Hell Creek (Page 34)
Phew! Better late than never I present the final page of the fifth Girls in Space story Hell Creek.
Each of the first four stories took exactly four months to tell, and this was the plan for Hell Creek as well. However, even before I began posting pages on 2 May 2011, I realised that it wasn’t going to be so straightforward. First of all, on 16 May 2011 (a year ago today – Happy Birthday Elwood) I became a Dad. I knew this would have an impact on the comic and so, as a precaution I decided to post once a week instead of twice, a decision which instantly meant the story would take twice as long to finish.
Secondly, Toys R Us accepted me onto their Toyologist programme to review toys (in a comic strip format) in exchange for free toys. I soon realised I couldn’t do both Girls in Space and the toy reviews and so the girls went on hiatus for 4 months. So, here we are, over a year since Hell Creek began, finally posting the last page.
Hooray – five complete stories in the bag!
After the fourth story Around the Universe in a Bath Towel (a tale which focused almost exclusively on Red), I wanted to involve Zoe to a greater extent. I also wanted to progress one of the major plot elements of the overall story: exploring why males stopped being born throughout the universe (except Earth). So, when I started to think about these elements I thought about how Earth itself had an extinction event millions of years ago. And while the Earth event was most likely caused by a meteor crash, I felt there was enough ‘wriggle room’ to insert my own explanation.
With the decision that the space crew were now going to be going to be stranded in Prehistoric Earth, it was clear that they wouldn’t face a villain (just some hungry predators). I decided that Zoe would face the villain this time, an entirely different type of predator! Dr Alex Delgado isn’t your typical Sci-fi villain, but to Zoe who grew up without males around, he’s just about as alien as it gets.
I also wanted to progress Zoe’s relationship with Fergus, but rather than turning Girls in Space into a Rom Com, I chose to make her dealings with Dr Delgado help her to realise her feelings for Fergus.
When I first began this story I had never attempted to draw a dinosaur, and the first attempt looks quite cartoony. However, after buying a toy dinosaur to use as a reference model, it got easier to depict the T-Rex more frighteningly.
If there is one thing I learned from Hell Creek, it is that I cannot work without a buffer. I had several late pages and put myself under a lot of stress to churn out last-minute (and sub-standard) pages. For the next story, this isn’t going to happen. I intend to build up a buffer (possibly even the full story) before I post anything. So, I’m sorry to say this is the last page you’ll see for a while.
Thank you for reading this story, for sticking with it through the delays. The comments were the only thing pushing me on at times and I really appreciate them all.
While I work on the next story, I’m going to post weekly pin-up art on the site.