Movies, songs, etc. are quoted without permission, but only in part and never with malicious intent.
I've avoided depicting commercial place/product logos in full, but trademarked products are named in dialogue.
All likenesses of living people (non-celebrities) were used with their express permission and with kindly provided photo reference.
The title of this chapter comes from the song "2am" by Thee More Shallows, from the album More Deep Cuts. [buy]
- Kavita's parents' house (shown in panels 2-8) does not actually exist, but is blended from bits of architecture from similar houses in the neighborhood. (Yes, her family is craaazy rich.)
- Amal drives a 2005 Honda Civic hatchback. And not that color matters much in this comic, but it's blue with tan interior.
- Amal's drive back to Berkeley was drawn using driver-cam videos from YouTube for reference. I never knew those videos existed until Donna H. steered me in that direction, so many thanks! (The sign in panel 5 does not exist, as far as I know. I took a bit of poetic license there in adding the name.)
- "The Derrick" does not exist. The exterior is very loosely based off the White Horse Tavern in Berkeley, CA. (Amal's getting total Doris Day parking for the sake of expediency, here.) The name is a nod to Oilcan Harry's here in Austin.
- Amal is doing shots of Jameson Irish Whisky.
- Amal's cell phone is a flip Nokia that's a year or two old.
The chapter title comes from the title song of Paul Simon's legendary album
of the same name. [buy] TJ is singing snippets of it as he cooks.
- The poster on Amal's bedroom wall is loosely based on the cover art for the album Her Majesty The Decemberists.
- The (very faintly visible) folk-arty poster in Amal's dining area is from a 2006 Regina Spektor concert at the Fillmore in San Francisco.
- On the wall in the first panel, you can see Amal's (undergrad) graduation photo (that's Radhi on the left and Sangeeta on the right), and a photo of his father and mother on his mother's 50th birthday.
- The floorplan of Amal's apartment is based off of one I lived in, minus about 150 square feet.
Title comes from the Crash Test Dummies' song of the same name, from the 1993 album God Shuffled His Feet. [buy] I think the lyrics suit this situation rather well...
- TJ has spectacular parking skills.
- Amal's custom license plate is a sort-of-reference to a line in T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land (which Eliot in turn ganked from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad) . There's a very long and involved reason behind it, which is an in-joke from Amal's undergrad years and has no bearing or effect whatsoever on this story.
- No idea if the dealership tag is legible at this resolution, but it says "Bob Schneider Honda". Yeah, I don't know either.
Chapter title is from Funkadelic's song of the same name, from the album Maggot Brain. [buy] I love how this song is used at the intro of Safe Men (a bizarrely funny movie that I adore, and which inspired bits of this comic.)
- I usually won't stitch pages together like this, but once in a while the flow is better that way.
- Though this is revealed later, it's not spoiling anything to mention that that was Amal's youngest sister, Radhi, attempting to reach him on his cell phone.
- Amal doesn't think poorly of arranged matches or see them as really "old-fashioned" (this is also revealed later), but he's reaching for a quick word and maybe talking down to TJ a little bit there.
Bruce Lee is badder, but Jim Kelly is hotter. Just my two cents.
Title comes from the song "Eyes Adjust To Light" by Irving, off the album Good Morning Beautiful. [buy]
The boys are travelling east on I-80 alongside Donner Lake (which is also where they stop.) The section of interstate depicted in Panel 1 and the panorama TJ takes in both exist in real life; the small parking area under the pines does not (though I imagine there's something similar).
- Hat tip to Grant Goggans for (unknowingly, and years ago) providing TJ's snarky remark about Sigur Rós. Can't say I agree with TJ, but, well, he's TJ.
Title is from the song of the same name by Men At Work. [buy] I like Colin James Hay's solo acoustic version, too. [buy]
- By "recent controversy", the newsanchor reporting from Philadelphia is referring to inflammatory and highly publicized excerpts from the sermons of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, former pastor of then-Sen. Barack Obama. (Who, at the time this story takes place, is still competing with Sen. Clinton in preparation for the upcoming Democratic primary election.)
