No Rest For The Wicked chapter 1
Pages linked open in the frame on the right.

Page 1:

My favorite panel here was always the one with September the second sister, and the horrified maid in the background.

I tried to distinguish November's little narration boxes from Perrault's, to make it clear that there were two people talking.


Page 3:

November's name is mentioned for the first time. It doesn't come up again until page 22.

That is a small window. Really ridiculously small. I guess nobody's hiring me to design their palace anytime soon.


Page 4:

As I've mentioned a few times before, "The Moon Is Rolling In Her Grave" was kind of a play on the title of "The Moon Is Drowning While I Sleep", a short story by Charles de Lint which I read in one of my Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling retold fairy tale anthologies, which was also inspired by The Buried Moon. "The Moon Is Rolling In Her Grave" was also one of several rejected titles for the comic; I eventually decided that "No Rest For The Wicked" was shorter and probably had more punch.


Page 5:

Just prior to doing this comic, I wouldn't have said that my art changed noticeably from one year to to the next. But comparing November on these first few pages with November at the end of the chapter, drawn maybe ten months later... I guess drawing a comic regularly really does make a difference in one's art.

I kept Perrault's face hidden because I felt that, at this point, I was still introducing November and setting up the story; I was afraid that if I revealed him right away, people might be distracted with wondering, "why does that guy have cat ears?" ^^;


Page 6:

November's fiancee should reappear in the comic eventually, although I've retooled his hairdo a bit since drawing this page.


Page 8:

Amazing! She suddenly seems much closer to the castle than she was on the last panel of the previous page! And considering that she ran away at night and it's now morning, she really hasn't gotten very far at all! I guess she must have a very big backyard.


Page 9:

In case anyone was wondering if the old woman was some important figure in the story, she actually really is just a random old woman. I've noticed that in a lot of fairy tales the main character receives some vital piece of information or magical item from some random old woman or man that they just happen to bump into. Normally the main character has to show the old person some kindness, such as sharing food or water, in order to be rewarded in turn. Sometimes the story explains this mysterious old person as being a fairy in disguise; but sometimes it's not explained at all, and you're left wondering just how this random old woman knew not to drink the wine, or where she got a cloak of invisibility and why she'd just give it away to some stranger she met on the road. Nonetheless, the information she gives is always infallible. In fairy tales, you can't always trust your own parents to not try and kill you; but if a strange old woman you've never seen before tells you that your true love's favorite hairpin can be found in the seventh castle on the seventh mountain in the belly of a fish that's in the belly of a frog that's in the belly of a heron that's at the bottom of a well that's at the bottom of seven other wells underneath a rock shaped like a harpsichord, you can bet your life that's where it'll be.


Page 12:

I seem to remember reading somewhere that it's actually physically impossible for frogs to jump and croak at the same time. Well, what can I say? It's magic. -_-;;


Page 13:

And the big reveal. Perrault is another character who looks a lot different here in his first appearance than he does in more recent pages -- not from any major reworking of his design, but just from the changes in my art style that came from drawing the comic.

Lot of expository blather in the last panel. I ended up randomly having the frogs fall in love or something just to make it more visually interesting.


Page 16:

The books and websites I've found with essays or annotations on Little Red Riding Hood always seem to mention an older version of the tale where, prior to devouring the girl, the wolf tricks her into eating bits of her own grandmother passed off as meat and wine. (This version probably sounds familiar to you if you've read the Doll's House story arc in Sandman.) For some reason I can never find the text for this version, which I guess probably means it never made it out of the oral tradition.


Page 17:

Perrault's name is mentioned for the first time. It's not his "real" name, obviously, but rather something he made up when he realized that the right hand of a marquis needs to be called something more respectable than "Puss". In fact, I'd initially intended that the character would have no proper name besides "the cat" or "Master Cat"; but then it suddenly popped into my head to call him Perrault, and I decided it suited him.

For the Marquis I wanted a name that was stereotypically French, yet also sounded commonplace. I settled on "Pierre", though I had reservations since it sounded kinda similar to "Perrault".


Page 18:

Finally, a nice quiet page. At this point I was afraid that the comic was way too talky; I can never stand comics that don't know when to shut up and let the pictures tell the story. (Of course, this whole commentary kind of renders that useless.)

The books are kinda random, aren't they? "Histories of Past Times" is a reference to Histories or Tales of Past Times, Charles Perrault's fairy tale collection published in 1697. "Concerning the secretaries of princes" and "Concerning things for which men, especially princes, are praised or blamed" are both chapters out of Machiavelli's The Prince.


Page 20:

I think this was the page where I first started using a tablet for shading the comic. I tried some weird gimmicks with the shadows.


Page 21:

Thanks to a poorly-planned background in the last panel, Perrault looks like he's shorter than everyone else.


