed some kind of establishing shot, I was just putting it off. But as the deadline came closer, I had a choice to make: because of the manner in which books are printed, I could add one page or I would have to add three. Surely one would have worked, but the cinematic possibilities of having a slow approach on this town––one which had only been previously visited at night, in the rain––intrigued me. Add on to that is the fact that this was starting a new chapter; so, it needed to not only establish the town, it needed to start the story. So, at the absolute last minute, on an “emergency” road trip out to the Mono Basin (it wasn’t really an emergency; but it makes me feel more professional to call it such), we went to Bridgeport and out to the valley, just to get enveloped in the kind of landscape, architecture, and environment of the area. There were some great landmarks, particularly the old courthouse, outside of which was a cool old brick wall with steel fence, behind which was an abandoned (but well maintained) wagon. Those seemed like great images, and were the basis for my first attempts later at our camp site.

Initial attempts at creating an establishing shot of Bridgeport without having to do a lot of drawing. It didn’t go well.

But, like most creative things, images and story coalesces after it has time to settle. While I had been attempting to add a single page until this point, when I started thinking of it as three pages, more ideas started coming together––an actual narrative that cinematically and satisfactorily got the new chapter off to a comfortable and interesting start. Once I started thinking of it as a three-page opening, the ideas came together quite fast, as evidenced in this messy, but readable (especially in the context of the finished pages) thumbnails I threw together on a dilapidated picnic table, one side of which was held upright by a sawn-down tree stump.

The initial thumbnails of the, now, opening three pages of Chapter 5.

I knew right then that this was what was needed. Simultaneously, I knew, right then, that it was going to be a lot of work, too. That being said, I’m really happy with the way these opening pages turned out. I gained a lot of confidence as an artist drawing these pages and, despite the rushed nature of their creation, I’m really pleased with the poetic cycle of having the first three pages be the final three pages I drew for this chapter.