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M2: Harmony Retrospective Part Two

 

Writing and the Characters

I am not exactly a stranger to fan fiction. The first “novel” I wrote, if it was even long enough to qualify, was one about Samus of Metroid’s origins. After that, I went onto my own stories for years, never writing a piece of fan fiction again. Until Harmony arrived, which I never really considered fan fiction at all at first—as in, it didn’t occur to me, maybe because I was writing it for a comic. But it’s still words being translated into images, and at its heart, our comic is fan work, which is a genre I see falls into a few distinct styles. You can have your “during” prose, which expands on a character’s thoughts, or adapts a scene from the game or movie into great detail. Then you can have your before or after writing that chronicles the events that happened around the original work. Then you can also have your branching story, which takes probably just about one character, minor or major, and gives them their own adventure with little mention of the events of the original work. Harmony does a bit of all three. And of these three styles, there are two kinds of fan fiction: those that get it wrong, and those that get it right. And the number one element that decides that is the characters. You can’t recreate them, give them new personalities, or make them say things they’d never say. And this is something I wanted to be sure to avoid in Harmony.

Writing fan fiction means adapting someone’s work. This has been done for centuries; books into illustrations, novels into movies, and games into movies (a prospect that as we know, rarely works). In RPG games, you basically have as much time you want to run around the town, talking to every NPC (non-playable character), learning some history about said town or recent events. But you can’t do that in a non-game environment. Tracy isn’t going to spend half the comic going into random houses, talking to the people inside who would be freaked out, and then opening their presents or garbage cans for goodies. This means that every piece of dialogue has to be given to her instead, and it has to have purpose for the plot. At the same time, we want to show some of that witty and memorable dialogue that’s familiar to any Mother fan. The best way to do this is to make unique characters who have something to contribute, however small, to the scene. The ice cream guy, the janitor, Mom, Dr. Andonuts, even bug-eyed girl Mildred all have different voices, meaning that they aren’t just another nameless non-playable townsperson. Through a varied cast, the story comes to Tracy and the gang, and the action moves forward depending on how they physically react. Turning a script or a screenplay into a comic is just like turning it into a movie. They both have a different flow than a book or game, and everything is externalized, visual, and instant, where in a book or game, the experience is more visceral, and the scenes, characters, and even the pace of the story is left up to your imagination.

The main purpose of any fan fiction is to expand on the characters while not betraying them. It’s not about taking one of the cast and making them a conduit for how you want them to be, but rather, how the closest they should logically be. Take Picky for example. In the game, most of his lines are at the beginning when he’s traveling with you. Afterwards, he’s literally stuck at home for the rest of the story and barely says anything else. But out of the dialogue we do get, we can see that Picky is a little friendlier and maybe a little smarter than his older brother. Now imagine what it’d be like in real life to have your older brother disappear, and to have parents that don’t care about you, and you’re part of a family that everyone in town hates. You’d probably be starved for friends. Luckily, the diligent, trustworthy, and kind Tracy, who lives next door, knows you exist. And Picky, probably just excited about having any friend at all, doesn’t see her as a romantic interest (not yet at least), and instead just wants to be there for her.

Of course, that’s all just my interpretation. Both Picky and Tracy could change in a lot of ways over those twelve years, maybe never being friends at all. There’s a lot of room for creativity, but there are limits. I have a hard time seeing Picky getting really fat like Porky and turning into a life-hating bully, for example. Nor do I see him turning into a one-man army who smokes a cigar and mows down enemy Starmen with a machine gun in either hand. But hey, if that’s how you see him, then by all means. But I’d suggest a backstory about why he became that way. Just remember, the more extreme you go in changing the characters, the harder it will be to believe that they’re the same person we remember.

 

Fan fiction is all about taking existing characters and expanding on them while remaining true to their origins and personality, while still letting yourself be creative enough to make them your own characters along the way.

Writing original characters is even tougher, because since they’re brand new and have to be introduced, you have make them acceptable to the story’s universe to make them work. It’s not uncommon for sequels to games and movies to violate this idea, although sometimes even the strangest cast additions can eventually work their way in and fit alongside the others. Take Jar Jar Binks as a famous example of StarWars fame. If you saw the Gungan out of the story, would you honestly say, “Oh, yeah! He totally belongs in the same universe as Han Solo and Luke Skywalker!” You can always have your offbeat characters and those that just don’t seem to fit in with ones we’re used to; just make sure there’s a reason for it somewhere down the road.

