Hello again, its time for another book update. Sorry for the delay in posting an update. The good news is I am just about done with the book I have completed all the comic pages for all 3 comics. All that is left is the character profiles and the cover artwork. I hope to be done with this project by November.
Thank you for your patience through this break. I should be can to posting comics by late November or early December. My goal is to go to print with this book by the 1st week of December if not sooner. Once I finish the profile pages I will be doing a final edit of the book before finalizing the cover art. I will post a copy of the cover here once I complete it.
For now enjoy this sneak peek of one of the book pages.
OK, I have completed the Critter County section of the book and I am now heading towards the home stretch. I just have the Hodges Pond section, the character profiles then some final tweaks to make and then I should be able to start working on the cover art for the book.
For your consideration here is the working title. I am not sure if this will be what I end up using but for now this is the official working title. I sort of like it so I may go with this. I’ve had this image from when I was doing the first Orville comic books (1999) and it seemed to fit perfectly for this book project since part of the goal of this book was to include some of the original artwork as well as the new artwork from the comic. This isn’t the cover it’s just the inside title page.
Hello again all, time for another update! So far I have completed most of the text part of the book including updating the profiles. I tweaked some on the website too.
Currently I have completed the “Orville” section of the book and I am about 26 pages into the book. I still need to complete the Critter County and Hodges Pond comic pages before I can begin the final push on the art for the book. The comic pages should go quick.
As promised here is a sample from the up and coming Hodges Pond comic “The World of Hodges Pond” This is tentatively page 14 of the book.
Hello all, as promised here is a sample from the new book I am working on. I currently am still working on a title. This is the part of the book where I talk about how I came up with the original concept for Orville. Enjoy!
When I first had the idea of writing a comic strip I have to admit, I had no idea what kind of comic strip I wanted to write about. Growing up, I had always been a fan of comic strips and I had so many different styles of comics that I enjoyed reading. Whether it was the innocence of the “Peanuts”, the insightfulness of “BC” or the way “Calvin and Hobbs” made you think about the world around you. They all seemed to share one thing in common. Not only did they make you laugh, they also made you think. Sure comics are supposed to be funny after all that’s why they are called comics right? However, I always appreciated the type of comic strips that used humor as tool to help drive a point and convey a greater message then just simple humor. I knew that wanted my comic to have the same kind of feel.
The next phase of the creation process was deciding what kind of story I wanted to tell. This was probably the easiest part for me. I knew immediately that I wanted the comic strip to be about friendships. I also didn’t want to make the comic only about humor. I wanted to convey a message of how important it is to cherish the friendships we have and how our actions impact, for better or worse, by the lives of those around us. While originally Orville was mostly a gag-based comic strip, as I began to develop the personalities and characteristics of the characters, I eventually developed the style in how I would write the comics. I added some of the original Orville comics as part of this book so that you could get a glimpse of not only the evolution of the artwork and the characters but also could see the evolution of the comics theme its self.
Next on the list was deciding the look and feel of the comic. This is where my original co-creator Richard Tackett came into the picture. I met Richard while I was in the process of developing the concept for Orville. At the time I used to work late nights and at the end of the day I would usually end up at a Denny’s restaurant that I used to frequent. It was at this same Denny’s where a lot of my creative work on Orville was completed. One day when I was checking out at the register I noticed a very nicely done “Daily Specials” sign by the register. I commented to the waiter that, who ever had drawn that sign had some artistic talent. The waiter then replied with a smile and said, “Thank you”. Needless to say that prompted a conversation about our interests in comics. Over the next few weeks we talked more an more about our common interests and it was during that time that he began to share with me his background as an inker. When I shared my project idea with him he offered to assist me with the much-needed role of inker. Inspired by the works of his favorite artists Alex Toth and Wally Wood, it was Richard who would go on to play a key role in the creation of the look and feel of Orville’s world, Hodges Pond.
The final phase of the creation process was the development of the characters. Initially I had 6 characters in mind for the cast of Orville. The 6 initial characters were Orville, Archie, Roy, Steve, Ralph and Rudy. First there was Orville, the non flying squirrel with a life long obsession of flying. He would play the role of the main character. Archie was Orville’s faithful sidekick who served as his conscience and inner voice of reason (who initially was drawn as an acorn). Then there was Roy, Orville’s prankster raccoon pal. Steve the rabbit served as philosopher of the group and finally there was Ralph and Rudy. They were the young characters of the comic who provided a youthful and playful perspective. Later as the comic strip developed, the sole female character of the comic, Judy, would join the boys of Hodges Pond. Judy was Rudy’s twin sister who originally came to visit for the summer but eventually decided to stick around and make Hodges Pond her new home. Judy was added to the comic to offer the needed female perspective and also provide for some relationship humor to the comic, as over time Ralph and Judy would become more than just friends.
It is also note worthy to mention that while there were several other minor characters introduced, like the aliens Zoltar and Blip and the fish Charlie and Louie, these characters were eventually phased out of the cast. The final actual addition to the Orville cast came towards the later years of the comic. Peter the fox entered the cast just before the introduction of Orville comic books and Critter County. Peter would play the role of the politician, and political rival for Steve, who at the time, was the mayor of Hodges Pond. Peter would make his major debut in the Orville comic book #1 “Dreams of Flight”. The mysterious Rat character Lucius would also make his 1st appearance in this comic book.
Another little known but true fact is that, when I was developing the characters, since I wanted the theme of the comic to be about friendships, I initially named some of the character based on the names and personalities of some of my own personal friends. Roy, Steve and Ralph were names based on friends of mine. This tradition of name selection would also continue well into Critter County and Hodges Pond. In addition to the names associated with a friend, each of the characters of the comic is the embodiment of a particular personality of mine. This gave the characters a very personal feel and it helped me to create relationships based on those particular perspectives. Later these perspectives would be the driving forces in some interesting story arcs. More often than not, it was the personality of the character that tended to drive the humor and emotion of the comic strip.
Initially, the storytelling style of Orville was done as simple, gag related humor. While at the time, my story style was still in its infancy, I always enjoyed the perspective of humor and that was most evident in a lot of my earlier comics. What I enjoy most about humor is not so much the out right funny gag, but the gag that makes you think, or that gag that makes you look beyond the obvious intent and it’s in that unique perspective that we sometimes find the best humor. For example, I would ask in one comic, “If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a Humanitarian eat?” . While the statement its self is not funny the humor is in the logical or illogical conclusion you draw by the statement. I think humor needs to be clever there’s no fun when you hand some one the answer or make the gag too obvious. A lot of my gags have a subtle humor to them and despite the risk of the reader not getting the joke I usually will set up a gag and allow the reader to think and figure out the gag for themselves. Sometimes the funniest gags are the one that you almost miss.