There goes the second Chekhov’s Gun of the story; get editing, Tropers.

End of the month! Calgary Expo! Virus and Silversword will both be there!

How about some behind the scenes?

Designing Marley – In Memoriam
Way back when I wrote the character, he had no name or species. He was conjured up on the fly to drive the plot, and he was referred to in scripts as “Antique Guy” or “Jim”. I asked for ideas on how to flesh out this character, and Eastwood suggested a scarab beetle, tying him thematically to the idea of ancient artefacts, what with the sacred scarab’s prevalance in Egyptian antiquities.

I thought this was interesting idea. But bugs are kind of hard to work with. They don’t have much of a face to speak of, and it becomes difficult to give them identifying features. A beetle’s main feature is its big wing casings, and carved scarabs are always depicted viewed from above, as just a big bulky shell. But that would be his back, and that would be A, rarely turned to the viewer, and B, covered up if I wanted to give him clothing of any sort. But I gave it a go, making this dorky looking bug dude.

He kind of lacked any personality though, and also looked too tubby to stand any chance of outrunning the guys in the chase sequence*. So I gave up on the scarab idea as unfortunately impractical, and made a couple of doodles of this generic mammal with glasses and a Tintin cowlick.
* Of course, even in the final design, let’s face it, he wouldn’t be able to outrun the athletic feline that is Rogue. We’ll chalk that up to dramatic license, and Rogue being slowed down considerably by the market crowd.

He had a bit more personality in his design, so I just had to pin a species on and be done with it. But, at a loss for a mammal species, and still quite enamoured with the symbolism of the scarab idea, I gave it one last try, incorporating the cowlick into the bug face, because why not? It could be some spiky, chitinous, pointy bits instead of hair.

It was about this time that I looked into Egyptian scarabs a bit more. Turns out, the Egyptians’ favourite dung beetle was of a particular species, Scarabaeus sacer, and when you image search that, it turns out this species just happens to have spiky, chitinous, pointy bits on its head.

So that was serendipitous.

I’m rubbish at clothing. I ought to get Silversword to design outfits more often, because he’s much better at it. But I thought a Hawaiian shirt would be fun, prevent him from looking too stuffy and academic, and inspired by Wash in Firefly. And in searching for antique shop reference images, I’d spotted this shop owner wearing a set of keys on a lanyard. That struck me as very evocative. You know immediately what they’re for, they’re to open display cases so a customer can take a closer look at that piece of jewellery that caught her eye. Also, apparently neckwear is character design gold, that’s why all the main cast eventually ended up with something around their necks (hint: Vi’s is usually under his shirt).

Then we had him roughed up and shot in the head to drive the plot! Sorry Marley!