The two most major new characters in the main story of Harmony are Kang and Lydia, who on the drawing board, had their genders reversed. Poo’s daughter probably would’ve been smart, sophisticated, and could use her PSI and sword well. Boy Lydia probably would’ve been just another Jeff clone. But instead we get the sassy, intelligent, but lovable Lydia, and the smack-talking, “I’m all that,” constant screw up that is Kang, and they are much more exciting than what they might’ve been. Before you start drawing your characters, think what a simple gender, age, or personality change might do to make them stand out a little more. And most importantly, for every character, make us care about them, make them true to life, and make them react like they would to any event in the story like they might in real life. Characters drive the story. They have to either influence the world around them, or change and grow themselves. If they’re just along for the ride and being dragged about by the plot without learning anything at the end of the day, your story won’t succeed.

I’ll finish off with some tidbits about the writing process. The idea of Project Harmony didn’t come up until long after the name was already chosen, although I did plan early on to show the world before Mother 3 at some point. The script was divided into seven parts, although the comic first started being made only when part two of the script was complete. We basically rushed it at first, but it thankfully worked out for us in the end. I highly recommend making a script first, whether you’re working by yourself or not, before you start the first page. This can save you a lot of time and frustration later. Lastly, be adaptable to either your artist if you’re working with someone, or to yourself. Pages have to be formatted in a certain way. Unless it’s a moment of suspense, never cut a page on an action sequence. If that means you have to remove a line or two, or give them to someone else, it’s better than ending a page right as a character jumps or fires something out of a bazooka. Every page should have a beginning, middle, and end.

Meedee quips:
Designing a character’s physical appearance follows many of the same ideas as writing them. Why do they look this way, what affected them to dress like this and wear their hair so? Do they eat a lot, exercise, what is their preferred activity fitting to their personality and does it affect their appearance? Most importantly, the character’s personality should shine through their design. Posture, facial features, and expressions, and even colors are all aspects of this. For example, though the characters in Harmony have new wardrobes than what they wore in the game, I use similar color schemes and styles to show they are the same character, just grown up. It’s so terrible to make an adult Ness wearing clothes he wore at thirteen…

A design also has to be practical for the character’s purpose and what their actions will be later in the story and throughout it, and should be something that is easy to draw constantly. A design should also be able to express change in the character as per the script or through subtle symbolic meaning. For example, Tracy wears a girly and rather childish bow in her hair up until she has to finally use PK Puppies to defend the people she cares about, becoming an adult. Lydia’s hair is naturally curly, but is kept in shape through hair gel. When rain washes it out, she’s shedding the falseness of her future and moving on to a happier time in her life. I feel, without some change in design representing change in the character, the effect isn’t as complete.

Harmony as a Standalone

Harmony was always going to be a story for the fans of the series. That said, I also wanted to put just enough information in the comic that newcomers could at least have some idea about the origins of the characters, and what happened twelve years ago. While it’s not necessary to play Mother 3 before reading Harmony (although you’ll spoil yourself a bit), Earthbound/Mother 2 is still going to be something that should be experienced beforehand. But what about people who don’t even play video games, or haven’t heard of the series?

Actually, over the many months of posting Harmony pages, readers have shared their experiences of getting others interested in the story who had never played the games. In Mother 2, the main characters don’t say much, but there’s enough hints about their personalities to expand on them and basically make them the same characters they were before in Harmony, and they hold up as distinct, fun individuals. As far as story goes, we really only need to know the basics about what happened twelve years prior. Ness, Paula, Jeff, and Poo saved the world from an evil called Giygas, and Porky turned evil. First time readers don’t need to know about the soundstone, the sanctuary locations, the kraken, or any number of the subplots unless one of them specifically ties into Harmony. This keeps the past’s premise simple and easy to understand. Fan fiction isn’t about just appeasing the hardcore fans who know every detail of the source’s story. It’s about making a story that can hold up on its own, and be enjoyed by people who have only played a game once and may not remember too much of it, or even by people who have never played a game at all.

Only about half the full Harmony cast was seen in Mother 2/Earthbound.

After the main story is complete, the other adventures in Harmony have even less to do with the events of Mother 2, and what connections are there are explained just enough so that the reader can understand what happened. For example, in A Winters Tale, we learn that Sven’s an alien, and the base he worked at was invaded and shut down by Ness and company, putting him out of a job. We don’t need to go into specifics that they were kidnapping people, or that the base was blocked by an eraser (or a Kokeshi in the Japanese version).

