Monday, July 21, 2014

MOON JELLY MONDAYS # 4 - "May + Amy"

Recently, I decided as practice that I would draw some mock covers. The main purpose of them was to tighten up my art skills. Once I had finished two, I thought it would be fun to put them up online on facebook. If any of the covers generated any interest through interactions, I would consider making the drawing into a series.

The two I did so far were: “Bloodwar X-treme X-ecution Squad 20XX” and “May + Amy.” (You can look at them on the Dissect My Brain Facebook page HERE.)

Of course, with comics, art is only half the story. The rest is words.

As such, I will be going over my pitches for each of the series on this blog.

As I teased last week, I will be talking about “May + Amy.”

I've already gone over the history of May/Amy and Arisa. (If you haven't checked it out, be sure to go back and read last week's post if you see fit.

Here's what I would do with the characters if I were writing and drawing them right now.

First off, let me just say that realistically, I would like to start off by establishing the characters, and with that, I feel I'd do some sort of just vignette strips. If it were to start as anything, it would start off as short humor pieces.

If it were to go beyond that (and without getting too detailed), I would tell the story of two best friends: May and Amy. They both went to the same high school, and were unpopular. They would go their separate ways when it came time for college. They reconnect later in life, and through circumstance, end up living together. The comic would go on and tell the stories of their daily lives during the duration that they live together.

I want the story to be as much about how the characters have changed over the years, but more importantly, how they have not changed.

Of course, the book would be a humor book, as I generally enjoy writing comedy. I'd also want to do away with cliches.

The three big rules I'd want to set ahead of time are these:
1) These characters are college/post-grad. (Too many goddamn stories are about high schoolers.)
2) Any time there's a scene that would lead into sexy fanservice in any other comic, it ends up leading to something completely plain, boring and anti-climatic instead. (Realism!)
3) You can consider this a spoiler for a hypothetical comic, but in the end, no matter what, May and Amy never have this big falling out. As with life, people just come and go; they simply have to part ways.

And now to go over our two main leads.

May is the older of the two, but is easily the more immature one. She rides that fine line between being a genius and being batshit crazy, and that's the charm to her. She is very spunky, and expressive; she's generally honest, but when she does bullshit people, she makes for a terrible liar. She wasn't very popular in high school, and was more inclined towards the arts and music. Flash forward years later, she hasn't changed, but is now exposed to a larger circle of people who celebrates her for doing the exact same things she's been doing for years.

Her newfound popularity leads her to date all sort of terrible people, each one for more shallow reasons than the last. At the start of the story, I feel she has made some mistakes in her life, but hasn't quite learned her lesson. (I'm leaning towards being a college drop out.)

In regards to the redesign, I wanted to make this May, more or less, the “sister” to the original May. She's got the black hair, pale skin, and amber eyes. However, whereas the original had a “hair metal,” “glam rock” look, this May is more into alternative rock. Physically, I wanted her to look more older and adult when compared to Amy, but also wanted to dress her in ways that still retained that she is youthful herself, and not as experienced as she'd like to let on. I gave her an ocean motif as I feel it fits her “fluid,” “ever changing” personality. I took inspiration from Neil Gaiman's Death, merged with a very “Yoshiyuki Sadamoto” girl kind of look.

NOTE: May had a cameo in Season Three of Dissect My Brain. (Yes, this was always supposed to be the reboot's May.)

And now onto Amy. She is more analog to Arisa in the original series, than she is to the other character named Amy.

Amy is younger, but far more responsible and cautious when it comes to life. It depends on who she's with, but most people would describe her as a “Plain Jane.” I picture her being soft-spoken and space-y. It wasn't so much that she wasn't popular in high school, but rather, she was more or less ignored and considered irrelevant. She gets along with people fairly well, but with May, she is able to open up. She doesn't deliberately hide any secrets from anyone, but rather feels that the average person she runs into doesn't want that deep interaction, so she never really lets anyone in.

Physically, she looks closer to my design for Arisa, as opposed to Machan's design. Part of the original design for Arisa was to give this “pop idol” look. However, I wanted Arisa to look like an average girl on the street, and as such, I had to ditch the bells in her hair. I've seen girls wear felt balls in their hair, and so I gave Amy the sun and the moon on her head as I felt it matched with her personality of balance. Whereas May would deliberately dress in something flashy, Arisa would be the kind of girl mocking that sort of thing, and would wear a really dumb sweatshirt that just says “fashion” on it.

I originally wanted to make Amy blonde, but I figured that would just give the whole “Betty & Veronica” / “Strangers in Paradise” / “Ghost World” kind of vibe, and so I kept her a brunette. (Of course, I did this without realizing the possibility that people might compare the duo to being female version of Kevin and Patrick from Dissect My Brain, but I assure you: this is not the case.)

While I think it would be really ridiculous to say I've got fans from 2004 who've followed my work since then, I feel that on a personal level, I feel that I could make these changes, while still making they are still at their core, the same characters. The original May and Arisa were always a duo of misfits; this new May and Amy are still the exact same thing.

The only thing that's changed are the more silly elements that would work in the context of the comic that they were originally from. I'm a little bit older and didn't feel I need to make any more jokes about a metrosexuality, so the “glam rock” man-May is gone. I also feel that it would be misrepresentative and too archaic to NOT have a comic that stars women.

I do feel that I will make nods to the original series, but we will get there when we get there.

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