Monday, April 30, 2007

THE POETS CALLED IT LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT

Well, it's about time we got to the villains of the piece. Page 9, panel 2, pencils:



There's an old image I drew (that is the basis for a later scene in this book), with "mustache man" and the character on the right. I instinctively drew the second fellow as a short, squat man. As placeholder names, I just started referring to them as Stan and Ollie. Well, the placeholer names started ingraining themselves in my head. All my life, I've been fascinated with the way Oliver Hardy would play with his tie. It's a bit of character genious, immediately conveying his characters' poor-man's desire to appear well-bred and fastidious. The idea of Oliver Hardy as a really despicable man made me laugh every time I wrote one of his scenes. I had to keep a bit of that in.

He lacked a distinctive voice, though, and spoke in dull exposition until I became obsessed with the BBC program QI. It's unavailable in the US, so I had to youtube it. This led me to an earlier program, A Bit of Fry and Laurie, starring QI's host, Stephen Fry and Hugh (House) Laurie. It's a sketch comedy show and had one particular running bit that worked splendidly. In it, Fry plays off his reputation for erudition and scholarliness in a portrayal of a guest (on Laurie's talkshow) who tries to describe the beauty of language as it pertains to a simple subject. That doesn't sound even remotely funny, I know, but it is.

That's when, sitting in Union Square, all the pieces fit together, and I fell in love. I'm so happy I'm finally filling him out, as it were, so to speak.

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