When you write a piece of fan fiction, you are writing for a specific audience. But it’s no reason to totally alienate anyone else who might be interested in a comic that happens to catch their eye. This philosophy will be even more prevalant when we start working on Memoria.

Meedee wants you to know:
When we first started Harmony, I had no idea of the places it would reach to and the people who would read it. Considering the vastness and the weirdness of the internet it makes me nervous to wonder how many readers we really have, but it’s also rewarding to know, as an artist, that my work is getting across not just as a follow up to a game series, but as a work that can stand freely on its own as well.

Sidequests

To keep things fairly simple, easy to manage, and give us a chance to expand on a locale and characters, the main story of Harmony took place only in Fiveton. But we wanted a chance to both explore new areas and characters and still keep these stories relevant. Solution: make more stories. But not for no reason other than to give us a chance to expand creatively. These stories had to expand the Harmony universe, from a semi-short main story to a saga sprawling across several more chapters. Some of these stories were just for fun, but two of them are pretty big tellings even on their own.

Tale of the Jacket was the first, done in Meedee’s spare time and uploaded on Sundays. It is the only comic of the series to not have full color, but rather simple tones. Picky retells the events that happened at the beginning of the senior year at Onett High, so it’s something of a prequel to Harmony. Because Picky gets facts wrong and exaggerates, Tale of the Jacket really gave us a chance to go all out on the humor, wacky, over the top dialogue and characters, and satirize the whole teen movie genre as much as we wanted. Sure, the events of Tale of the Jacket happened in some way and are canonical, but the story itself is actually the least important in the whole series, giving us room to just be a bit goofy. Picky gets his jacket after his “cool training” with the former Shark member Frank, and then saves Tracy from the grasp of Scott, the local tough and cool kid who became obsessed with Tracy’s teeth after she got her braces off. He’s also pretty creepy. This story also gives a few scenes and characters seen during Picky’s flashback in the main story some roles to play, and Tale of the Jacket shows what Tracy and Picky’s friendship was like before things got weird in Fiveton.

A Harmony Halloween was a simple four page adventure that basically sets up a single joke for the end concerning Picky’s poor costume-making abilities. It also gave us a chance to show Tracy and Picky in college (sort of, briefly) and of course, let us see the gang in Halloween costumes. Like Meedee knows, designing alternate outfits for your characters is fun, and the fans love it, too. The Halloween special also gave me a chance to pay homage to some of my favorite game series with costumes seen at Paula’s party. Fun fact: A Harmony Halloween shows Melody, and was actually made before she was even born in the main comic due to timing (the main story was almost done at this point, but we couldn’t get it finished before Halloween). Her name and gender weren’t even revealed to the readers, however.

A Winters Tale was a lot of fun to make. At 20 pages, we had enough room to set up a full story, and it’s a very satisfying one that completes some loose ends, gives us a new fun villain, and concludes the main cast’s stories in Harmony on a happy note. Six months after the incident at Fiveton, the gang goes to Winters with Paula, Ness, and his baseball team for a little league showdown, while Jeff also tags along to take care of some personal business at his father’s lab. Paula and the others stay at a resort. Unfortunately, Tracy’s guy troubles pick up again as Sven, a Cheddish tourist, starts making moves almost as soon as they arrive. After threatening and attacking Picky, the gang learns that he is actually a mook in disguise—an alien that worked at the nearby Stonehenge base, and was put out of a job after the base was shut down. Now he wants revenge on Ness, and he planned to do this by kidnapping his sister Tracy. Until he actually saw her and then fell in love, at least. After Paula shows up and we finally get to see some PK Fire wielded by the heroes (and a successful PK Tornado by Kang, to boot), Sven finds himself beaten. But the holidays being what they are, they decide to let him go, and it turns out he isn’t such a bad guy after all. While all of this is happening, Jeff’s old friend Tony helps him get past what happened to his father, and even introduces him to a lady friend he knows. Despite Jeff’s flaws, he and Gwen hit it off, and Jeff reminds himself of how thankful he is that he has so many loyal friends—people he can consider family. At the end, we get a photograph of nearly the entire cast of the series, and we know that for this colorful bunch, everything will be all right. They have each other and know it’s all they need. Again, a sharp contrast to Porky’s story, which has yet to conclude.