Page 23:

AAAAAGH the "perspective" in that fourth panel is nausea-inducing... Once again, Perrault ends up looking about three feet tall. >__<

Somewhere between page 16 and this page, I changed the way I draw Perrault's eyebrows. I don't know if anyone noticed.


Page 24:

I like how Puss puts the dead mouse in his pocket. Actually, it's probably because one of my lifelong ambitions is to have one of those coats or jackets with a pocket on the inside. I've heard they don't make those for women, though. The injustice of it all is staggering.


Page 25:

That's not actually a hideous tentacle monster hanging from the ceiling; believe it or not, it's a chandelier.


Page 27:

That is one juicy frog. O__o

When this frog first appeared on page 25, I didn't anticipate that it would end up this way. Initially, I didn't even think that Perrault was going to pick it up; but with long conversation scenes like these, I keep having to come up with little things for the characters to be doing, or little visual details, to keep it from becoming too 'talking head-y'. So I had him play with the frog for a bit. Then while planning this page, I knew that the last panel would need a little extra touch to make it seem more menacing...

I realized then that the frog had to die. Sorry, little guy.


Page 30:

Back on page 6 we got to see November's father from behind his head, and in full-body chibi form; yet for some reason her mother only ever appears as an arm. No, I don't know why either.


Page 31:

I prefer pillows that are very flat, because if they're too high, I wake up with a stiff neck; unless I'm sleeping on my side, in which case I need a pillow of medium height. I, uh, often end up switching pillows several times before falling asleep.


Page 32:

If those stairs in the fifth panel look extremely dangerous, it's probably because rulers are my sworn enemy. Seriously, for some reason, I'm perfectly okay with using rulers for panel borders and such, but I hate using them to draw backgrounds. All things considered, it's a miracle the stairs came out looking as decent as they did. Oh yes, and the three Novembers there were supposed to show the progression as she walked down the stairs, and not to imply that the Marquis' staff have mastered the science of cloning, or that we are suddenly caught in a NEGATIVE REALITY INVERSION woooo


Page 33:

This shot, with Puss hunting and his cat-shadow projected on the wall, was in my head well before I started drawing the comic. And you may think that, ideally, I'd have had this whole chapter scripted out and future chapters planned and outlined before I even start drawing; but no, that would be the smart way to do things. I'm contractually obligated to do everything the stupid way. So I usually end up making up whole scenes as I go along. Not this one bit, though. I had it in mind from the beginning.


Page 34:

I had some difficulty designing/drawing the markings on Puss' hands. I always try to imagine what his markings would look like on a real, cat-sized cat. Initially, I'd intended for him to have white paws; but then I realized that he wears white gloves all the time, and one should be able to tell when he's wearing gloves and when he isn't. So I tried putting stripes on his hands, but they ended up looking more like streaks of dirt or something.

If you look carefully at the second panel, you might notice that he has pads on his palms and fingers -- another detail which I decided to add and which ended up looking weird. I remember reading -- in the Calvin and Hobbes anniversary book, I think -- about how Bill Watterson initially drew pads on Hobbes' hands to look more like cat paws, but eventually scrapped them because they looked too weird. Oh well. At least I don't have to draw them very often. :P


Page 36:

I watched this National Geographic (I think) documentary about domestic cats and the huge numbers of small mammals, birds and wildlife that they kill every year. I found it fascinating; a lot of cat lovers (like myself) tend to think of cats as these loveable little creatures, while forgetting that they're also natural born killers. One of the first things the cat does in the original Puss in Boots story is to catch a young rabbit and kill it "without pity". And the last line in the story reads, "The Cat became a great Lord, and never more ran after mice, but for his diversion" -- implying that he would still chase mice for the fun of it.

I tried to portray Perrault as charming but with a casually cold-blooded streak. It's not that he's a sadistic or cruel person; it's just in his nature to torment and kill small animals. :P


Page 39:

When I started doing this comic, I swore an oath to never, ever resort to using anachronistic pop culture references for cheap gags. And I actually managed to get through thirty-eight pages before breaking my vow! Go me!


Page 41:

I had to look up a hierarchical chart on European nobility for this page. A viscount and a baron are both lower in status than a marquis.


Page 43:

Another bit I had in my head before even starting the comic. This scene went through a lot of revisions, but this page is pretty much the one that I saw in my head.

In the beginning, I'd actually wanted to do the comic in just black and white with crosshatching, without adding gray shading. But then I realized that if I did that, Red's redness would stand out too much and be too distracting.


Page 45:

Pages 44, 45 and 46 were all finished in a great rush, because I was leaving for three weeks and wanted to finish the chapter before I left. I ended up finishing everything about an hour before I was supposed to leave for the airport. So, uh, those "motion lines" or whatever they are in the first panel are completely horrendous. Sorry.

Notes for Chapter 2

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