Writing a New Chapter
The entire script for The City had been completed 14 years ago. It went through about 30 revisions throughout the years, and one last revision before being pitched to Dicky Siregar. During a meeting, after completing Chapter 1, Dicky mentioned that before the original order of Chapter 2, he’d like to learn more about Mo and Camus. I thought his suggestion made sense, so I pushed what was supposed to be Chapter 2 to be Chapter 3, then wrote a new Chapter 2!
Writing a new chapter took about a month, and it wasn’t too challenging because the world and the characters were already pretty well-developed in my head. I took the opportunity to give more context to The Great Concrete Ruins, where K, Mo, Camus, and Albert come from, as well as their battle against the governing police force and The Legion. In addition, I intertwined a scene in the Ruins with a Mad Max-style truck chase that foreshadows the events in Chapter 3.
The transition from Chapter 1, which was more of a teaser, to Chapter 2, which contained two major exterior scenes, posed a challenge for Dicky. There were more characters, buildings, and nuanced details to consider. However, because we invested a lot of time in creating mood boards and concept art beforehand, I believe it greatly aided in overcoming the challenge.
One aspect that underwent change was the design for the Legion soldiers. Initially, I envisioned them resembling gangsters in suits similar to those seen in Italian American mafioso movies, or with the stylish appearance of characters from Inception or The Matrix. However, Dicky presented me with a quick sketch of what he believed would look great just before penciling began. I immediately agreed to it as it was much cooler than my idea and better suited the cyberpunk, gritty, dark future setting. According to Dicky, the open mouth part, separate from the helmet, was influenced by the soldiers in the film, Snow Piercer. In place of typical helmets or visors, he gave them a medieval knight look.
K and his Journey to the West
K is one of my favourite characters to write because he’s intended to be a traditionally handsome man with completely vile behaviour and antics. It was incredible to see him come alive through this issue. In the first panel where we introduce him, we see him barefoot and it’s emphasized, which I thought was hilarious. It’s like a foot shot that guys like Tarantino would enjoy. Whenever people at conventions or pop-ups open to that page and comment on K’s nasty feet, it always cracks me up. Additionally, I wanted to showcase K’s posture as another quirky aspect of his character. His movements are inspired by Son Wukong, the Monkey King, from Journey to the West. Lastly, K’s actions are despicable. He spits on cops, kicks them, pistol whips them, and sets the police chief up for failure when he gives the police chief a chance to speak. Dicky’s depiction of K is just perfect.
Regarding the coloring process, Dave Praetorius shared that he came up with two distinct color palettes for each scene: a warmer tone for the Ruins and a colder tone for the truck chase. Since the panels cut back and forth between the two scenes, Dave aimed to provide readers with a visual cue as to which scene they were currently following, through the use of color. The cold color scheme for the truck scene was particularly effective, as it contrasted with the warm tones used for the explosions and gunshots. This created a striking effect on the page, which heightened the intensity of the action.
Lastly, the title ‘The Brothers Devereux’ is a play on ‘The Brothers Karamazov’ by Fyodor Dostoevsky.
The Paper Chase
When it came time to print Chapter 2, we found that the process was much the same as it had been for the first installment. However, due to the ongoing pandemic, we encountered a new challenge: paper prices had increased significantly since our last print run. As a result, the cost of printing each issue had essentially doubled. While we were able to sell enough copies to recoup our expenses, the higher costs meant that we weren’t able to make any profits on the sales. Despite this setback, we remained committed to bringing our story to readers and looked for ways to adapt and overcome these challenges.
Making a profit was not our main concern. Our goal was to showcase our creation, and at that time, we did not have a free online viewing platform. Therefore, selling issues was the only way to reach our audience and showcase our work.
Toronto Comicon 2022
Chapter 2 wasn’t available for printing at Toronto Comicon 2022, but we did have colored issues of Chapter 1. Unfortunately, the convention turned out to be a total flop, and we did very poorly in sales, not even making our investments back. While it was disappointing, we viewed it as a valuable learning experience. On the bright side, we did have people who had seen us at Fan Expo and were looking to purchase Chapter 2.
When it was finally time to print Chapter 2, we decided to have a launch event at The Sidekick Comics and several other popups around Toronto, including selling on the streets of Yonge-Dundas Square. We were thrilled to have sold all 300 copies, and the response we received from readers was incredibly positive.