Hi folks! So, since Sorcery 101 is over and the site is getting revamped, I’m gonna post writer notes on each chapter so the site isn’t abandoned. If you want to read ahead you can by backing my patreon.
But anyway, let’s get started.
This is the only chapter that doesn’t really have a title. Why? Because I didn’t know I was going to do chapters when I first started.
The whole book is landscape. I made that decision because I thought that was just the shape webcomics were.
I didn’t read many webcomics before starting Sorcery 101. I mostly decided to put it online because I tried to make a comic that came out as self published floppies, but super quickly realized how expensive that was. Basically, I printed the first issue of that series as a floppies and failed to sell some at Anime Boston 2005 in April. Realizing that wouldn’t work, I asked a webcomic artist how to put stuff online. Then, in May, it launched. That one month of looking around at other webcomics, I noticed most were landscape, so that’s what I did.
I have since regretted that. I have a much easier time laying out portrait formatted comic pages.
While drawing the first eight pages I outlined the whole comic.
Those of you who read the comic before 2008 or backed the omnibus kickstarter know that page one isn’t really page one. Basically, I cut the first two original comics. The original page one is Danny looking at a pornmag instead of readying his sorcery book. Pat takes it away and says the centerfold has a “nice rack”. That got removed for three reasons. For one, that’s a lazy/overused joke. Second, it doesn’t really move the story forward. Third, it is super out of character for Pat.
Pat was the only character I didn’t have a strong feel for at the beginning of the story. Basically, before I started making comics, I wrote an entire prose book about Brad where he becomes a werewolf, and meets Ally, Seth, Suzanne, and Lope. It ends with Danny getting blood bonded to Seth. I found prose kind of a chore to write but I finished it and it’s mostly still on my computer. I say mostly because I decided to rewrite it as a comic and as I turned it into a comic, I deleted the prose version. The first chapter was the floppy comic I tried to sell. I have issue two colored but never printed, and issue three is inked. So I drew seventy two comic pages of it. The result is that when I jumped into Sorcery 101, most of the cast was well established in my head. Pat, not being a part of that earlier story, wasn’t. So most of the redo changes in this chapter were cutting jokes that Pat makes. Pat doesn’t make jokes. He is a black hole that sucks out all fun.
The second original comic is cut because it is all clunky exposition about how magic works. I realized it was unnecessary and overly wordy. It’s two paragraphs that can be summed up as ‘it works cause the sorcerer believes it works.’ Then the whole thing ends with a kind of gross joke. Danny being a sex obsessed perv really gets toned down in the redos. In high school, I basically watched too much anime. Sexual harassment as comedy is a comedy trope that is pretty prominent in anime. After growing up and learning how adults actually behave, it made me reconsider/realize how much that stuff could drive away someone who might actually like the rest of the story. I mean, he’s still a horn dog in the new version because that would change the story too much. It’s just not turned up to eleven. Just goes to show that when you consume too much of one thing and only that, creatively it effects you both negatively and positively.
So what is now page one was originally page three. It’s a better start. It establishes that Danny is a screw up and Pat is well aware. In both versions, Pat goes to get the fire extinguisher before Danny even starts the spell. Danny’s spell is in Latin. I took Latin in high school. I used to know off the top of my head what the spell says. Now I kind of know what it says. Pat no longer smiles.
This is mostly the same as it’s a good intro to Rebecca who is mostly in the comic to be a pain. I never know if she is well written, to this day. She’s 5. I don’t spend much time with 5 years olds. So sometimes, with her, it was easier to go with ‘what would a dog do’ rather than ‘what a kid would do’. Hence the jumping.
Originally it was too dialog heavy, so while visually it’s pretty much the same, a lot of the dialog was cut or moved to page four. This starts the tread of whenever Rebecca is caught doing something wrong, she responses with “um….” She doesn’t have a lot of character throughout the comic. I introduce Danny’s dog here. I never really did anything with the dog. I probably should have.
This is a little bit of dialog from the original version of the page before. The rest of the page this lines up with is cut because, once again, I’m toning down Danny being a perv. Also, there is a gap in the conversation you don’t see in the original. I just rewrote it so it flows better while reading all at once.
I never super got into it, but since Ally is an air mage, smoking or other air pollution bothers her more. It never gets flat out said because Ally isn’t even aware that she is extra sensitive. But this exchange is mostly the same since it’s a good example of Danny and Ally’s relationship being built on sass. Danny sure is a dick, huh?
I added Brad asking them to stop to show that he is not on the sass train. He is the nice one.
Danny drives a Porsche. I have a model to help me draw it at different angles. That joke is mostly the same but since I knew how to draw better, I cut the line of dialog that tells you the car is driving away quickly.
Hey, a video store! Remember those? They existed. Also, I know for a fact that Sorcery 101 was completely outlined by this page. I had always planned for Brad to die at the end. Also in the original version, this page was just half a page.
This exchange between Danny and Meg is the biggest change in the redos of chapter one.
Danny was much more down to fight in the original. I was closer to Ramon’s age in the scene and when I redid it, I wanted to make it clear Danny is an adult and more reasonable than a melodramatic teenager. So Danny just laughs at him and is a general asshole because it keeps the conflict going. Danny deserves the lecture he gets at the end.
I mostly used this page to show off how shit Pat’s apartment is. This is one of the few pages with thought balloons. I don’t like the way they look.
Ramon is so dramatic. This page was originally three panels. Making it a whole page makes it more over the top which is Ramon’s MO.
People who leave mean comments about Sorcery 101 usually comment on this page. Spells are long and take time to say. It always bothered me in anime when someone is doing an attack or something that has a lot of build up, the villain never attacks them. Also, if you aren’t saying a spell or poem frequently, you will probably forget it. That is the kinda stuff I think about and is all through Sorcery 101. So if someone is super annoyed by the scene, they should probably not read Sorcery 101.
The spell Danny starts is NOT in Latin. This spell he learned from Lope, not Pat. He doesn’t finish this spell until the third to last chapter. That was the plan. Lope casts it once in As We Were and once in Sorcery 101. It’s takes longer to cast but is stronger.
“He’s a kid and therefore stupid. So ignore him.” This advice is also good for dealing with internet trolls. Like I said ,Danny deserves this lecture. He’s been an ass. While Ramon is also an ass, Danny, as someone in his thirties, should know better than to engage.
Brad, as the nice one, didn’t engage in a dumb fight with/make fun of a teenager and went to get the movie. He’s back in time for Pat to be a jerk. In both versions, Pat says demons because I always thought werewolves verses vampires was dumb. I wanted to make it clear this wasn’t his problem. Pat’s much more inclusive in his hate.
Danny, while an ass, can be nice to his buds. Also, this firms up that him and Pat are not friends.
And there is a deleted comic that is another bad sex joke and introduces Danny’s dog. In the redos, King shows up earlier, so this page gets thrown out for not doing anything.
So that’s the first chapter. I wrote is when I was 18 in 2005 and then redrew is in 2008.