Chapter title comes from Jim Guthrie's "Who Needs What", off the 1999 album A Thousand Songs.
This is another song that's stuck with me as I worked on this story from the very beginning. I think it may have crept in pretty deep and influenced a few things...
- TJ, you're an awful litterbug. Don't do this.
- Guess I oughtta say that this segment isn't intended to be a promotion or a criticism of Waffle House; the place is just a 24-hour mainstay in the South, and given TJ's love of greasy breakfast food... (Also, I've got fond memories of late nights there, m'self.)
- This little bit's for all y'all who've been reading since 2007. :)
- His behaviour might seem a little out-there to some, but this guy is pretty closely based on a mixture of dudes I encountered during my high school and waitressing years. (As unpleasant customers go, belligerent drunks are actually fairly easy to deal with; it's belligerent sober dudes that get scary.)
- A Simpsons reference. Sideshow Bob - Apu. It's not totally necessary to get it (TJ doesn't.)
- If you thought I was going to make a whole graphic novel and not put in a single reference to Buttlord GT, you thought wrong.
- What a fun panel to draw.
- Yes, TJ is quoting James Taylor. Not the best tough-guy line.
- Oops, accidental Handsome Boy Modeling School reference :U
- Kevin's phone is a Motorola Razr, which was still pretty popular at the time. (Smartphones hadn't really taken off yet in Spring 2008; the iPhone had debuted but was far from ubiquitous.) Anyway, on Page 17 you can see that he was holding the phone backwards, which is why the looks on his friends' (and Amal's) faces.
Chapter title comes from two songs: "Red and Purple" by The Dodos [listen], and "Heartbeats"
by the Knife [listen] (Link goes to the Jose Gonzalez cover -- I couldn't find the softer, more pared down version
by The Knife).
The guys are pretty close to the Maryland/Pennsylvania border. Some things are based on parts of northern Washington County, MD, but the convenience store is modeled after one in Greencastle, PA. This is the first fictitious location in a while, I think. (The Waffle House exterior was based off a real one just outside Hagerstown.)
- 10-22="disregard" (general police 10-code); 0-800="assault" (local police code).
Chapter title is NOT a reference to 50 Shades of Gray, but to the song "Pants on Fire" by Buck 65.
[buy] [artist website]
- The guys are in Paterson, New Jersey, or at least a space-warped version. Panel 1 is a jumble of buildings that are within 12 blocks of each other, but not arranged like that. The "Highland Hotel" doesn't exist; it's substituting for a Scottish Inn.
Page 4 [spoilers, highlight to read]:
- Took a little plot-related artistic liberty in the bottom panel-- you don't usually find slips like that in anything less than a brick. The little thing on the right side of the box is a pocket scale.
- I just really like this page, is all.
Chapter title comes from Iran's song "Buddy" [listen], from the 2009
album Dissolver. [buy]
- Page 2:
And the award for "Scene That Was The Most Interesting To Research And Also Possibly Landed Me On An FBI Watchlist" goes to...
- I understand that TJ's lines in this scene may be impenetrable to folks without English as their first language; his dialogue is intentionally vague and laden with slang and twisted metaphors. In addition, there are a lot of callbacks to seemingly minor things as far as 300 pages ago. I'll try to link to a "plain English" version here soon.
My inking style suddenly changed around Page 3. Hmm.
- Page 3:
It would have taken an entire separate panel for the change of expression needed to show it, so just take my word that Amal is imitating his dad's voice here.
"Manam intha neeku chesina..." is something like "After all we've done for you..." in Telugu. Many thanks to Shivani Ishwar for the translation. (The full sentence is "Manam intha neeku chesina, itla etla manatho untavu?")
An alternate version (which was previously in place), was "tere liye kya kuch nahi kiya", lit., "what have we not done for you" in Hindi; however, Hindi isn't spoken around Amal's home nearly as much.
Either way, he's expecting his parents to berate him for his admittedly selfish behavior.
- Chapter End
There's a first time for everything.
Chapter title is a combo of two songs: "Riding for the Feeling" by
Bill Callahan (aka Smog), and
"Gospel" (5.1MB MP3) by Aussie indie folk-pop band The Treetops.
Callahan's acclaimed album Apocalypse came out in 2011, making this chapter title anachronistic, but the song fit the first half of the scene too beautifully to deny.
There's very little about The Treetops on the web, and their website is gone, but the Gospel EP is still available via Amazon here.
- Traveling north-east on I-95, passing the Long Wharf area of New Haven, Connecticut.
- The song on the car stereo is The Decemberists' "California One / Youth and Beauty Brigade".
- Sort of rolling the sound around on his tongue, there. Again, there's a first time for everything.
- I think this might actually be the most intimate moment in the comic.
- Names on the billboard are not those of real lawyers.
- TJ's referring to the Sesame Street TV special "Don't Eat The Pictures". I like to imagine that his mom or grandma taped it or found it on VHS somewhere in the late 80's or early 90s, and TJ just wore the thing out.
I guess TJ's familiarity with the Muppets but not the Simpsons tells a little bit about TV habits in his childhood home...?
- Dr. Teeth - Fozzie Bear - Bert. I liked including Amal's little unconscious gesture here; truth is, he has to do maintenance to keep from having a unibrow, and he's a little self-conscious about it. (Yep, scrawny, thirteen year old Amal with a unibrow and headgear. You're welcome.)
- Artistic license-- the state line sign isn't nearly that big in real life.
- TJ's getting excited about The Big Blue Bug (formerly New England Pest Control). It's right there on I-95 as you're heading into Providence.
Chapter title is from the chorus of
Vampire Weekend's "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa". Between this and M.I.A.'s
"Paper Planes" (Chapter 9, "Bona Fide Hustler"),
I think we've nailed down the "inescapable songs of Spring 2008" thing here. Except for that one Spoon song with the rolling bassline, but eh.
I was going to have this song playing inside Sangeeta's apartment, but opted for showing band posters instead.
- This particular building doesn't really exist; like Kavi's parents' house, it's cobbled together from photos of houses in the area. (In this case, Lloyd Avenue, Bowen Street, and Williams Street in particular.) Interior is loosely based off a friend's place I visited in 1999.