There!  That’s it!  Completed!  Tomorrow, back to terrible, terrible art.

It was an interesting line to walk, redrawing this story.  I still had to hit certain plot points — Walky stops Sal from shooting Beef, Tony strangles Walky, Sal shoots Tony, Walky finds out he’s an abductee and frees everyone — but as I was drawing it, I kept finding damn plot holes or inconsistencies that I felt I had to address.  And my current natural inclination for story progression would often conflict with where the characters need to go and what they needed to do.  Part of me is thinking, for example, “man, would Sal really shoot Tony, does that make sense?” while trying to make sense of it because she has to do it.  If she doesn’t, I kind of have to redraw the whole damn webcomic as some crazy splinter timeline.

Other things that I realized while redrawing: So, hey, Walky can’t be killed by Alien mechs, right?  He’s on the island and one attacks him, but it shorts out and falls over because it can’t kill him because subconsciously he’s controlling it.  Walky can also turn off the brainwashing in all the other agents.  So how can Tony really strangle Walky?  Successfully?  So I tried to put in that little bit where he briefly comes to in the moment before Sal shoots him.  It adds extra heartbreak!  He could have lived!  But then I run into stuff like, hey, the Head Alien should totally use that information against Sal.  But he can’t, because Sal is oblivious to this later.  In a strip that’s coming up, she even explicitly states that she saved everyone by killing Tony so that Walky could live to save everyone.  So I just kind of write myself into additional corners as I plug in these plotholes.

One thing I wanted to address but didn’t was the fact that nobody in SEMME really used the Alien mechs after this story despite being able to control them.  It’d be pretty handy, wouldn’t you think?  And so I wanted to add in a line about the Head Alien remotely disabling them, but I had to remove it for dialog flow and space.  (EDIT: Actually, since I wrote this I read ahead a little and discovered Walky controlling them at least one more time, so I guess it’s good that I dropped the line — so I guess that was just a forgotten plot thread entirely.)  That’s the thing about writing these comics — so much happens because of what fits in panels and what hurts flow.  Generally, when you’re not writing inside a fixed space, that’s no problem, because the story can flow in a different, equally okay direction.  But inside this fixed space, whoof.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these new pages.  On a certain level, they were interesting to do.  It engaged a part of my brain that I don’t often engage.   On other levels, man, I just want to get back to Dumbing of Age.  That’s where I’m inhabiting now.  And I’m happy to get back more time to invest in it.