As you might know, Rudy and I usually meet up on fridays to discuss the tasks at hand, spar over storyboards and events, and then push the comic. During the current hiatus, with the usual hustle and bustle of the holidays looming near, we’ve had to rearrange this schedule something fierce. As always it falls to my trusty companion to make some sense of my rambling script – which he does so, most admirably. It’s not often that we’re in bitter disagreement, although it has happened, and will likely happen again; this is a good thing, it results in a far better final product. We have become invested and attached, and we both want to tell our story as best as we possibly can!

Rudy’s first batch of storyboards is looking pretty good, and so he’s started cleaning up the panels and inserting the lettering, so as not to run out of space. I don’t think it’s much of a spoiler to tell you that we’re placing the focus on a character you haven’t seen much of so far, and this character is looking pretty good in the line-art already. That character in particular has seen a very bumpy development-cycle. I’m aware that I am, once again, being needlessly coy, much like in the first batch of “Behind the Scenes”-posts, but that’s just how it is for now, I’m afraid.

We are rapidly running out of characters from the first chapter whom we may freely discuss – for now, last but not least, is Donnie. Everyone else will have to wait until you’ve been properly introduced; we can promise that at least some of the will step into the spotlight in chapter two. So let’s hear it for…



Donald Gotfried, answering to “Donnie”, was one of the first characters we designed. In order to fill out the roster of carnival-performers, we also looked at the possibilities of combining some mainstays – for Donnie, we looked at the geeks (usually alcoholics or mentally deficient people tasked with biting the heads off of live chickens and small vermin), the strongmen and the goliaths.

We first researched famous cases of Acromegaly, a visually impressive (though often painful) hormonal condition where the body simply does not stop growing, leading to wildly variating silhouettes. As we started to settle on a visual design, we also decided to make Donnie increasingly more docile, to the point where – instead of becoming an intimidating juggernaut, Donnie instead became closer to an excitable and impressionable toddler in the body of a giant. When Rudy drew a design with a stuffed toy, that really was the clincher – Donnie would become the gentlest of giants, the biggest little brother you could imagine.


This posed a problem when I could not reliably have him play the part of the carnival geek without flat-out making him into an expy of Lennie Small. For this, Ella and Ventro came to the rescue – but much of that has yet to play out, and I can’t write much more about this without spoiling other events.

Without wanting to paint an overly cruel picture of the outside world – it’s safe to say that Donnie’s enormous stature and unchecked strength, coupled with his easily cowed personality, would probably have lead to an unnaturally short and violent life in service of unscrupulous people. Donnie needed someone to protect him from himself and the world – and that’s where Ella came in. Although an advanced proto-Ella is in fact featured in one of the images above, she wasn’t designed as Donnie’s minder and protector – that didn’t happen until I actually started drafting the script.

Now, that’s a lot on Donnie – but then, Donnie is a very big boy. We hope you enjoyed this look into the character-design process so far. In closing, allow us to once more wish you happy holidays, with promises of more to come. So as always, check back soon!