This page I wanted to show Morgan dreaming before she even gets the ring. She is the only more connected to everything going on. She’s the Morgan Le Fay of this King Arthur drama. Well, all the girls are a little, but Morgan is most of all. That’s why she’s the only one that wears plaid. The bits of her dream are all hints of what’s to come.
You get your intro to Morgan’s world view and why. Since she is an abrasive person, I wanted to explain her as quickly as possible. The apartment is fairly small but covered in empty cans and bottles. Her dad is passed out on the couch. The whole this is something that as a teenager she is powerless to fix. So she gives up.
page 3 – page 4
Morgan’s first interaction with her dad is to reinforce the previous page. If this comic was in color his eyes would be red from his hangover. Her dad is also fairly young. The tiny lines under his eyes, I wanted him to look tired not old. He’s supposed to be 32. It’s not flat out stated until book 2, but I wanted people to be able to connect the dots that he was very young when he and his girlfriend had Morgan. The way they both communicate with each other is to show this is their normal.
Morgan and Elsie’s gang are the only teenagers in the shopping area since they are cutting school. Stealing candy from one of those candy weight displays seemed like a good minor crime to have Morgan do while she thinks no one is paying attention. I figured that would definitely be something she doesn’t think is wrong because it doesn’t “hurt” anyone. Also eating candy gives her something to do with her hands in the next scene.
page 5 – page 8
I like Morgan popping her collar hoping Elsie doesn’t notice her. Elsie is loud and not that bright. So her intro is her laughing loudly on the previous page before shouting at Morgan. Then she can’t think of a come back. I have it as a running bit that Elsie isn’t good at come backs because while I always like snappy dialogue, it’s odd when EVERYONE can be that quick. Especially, when you have a character who isn’t bright in every other instance.
Elsie’s posse are my two friends Amanda LeFranias and Lin Visel.
Every fight I witnessed as a teenager was two girls. I know the stereotype is that girls leave emotional scars when they bully and boys are the ones that leave physical scars. A big part of Misfits of Avalon is to fight against that. I never saw boys get in a fist fight, I only saw girls wail on each other.
Here I wants to show that Elsie and Morgan do have a lot of common ground. Grownups frequently lump them in together. Once they have a common enemy they stop fighting. Elsie lashes out once her offer of friendship is rejected.
page 9 – 11
This is one of the reasons why I wanted the captions to show each girl’s thoughts. Elsie’s insults do get to Morgan but she is so disaffected and misanthropic that it could be easy to miss without her “I totally have friends” caption.
Cu following Morgan was fun to draw. But I wanted to make sure it doesn’t go on too long. So we have Cu following her beat, then a beat of her noticing, then a beat of her trying something new to ditch him. That repeats 3 times. 3 is generally a good number to repeat something, because twice might be an accident and 4 is overdoing it. Page 11 ends on Cu talking finally to be a good beat before the page turn.
page 12 -15
I watched Morgan to at first doubt what is going on because I always liked that when Luna first talks to Usagi that Usagi assumes she is dreaming. Also since Morgan’s always in trouble with someone “I didn’t do it” would be her immediate reaction to ANYONE looking for her. Not just a talking dog. Any in later pages I screw it up but I in this first scene I wanted it to be clear that Cu is very large. Morgan falling on the ground while he snarls at her is to push that.
There are a few places where I sorta wish Misfits of Avalon was in color. Whenever the ring glows is definitely one of them.
I tried to break up all the exposition so there was never one big info dump. So Morgan just leaving mid-explanation was part of that and also shows how little she takes responsibility for things.
The “You– you” is supposed to show how taken aback Cu is by all this. Throughout the whole series I had a little bit of trouble with Cu emoting. I didn’t want him to end up looking like a Disney cartoon dog.
