Okay so, as you may be guessing, today is a “lineart now colors later” day.
Basically, I had this update penciled and ready to ink like normal, then looking over it realized a lot of pacing and story issues it presented that I didn’t really catch when the scene I had intended to draw today was just “on paper”. I basically lay awake in bed the other night rolling it around in my head and mapping out a more appropriate plan for today’s strip, then this afternoon before work scrapped what I had already penciled and redrew it all from scratch. Between that and a very tiring day at work, today’s installment got set back a bit. So, apologies, but I’ll be adding in the color and backgrounds later today. Possibly might not be until Thursday, I don’t know yet. (But I have Thursday off work, so no danger of a delay on Friday’s strip. Knock on wood.)
If you want the long version of what would have been in today’s strip, check the Director Commentary. The short version is that the original version kind of led into a derail where everything focused on Moonsong and his blind left eye for like three pages.
(And since I mentioned it and since Moonsong’s left eye is being shown again today, I am going to confirm the reader speculation that he is indeed blind in his left eye.)
The original version of this strip focused pretty heavily on Moonsong. I've had him planned out from the beginning as being blind in his left eye (hence the bangs covering it), but initially and for the past three years up until now I had intended for him to have a false glass eye, not just a blind eye.
The original script for today had Moonsong take a snowball to the back of the head which popped out his false eye. While he was scrabbling on his hand and knees to find it and trying to call a Time Out, Michael made ready to lob another snowball at him, only to be stopped by a barrage of snowballs from Keisha Heather and Ricky. Sandy runs up to Moonsong expressing concern over his false eye being popped out and the action sort of pauses while he looks for it. Ricky finds it in the snow and picks it up, only to be grossed out by the residues left on it ("Eeew! It's all slimy!") Moonsong snatches the false eye out of Ricky's hand angrily and glares at him. With his hair being blown to the side and his empty socket exposed Moonsong retorts to Ricky, "Of COURSE it's slimy! It's been in my head!"
I've had that scene and the "Of COURSE it's slimy! It's been in my head!" line running around my mind for almost as long as Moonsong's been around. In fact, the original draft of this snowball fight arc was ALL ABOUT the reveal of his false eye and Moonsong's "origin story" before I rewrote it to focus on Selkie.
But as the snowball fight built up to the "Moonsong loses his false eye" moment, I started thinking about all the complications it brought up and it felt less and less like a good idea to have included in the arc.
Even if I chose to ignore the fact that the whole scene is unnecessary and does nothing but add ANOTHER character thread to the arc, the whole image of Moonsong having a false eye pop out and run around with an empty socket has a lot of squick and gross-out factors involved that would only detract, and not add, to the whole. And I had already been drawing his "false eye" as if it were a "blind eye" anyway, so taking the extra time out of the arc to emphasize and draw attention to it brought nothing to the table.
In the end, I chose to re-draw and re-write this strip to focus more on the group as a whole galvanizing and banding together. Which has the benefit of greatly shortening the time away from Selkie's crisis. And as for the false eye, since I was already rendering it as a blind eye anyway I decided to null the false eye premise and just leave it exactly as it appeared to be: a blind left eye.
Second Longest Commentary Ever.