Today, I thought I’d share a few teasers from the third episode of Sunnyville Stories, titled “the Train Robbers”. This took quite some time to finish. I started on it sometime in mid-September of 2010 and it was not sent to the printer until late January of this year. I hope a lot of you learn something from all this – making comics is hard work. It takes a lot out of you and much energy goes into it. But I digress.
The third episode of Sunnyville is an action and adventure story involving two local bandits, the Weasel brothers. These two are a pair of weasels who live by taking whatever they can to survive – regardless of whether or not it belongs to someone else. This will lead them a number of times into conflict with the people of Sunnyville and this story will be no exception. Anyway, the story involves the Loutron family (check out their post if you forgot who they are) as well as our two heroes, Sam and Rusty. The two of them drop off items at the town laundromat that need to be cleaned. Mrs. Loutron tells them that only a special detergent can clean their items…from there, things take a turn for the worse.
Rusty and Sam are wandering about town when they both notice something strange is going on. I’m really proud of my art technique here. I’m really starting to get control of my tools. Notice that bush in the foreground of the top panel – the outline is done with a brush and those quick scribble lines were done with a Hunt 101 nib. I find that nib does well for scribbling and makes for more varied lines that the Uniball brand pens I use in some of my other work.
It’s quite obvious that Rusty and Sam know something is up – so they promptly decide to investigate. You can tell something is definitely wrong when one of the train’s engineers gets tied up by a bow-wielding bandit.
That weasel with the bow and arrow is Roy Weasel. He’s the younger of the two brothers. His bow and the raggedy cloak make him look more like something out of the Middle Ages. In fact, if you look closely at both of the brothers, their clothing are held together with stitches and patches. This should tell you they have no money and have to live by scavenging.
Here, we see the older and bigger of the two brothers, Chuck. He’s got the laundry detergent in his hand. While it may not be edible, the bandits know it’s valuable and can barter/sell it for food. But the Loutrons need that detergent as do Sam and Rusty – that conflict is pretty much what sets up the whole premise of the episode.
Conflict is essential in any story, be it a comic, a novel, a play, a film, etc. What it really boils down to is that the characters want something like love, money, security, fame, etc. It’s when what one character wants clashing with another’s want that a story is created. Think back to the second episode of Sunnyville – Rose wanted to remain in control of things and viewed newcomer Rusty as a threat to the status quo (her being “top dog”, no pun intended). Rusty, in turn, wanted to be accepted and he feared that turning down Rose’s pinball challenge or losing at it would have destroyed his credibility amongst the town’s children he had befriended in the first episode. Here we see that too. The Weasel Brothers want the detergent because they can use it to get what they need to survive, the Loutrons need it for their laundry, and Rusty and Sam need that detergent to clean their things. You have to stop and think about the motivation of the bandits too – they steal out of survival instead of greed. While stealing is wrong, it does make you look differently at a person who steals something to survive as opposed to someone who just wants something for nothing.
What do you think of the Weasel brothers’ motivation? What are your thoughts on conflict in stories? Have you set up such plots to pit the wants of one against another? Please comment below.
That does it for the free preview. Sunnyville Stories #3 is available over on Indy Planet for US$3.99 (cheap!) and you can get the second episode over there as well. Next week, I’ll have some rough working cuts of Sunnyville Stories episode 4 here for display. See you next Saturday, loyal fans!