- The narration in the balloon on the top right is from the intro to the TV show "Law & Order." The rest is stuff I made up, though the real estate and credit markets were well into a downward spiral at that time.
Page 6 & 7:
- The car is an amalgamation of mid to high end 2008 Mercedes sedans. The couple getting out have recently celebrated their 41st anniversary.
- Pepsi and the Pepsi logo are © and ™ PepsiCo., blah blah legal blah
- The "Lucky Lady" motel doesn't exist - it's a blend of a bunch of Eisenhower-era places, mainly referenced from vintage postcards. Man, I had fun looking at all those old signs. And designing one.
Pretty much everything in this chapter object- and location- wise was done using photo reference, but no photos were traced or "eyeballed."
Chapter title is from the song "Farther On" by Vetiver [buy], from their self-titled album.
Starbucks Coffee is ™ Starbucks Corp., etc., etc.
This was actually one of the first chapters I drew; it took a lot of fixes for character design continuity, as did Chapter 1.
That poor mom on the end page... she just wants eight hours of sleep, is that too much to ask?
Chapter title provided by They Might Be Giants, via the album John Henry. [buy]
- TJ is, of course, singing "Coconut" by Harry Nilsson. (Though this scene was inspired by Prince Be's cover - I love that Three Dog Night sample. oh so cheesy)
- Steve (as you soon find out) is a friend/classmate of Amal's. He's the bearded fellow on the right in this picture, and the one in the middle here. (Both of these are fromout 2005 or 2006, which is why Amal's still got that super-short haircut.)
The other two are Clarissa (Steve's girlfriend), and Doug.
Not that any of this has any bearing on the main storyline. But yeah.
- Julio (again, as you find out) is the bartender TJ was talking to in Chapter 1.
- Tip of the hat to SlimGoodBody at DA for (unknowingly) providing Amal's remark about Reno.
The title of this chapter comes from the song "Paper Planes" by M.I.A., which was a huge hit at the time this story takes place. [listen] [buy]
- The sign and exit depicted in Panel 1 do exist, but the I-80 sign isn't there. The truck stop is totally fabricated. (Oddly enough, an abandoned truck stop at that same exit was the subject of a recent photography exhibition. More here.)
- How 'bout them Spring 2008 gas prices. (I bet readers in the EU are like "PSSSHHH, that's nothin'.")
- Amal named his car Clara after the Clara Pandy, the luxury space liner in Alan Moore's sci-fi classic The Ballad of Halo Jones.
- The song on the PA system is "Angel of the Morning" - the 1981 Juice Newton version. [listen] This gas station apparently tunes to the same radio channel as a dentist's office.
- Bottom panel was both fun and frustrating to draw. I think this is where I started adding the heavier outline around the characters.
- I kind of like these bottom 3 panels (fastest cash-out ever). Sequences like this, I set up in layers, similar to animation cels and backgrounds.
- I wish I'd been able to write Rosalyn (the trucker lady) into the story more. I have this bad habit of writing a life story for just about any character that shows up in more than one panel, and hers is pretty interesting. (She also has an old schnauzer-mutt named Paul Revere, who is very cute and I wish could have made an appearance.)
- Amal already purchased the scotch separately, inside the attached liquor store - which is why the total is only $42. (And the scotch is already in a bag.)
- The cashier's t-shirt design is from the cover art of Threshold's album Dead Reckoning.
I had some fun sneaking little things into the background here and there in this chapter.
It feels sort of odd to look at these pages now - Chapter 9 was drawn in March of 2010; Chapter 10 was drawn in August of 2008. (There are a few panels that were completely redrawn later.)
- TJ's singing "Tie My Pecker To My Leg" (Gleefully, unabashedly NSFW) by the inimitable Mojo Nixon.