the annotated johnny cavalier
episode 13: Sexy Todd
  • Todd won a contest that I put together at the time, and his prize was getting to star in a JC episode. This "win your way into JC" concept happened once more with the Kate Herold episode.
  • The football team was having a winning season or something, which I totally cared about, so I wanted to somehow work their success into a cartoon. You know, to show my support.
  • It looks like I was at a low point during the writing of this episode. Not as bad as "Touchdown," though!
  • The blonde is a girl who was one of about five "movie star beautiful" girls at Grinnell. Callie was made up, but the looks were based on a girl who sat across from me in my art history class. I took the name Callie from a girl I went to high school with.
  • Everything about the squirrels is true; I had been "training" them with peanuts to the point where a small group would come up to me in response to a specific sound command.
  • I didn't plan on Callie being a main character at this point. Had the comic continued during the remainder of the semester, I'm not sure if she would have come back. But it was during the second semester hiatus when I reassessed every part of the cartoon and decided that I wanted her to fit into the long-term structure of the story.
  • Behind the Music: Johnny Cavalier... After only two published episodes during Spring 1999, I quit drawing the cartoon. Although the details are a little fuzzier now, the two reasons I can remember were actually petty and preventable. First, I had been bringing the original artwork to the S&B office and letting them do what they needed with it to get it into proper printing form. This was STUPID. Why I didn't give them photocopies I'll never know, but it's one of those things that happens, I suppose, when you try to make a go at something without taking the time to learn the basics rules. So, after 13 episodes, the S&B lost two originals (ep. 4 and ep. 12). I was pissed, more at myself, but pissed nonetheless. Second, the S&B was shrinking my cartoons to the point where you couldn't even read the text. This bothered me to no end. Every week the cartoon was a different size, and the Sexy Todd episode was the worst, as it was just barely larger than a postcard and most of the text was lost. This could have been prevented with an oral or written contract regarding an agreed minimum printing size, but at the time I didn't even consider something as basic as that. Instead I got all huffy and quit the paper. AND IT WAS THE BEST DECISION I EVER MADE. No, not really, but it did create a gestation period during which I could reinvent the comic. But that would come later. During that second semester I believed that the strip was done for good.


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