The UPTOWN GIRL vs TOMMY CHICAGO vs MANLY TALES OF COWARDICE crossover from 2008 was written by BRIAN BASTIAN, pencilled (and inked) by BOB LIPSKI, and inked (and pencilled) by me. Brian and Bob are here to join me for some reflections on this project:
BRIAN BASTIAN: I could have probably written a hundred pages of Tommy Chicago and Stella just talking about random things but we already had too many pages, so I doubt I would have gotten away with too many more. And you need to save something for the next crossover. We did this issue before the first volume of Tommy Chicago wrapped up, as well as before the second one began. But I knew that there’d be a new location, so this is the first appearance of the Surly Bean. Also for you continuity nuts, continuity takes place right in the middle of Tommy Chicago Vol 2 #1.
This was also my overreaction to characters saying each others names in stories. I know, especially with small press creations you never know what issue someone is going to be someones first, and giving the character names through the story is a great way to keep everyone informed and I’ve used it plenty of times myself but I rarely talk like that in real life. Do you Danno? How about you Bob?
BOB LIPSKI: Pencilled by Danno, inked by me. As I said before, I designed the characters in ‘Tommy Chicago’ so it’s really weird to see someone else draw them. Danno draws the hell out of anything he draws so he gives their world a lot more textures and life…and backgrounds. This was also one of the first times I ever inked anyone besides myself, and man was it intimidating. It was also a lot of fun. Danno gives Tommy Chicago a lot more facial expressions than I ever did. I usually gave him his typical scowl that rarely changed. Danno took over the permanent art chores on Brian’s comic and it’s been the best thing that has ever happened. Brian’s weird comic deserves better art than I have the time to do. Danno’s art on ‘Tommy Chicago’ is so good that I’m embarrassed at the ‘Tommy Chicago’ comics I drew.
DANNO KLONOWSKI: For as self deprecating as he is, none of what I do on TOMMY CHICAGO could be done without what Bob did first. In fact everything I do with TC–including specifically these pages–comes from studying the 14 TOMMY CHICAGO stories Bob illustrated and adding my own layers to that world. Bob calls’em ‘backgrounds’, but he built those backgrounds for me. I just figure out what color the walls are painted. Also, I think all writers kinda hate writing expository information, especially things as basic as characters names, so the exchange TC and Stella have is brilliant. That should have won a Pulitzer.
ALSO: So when my client asked for ‘THE BATMAN’ version of the Joker and I saw what he looked like I thought “That is dumbest Joker I have ever seen“. After I finished doing the following I thought “Yeah, he’s still dumb…But fun as hell to draw“: