ANNOTATIONS FOR “COFFEE AND DREAMS” AND “THE CHASE” FROM “BY FACTORY SMOKE AND ACETYLENE LIGHT”

COFFEE AND DREAMS

The second published Mary story (Digital Webbing #23) the first in color. Ed Dukeshire hated this story, he’s in the minority. The idea sprang almost fully developed while in the shower and I think it shows off the versatility of Mary. Coffee is a slow burn and is a lot more about the internal workings of this universe. The story also introduces two of the trinity, Roswell and Hoax. Loki would’ve been superfluous in this story. J.K. was experimenting with a different style, what he calls his Diego Bernstein; markers (I think) instead of guash. He was doing something similar at the time for Fallen Angel at IDW. A bit quicker in process but no loss in emotional punch or detail.
PG 1
Pn 1 – I don’t think I need to point out the pun of Apollo’s Coffee.
Pn 3 – “It’s not like I could stop you.” The first hint at Mary’s relationship with her trinity, Roswell in particular; she considers it a pain in the ass. She can’t even have a cup o’ joe in peace.
Pn 4 – Mary expands on why it can be a pain in the ass.
Pn 6 – Be careful what you ask for.
PG 2
Pn 1 – “Very Hitchcock…” Mary is referring to the famous Hitchcock lesson about the difference between surprise and suspense; two men sitting at a table talking and a bomb underneath explodes. The audience is surprised. Two men talk at a table and the audience knows there is a bomb underneath is suspense.
I recently discovered an expansion on the Hitchcock lesson by playwright Tom McCormack which dovetails nicely with the rest of the Coffee story :
Once again, imagine a restaurant where there’s is a ticking bomb under the table, and we in the audience know it’s going to go off in fifteen minutes. Now imagine one of the characters knows it as well, but can’t reveal it. With this, the suspense ratchets to another level. Not only are we aware of the impending explosion, we share in the character’s anxiety to get away and the excruciating effort of acting totally unconcerned even as the bomb ticks down. The emotional connection we have to a character for whom this situation is a matter of life or death makes the suspense we feel that much greater.
This isn’t quite what happens in Coffee but it does reflect the added layer of suspense.
Pn 2 – The idea of choice is another recurring theme in Crazy Mary.
Pn 3 – “Like I have a choice.” This falls into the question of choice; it’s not in Mary’s character to allow innocent people to die. Since she has the burden of knowing something is going to happen and her character would reflexively attempt to do something about it, does she really have a choice?
Pn 4 – Roswell plays along, to an extent. This speech does double duty; it reminds Mary of the mechanics of this universe and her place in it and opens the door for the next story and the next Mary GN plot.
Pn 6 – “Three choices… Yes, No and Maybe.” This is the most important trinity in Crazy Mary. This is the biggest recurring theme; the subjective nature of reality, neatly encapsulated in three words.
Note Magritte’s Son of man behind Roswell. Magritte is my favorite artist. Son of man was the template for Roswell in the first place.
Pn 7 – “You know what my choice is.” Is it a choice?
Dali’s Persistence of time can be seen in background, my second favorite artist. Fitting that the surrealists are given a shout out in Mary, don’t ya think?
PG 3
Pn 1 – Making the Roswell/Son of man connection blatant.
Roswell gets in a gentle dig at Mary and drops a clue as to what the prize is at the end.
Pn 2 – Completing the Roswell/Son of man circuit. Mary was originally scripted says “Damn!” I forget if the final cut was intentional or an accident.
Pn 5 – The readers first reveal of a second trinity member, Hoax.
Pn 5-7 The classic Mary P.O.V. set up.
The dude with the baboon jaw freaks me out.
PG 4
Pn 1 – Here comes the hearse.
Pn 3 – If it wasn’t obvious before Hoax was pointing to the fire alarm. The perfect means to clear the coffee shop in seconds, helping Mary in her choice.
Pn 4-7 Hoax is the member of the trinity that most of the bad things happen around; if she pops up death will be involved or at least massive collateral damage
PG 5
Pn 1 – Case in point.
J.K. outdid himself here.
Pn 3 – Silas Blackburn R.I.P.
Pn 4-5 – Originally there was no dialogue for these two panels. Josh felt that we needed to point out that Silas had a crystal in his hand. I felt that it was obvious. Calling back to Roswell’s comment is a bit on the nose but at this point the reader has no idea why a man died for a chunk of rock. And her line tells what the item is without answering any questions.
That is the next story’s job.
CHASE
As I said above Ed Dukeshire hated Coffee and Dreams simply for the fact that it wasn’t like Trail of tears. “It didn’t have enough action” was his reason. Chase was a direct response to that comment; it is nothing BUT action… on the surface. Since I figured that was all Ed cared about I gave him a rip roaring flying car chase through the canyons of Megalopolis. Chase also gave me an opportunity to do yet another type of Mary story where the visual was all action but the reading is a completely different experience (Subjective nature of reality anyone?) a similar but more extreme version of the Trail of tears structure. The original version of this story (which appeared in a digital webbing Mary one-shot called “Trinity”) was illustrated by Fedrico Zumel and was a bit of a mess. My experience in being an editor get discount viagra online was limited and diluted even more because I still got psyched at seeing my words become visuals. Thus I missed a lot of mistakes that Fedrico doubtlessly would’ve fixed if I had said something.
This version, which is completely re-done by William Blankenship (Doublejumpers, NFL Rushzone), debuts here in “By factory smoke…” more on him later.
Josh Finney, my editor, was no stranger to aerial action having done the spellbinding Titanium Rain. He helped shape the re-write and give it a bit more punch and coherency but the story and its objective have remained the same; you learn about Mary’s trinity while watching a dazzling kinetic story long action scene.
PG 1
Pn 1 – A nice big panel filled with Easter eggs. William came up with the idea to put the credits on the billboards and signs.
Yes, I have flying cars in Crazy Mary. What I really dig is each artist’s take on the flying car; William’s looks like back to the future hover conversion, Ryan’s looked more like star wars mini-rigs (google it, if you’ve never seen them) and JK created the feel of a car but also something new. I don’t really have a preference but I think William’s take is perfect for this particular story. If I remember correctly the cars were the toughest part of the illustration, William had never really tackled hardware in such volume before.
PG 2
Pn 1 – Tweek must’ve been watching some western on sync just before this story kicked off.
Pn 2 – Tweek’s lair looks nothing like Epilogue. Holograms are cool things aren’t they?
Glimmer is the defacto narrator for the series. Obviously he is referring to the events of Coffee and Dreams.
You don’t see much of Glimmer’s wardrobe but he rocks a Jerry Cornelius/Gideon Stargrave/Jon Pertwee/60’s British spy look. This is partly because he’s originally a magician showman but it’s also because if I had the guts and a hundred less pounds I’D rock this style too.
Pn 3 – The data crystal from Coffee and dreams; I assumed any self-respecting SF fan knew what a data crystal was in the other story. Turns out that’s not the case. Most writers also recognize the crystal for what it is: a mcguffin.
PG 3
Pn 2 – A lot of interesting billboards hidden in the cityscape. I swear that’s a They Live alien on the left.
“Where we are now” is another recurring line.
Josh added the motion blur on the cars, it really amplifies the sense of speed.
Pn 3 – Street names – 56th no signifigance, Vailo – a tribute to my favorite Yu-Gi-Oh card Maha Vailo, Morrison – Jim or Grant whichever dealer’s choice.
PG 4
Pn 1 – I always yell “Punch it!” in an ironic way.
Pn 2 – What did get scrubbed from this version was all the narration about her Trinity. The visuals and placement in the GN line up rendered it somewhat superfluous
Ident signals on trucks. I think they have something like that for real, if not, soon.
Pn 4 – More than the cars is each artist’s take on Mary’s vision. William’s style is something akin to Tex Avery emulating H.R. Giger on the brown acid laced with DMT. Oddly enough I think he felt more comfortable doing these panels than the straight up car chase material.
“THIS WAY for comFORt and pleaSURE.” Writing that pissed off the autocorrect on my word processor.
PG 5
Pn 1 – “My guess, Mary just had one of her moments.” Good guess Glimmer.
Pn 2 – One of the intangibles but driving forces of Mary is her trinity’s tweaking of cause and effect. Mary needed to choose between left and right, Roswell told her left.
Pn 3 – Meet Loki, a decidedly non-Tom Hiddleston looking imp and the weird third of Mary’s trinity. I mean, he is putting the moves on a hula doll. He also allows Mary to twist cause and effect to her favor and makes a bad pun while doing it…
PG 6
Pn 1 – The hula doll gets tossed…
Pn 2 – We get to do Dr. Stangelove homage…
Pn 3 – It causes Tony to lose his concentration…
Pn 4 – jerking the wheel…
Pn 5 – Almost knocking Dan outta the car. This buys Mary the precious seconds she needs for the events that happen next. Of course she doesn’t know that it’s going to work that way just that her spirit guides are helping her out.
I constantly crack up with Dan calling Tony “Bitch” it’s a funny little detail that adds to the story.
PG 7
Pn 4 – There is no significance to 1988. Seriously, it’s just below 2000. Move along…
PG 8
If I remember correctly Josh gave the tilt to the panels and shifted panels a bit to create a greater sense of energy. I’m sold.
Pn 2 – “The Utopiate” if you haven’t read Josh and Kat’s Utopiates remedy that situation right now www.01publishing.com and order a signed copy.
Pn 4 – About the only place we could put a Blues Brothers shout out.
PG 9
Pn 1 – Looks like those few seconds lost cost Tony and Dan. I’d feel bad for the people on the bus, originally it was one of those shipping trucks with a busted ident signal. It’s late night so there probably wasn’t anybody on the bus anyway.
Pn 4 – Meet Hoax; remember what I said about collateral damage?
“The smell of success” and “Providence” very telling and still not the last play on words in this story.
PG 10
One of the bigger questions that runs through Mary is stated on this page
Pn 2 – For some reason Loki shouting “Yaaahoooo!” and Mary telling him “Shut up!” didn’t’ make the final.
PG11
Pn 3 – “Ok feels pretty subjective right now.” Right on the nose.
Pn 6 – The last and biggest wordplay; The Continential sign becoming “CONTIN” in the same panel that Glimmer tells Mary about getting “Brotherhood of the void” off the data crystal. If you look close you can see sparks making the ellipses “…” right after the “Contin”.

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