I always like to put little details in the background when I have time. So while Morgan is running away you can see in one panel a dude looking up as an unseen Cu is going over the fence. Then you get hacky sack guys get knocked over. Then we get the everyone trying to grab dog Cu. A lot of this sequence is sorta to show Cu’s size again. It easy when a mascot animal is a cat or mouse sized.
page 15 – 21
With Elsie back in I wanted to reinforce how often her and Morgan end up in the same boat. They are both banned from the movies and Elsie knows Morgan well enough to guess she stole something. I also wanted to push Elsie being friendly with being excited about Morgan shoplifting rather than judgey.
I like how I broke down Cu’s transformation into a human form. I tried to make Cu’s human disguise reflect what he really is. So his collar becomes a belt that gives his silhouette a tail and his hair sticks up to make ears. He also has a goatee and sideburns to reflect where he has a scruffiest fur. And then he has fur lining on his jacket and boots. And to connect him to the girls and magic he’s got plaid on.
Elsie immediately hits on Cu because she basically does whatever she thinks but that gets shown more in her chapter. Also I had to take a bunch of photo reference to get Morgan biting her ring to try and take it off correct.
I intentionally cut the scene here so the monster could get a nice page turn in the book.
Big showy reveal here. So all the animals monsters in Misfits of Avalon are animals Arthur turns into in The Sword in the Stone mixed with an elemental power. In this case it’s a badger. Since the girls are in North America I looked up American Badgers and realized they don’t have the distinctive look of the badgers in England. So it’s not immediately obvious they are fighting a badger.
page 23 – page 25
There is a small reference to Clone High in Morgan’s argument with Cu about if she has to help.
For Morgan’s transformation I looked at a bunch of magical girl transformations in manga. Everyone who knows the genre probably thinks to the longer elaborate ones in the anime versions. Usually they are pretty quick in the manga though. So I thought the plaid ribbons would work well for a visual short hand even if the girls are far away from the camera.
Also I really like super tall thin panels. They are hard to find a good place for some times. So I’m glad I could use em here.
I had fun drawing both Elsie and Morgan’s reactions to the guardian outfit.
page 26 – 28
While Morgan and Cu argue some more, I wanted to show why Elsie grabs the ring. No one really commented on it but out of all the girls, Elsie is the one who has friend that we see. There is a reason for that. She might be abrasive but she is like to take care of people she cares about. So Amanda and Lin almost getting hurt by badger monster means it’s time for her to step up.
I love every bit of Elsie on page 27 while she taunts Morgan. Same for the first panel of page 28.
Cu while not human does know how they work and I put this in to show that he immediately zeroes in on Morgan and Elsie’s relationship as a thing to be exploited. It’s also why when he needs to tell them something he always tells Elsie while looking human.
I love this first panel. I should color it and use it as an ad for the comic.
So a running thing in Misfits of Avalon is the smarter a character is the more they ask questions. Elsie runs in without thinking about what she’ll do. Morgan almost does the same until she sees how badly that is going for Elsie.
Lámh Gaoithe Dubh is Irish Gaelic. All the spells are.
page 30 – 33
When ever I do a fight I try to make sure the characters use the surroundings and aren’t fighting in the void. So I liked coming up with the trying to hit the badger with one of the branches Elsie tripped on.
Morgan of coarse has to give to Elsie as good as she got because they are children.
I liked doing the lighting on the appearance of Elsie’s hammer.
page 34 – 36
As the first book progresses the girls do get better and better at fight depending on their teamwork. Morgan tripping Elsie is supposed to be the very bad start. Winning by accident is the start so that when they aren’t getting in each others way during book 2 there is contrast.
I had fun drawing Elsie’s little victory dance.
page 37 – 40
Cu says it’s a badger repeated hear to make it clear what type of animal they fought. The others are more obvious, so someone could put together the little easter egg if they wanted. But like I said North American Badgers don’t have obvious face lines that badgers in the UK have.
Morgan gets some exposition from Cu and I tried to show off the outside of her house/street a bit.
When Morgan says Cu can’t come up I again wanted to make a point that Cu’s size as a dog limits him/makes him more obvious than say a cat with a moon on it’s head or mouse with wings. So he’ll not be spending lots of times with the girls in the off hours.
That last panel is supposed to mirror the first page while she was dreaming. I thought both would make nice books ends for Morgan’s chapter.