You may have noticed the today’s SFO page looks a little different than the ones that have come before it. What you’re looking at is what’s called flats–just the very basic colors have been laid into the art. What’s missing is the rendering, which is what really makes art like this sing. Click back a page. You’ll see the difference quite clearly.

Artist Chris Watkins did not drop the ball. Guy’s a pro and every single page of this story has been done on time. Unfortunately, with my grandfather passing away, I had to be out-of-town before Chris could give me the final page (even as you read this, I’m hundred of miles away from home). It was an unexpected turn of events. Please come back here on Monday. I’ll have the fully completed page up for your viewing pleasure then!


I don’t know about you, but I had a ton of fun with this story. The banter and light-hearted tone in the first half was a blast to write and Chris far, far, far exceeded my wildest expectations with the character design. And then…that turn. This story got dark, fast.

See for yourself. Read it from the beginning starting here.

Without getting into it (again), I’ve seen some dark times in my life. I know how life can turn on a dime, just as quickly as it did in this story. That was kind of the point of this story for me. To see if I could establish a certain tone with a story and then shift it wildly and violently. It’s the sort of thing I’ve done before (the end of Chapter 5 comes to mind) and it’s something I enjoy exploring.

However…with storytelling this is risky territory. While life doesn’t care so much about tonal shifts, a good storyteller really has to. The wrong tone or a poor transition to a different tone can result in some seriously negative returns for the reader. Is that what happened here? It’s possible. I don’t really have enough distance to know for sure. But tackling that issue head on was part of what I was trying to do here.

The other part was following up on Spy Gal’s origin, which was built with an intentional loose thread. I think there’s a lot more I could have done with Monica, but I like what we got to see here. It’s tempting to feel sorry for her after what happened to her in the Spy Gal origin, but, really, she’s not someone who engenders sympathy otherwise. We’ve probably seen the last of her.

More importantly, for me, this is when Spy Gal turned into the Spy Gal we know now. The angry Spy Gal who doesn’t suffer fools. I’ve thought a lot about Spy Gal’s psychology and between this story and her origin, I think you get a sense of where she’s coming from. For me, at the very core of the character, is a current of self-loathing. Everything she does and says stems from that. The way she treats other serves as a projection of how she feels about herself. We all do this to some extent, but it DEFINES Spy Gal.

Wow, that was way more than I typically like to reveal about the characters. I should probably delete all of that but I’m heading out for a long drive in a few hours and I’m tired and lack good judgment.

Let’s shift gears.

I’ll tell you what I love about the way Chris handled this story–he’s very much got his own style and draws the characters very, very differently from the way I do (well, did) and yet he captures the essence beautifully. He did some amazing work in these nine pages–work far better than I honestly thought him capable of. My hat is off to you, sir.

One last plug–go read Odori Park by Chris Watkins already. It’s sweet, charming, funny and deserves a wider audience. Go. Read. Forget SuperFogeys for a day. Trust me, you won’t regret it.


Monday – #304 – “Catchy and Mysterious” Jerry and Jerry are talking again. Will Jerry tell his younger self about the Third Man? Would you?

Wednesday – #305 – “Favorite Thing He’s Seen All Year” – Someone holds hands with someone else for the first time. Awwwww…

Friday – The Jerry Origin–the one you’ve all been waiting for–begins with a sweet cover! That’s right–an origin actually gets a cover! It’s that big!