And then there’s The White Ship Story. By this point, we had told our readers that Tracy and company’s adventures had concluded, so they didn’t quite know what to expect with this last one. To most of them, we had probably given them more than enough. But we still had one last tale to tell, and without it, Harmony just didn’t feel complete. This chapter turns Lydia and her father’s brief summary of events at the end of Harmony into a full-blown story with its own characters and a journey unlike all of the other chapters of the comic. Separated from the rest of the series by all but a thread, White Ship had us design a completely new cast, places we’d see, and of course, the majestic ship itself both inside and out. With Leder’s story in Mother 3 concerning the white ship and the old world leaving a lot to interpretation, we had a lot of creative freedom on this one. Its goal was to fully connect, at last, Mother 2 & 3, and bring the games and the events that connect them full circle. We see younger versions and the parents of the cast in Mother 3 go along in their journey of escape and starting over, all led by a surprising leader who had just a minor part and little dialogue in Mother 3—Scamp. There are some original characters tossed in, including Penny, who has a dark backstory that helps show the cruelty of the old world, and a final appearance (for now) of the mysterious Starface. This chapter even uses black gutters during the first half in the dystopian world, and then transitions into white ones once they reach Nowhere Island to represent their journey from darkness. Meedee also let herself be looser, and sometimes goes out of the panels and tries something completely new, which will also be done in Memoria. At the end, we briefly get to see the island’s untainted wonders and a few of its whimsical locals. I won’t say anything more about this one, which measures in at 45 pages (over half of Harmony’s length), but it’s an experience that should be seen and felt by anyone in love with Mother 3’s story.  

Sven the vengeful mook and the white ship itself; you won’t see these in the main Harmony story, but they both expand on it.

Finally, we have two journals/diaries that aren’t quite comics, but focus on a couple of characters as they write down their thoughts on what they’ve experienced in their worlds. Lydia’s Journal was a 10 part written diary requested by Meedee, who did the illustrations. I actually liked the idea so much that I finished writing all the pages in a single night, that chronicle young Lydia’s story as she grows up, loses her mother, and becomes the somewhat cold and uncaring person we see at the beginning of Harmony. It’s illustrated by her, as well, and her sketches and grammatical ability increase pretty quickly as her journal progresses and she grows up—probably due to the accelerated education program. In Hinawa’s Diary, young Hinawa records her experiences in the village of Tazmilly, where she lives innocently and modestly, like everyone else. We see the villagers grow up around her, and she writes of her growing relationship with Flint. There’s even a moment where Hinawa catches Scamp and Leder talking about an “old world,” although she has no idea what that could possibly mean. Her diary is also illustrated, but unlike Lydia’s, the illustrations aren’t her own and are just used for a visual guide. Unique to this story, this is almost purely Meedee’s creation, with myself only helping to create a basic plot that flows nicely. Hinawa’s Diary takes us years ahead in the world of the Nowhere Islands, bringing Harmony into the furthest possible future, right up to Lucas’s adventure.

Meedee thinks aloud:
To me, side stories are a really nice way to expand on and develop the main story more. They offer different perspectives and enrich characters in ways the main story can’t always do. Being able to come up with new costumes is always a nice bonus, as well, and since you can change the setting, you get to basically instantly add characters that would’ve needed a build up in the main story of Harmony, or just not fit at all. If it weren’t for these additional chapters, I would’ve never gotten to draw Tony, Gwen, Frank, Paula in combat, and of course, Sven. I still have nightmares about that spa scene in A Winters Tale, though.
The Community and Posting a Comic on a Forum

Starmen.net’s comic section has been running for many years now, and it still relies on good old fashioned manual updating. With nothing automatic, the section only gets an update about once a week, and unless you get some comments in the news post that has the information about the new update, you won’t get any feedback on your comic. While the comic section is fine for a place to archive your work nice and neat like, the real action for fan work goes down in the forums, where most Mother series fan comics get their start. You can get a new comment or question any moment, and the thumb system allows users to “up vote” a post, which helps the topic get more views if it receives enough votes to appear on one of the “today’s awesome posts” lists. Quality work tends to get many more thumbs, so this is a great way to alert the forum’s members about new high quality stuff.

In June 2009, the first few pages of Harmony were posted, and gained fans more quickly than we had imagined it would. Not only constant replies—but also fan art soon started to pour in. The more popular fan comics usually get a piece of fan art now and then, but as of this writing, Harmony has nearly 200 pieces of fan made creations. A few months after the comic started, I realized that Harmony would need an expansion to contain all that was going on with it. And so, I created a section for the comic on Valice.net, and made a place to neatly store all of the fan work, sketches and artwork by Meedee, and many other goodies. While Harmony remains exclusively on Starmen.net, Valice.net’s section has full table of contents pages, complete with thumbnails seen in Starmen.net’s comic section. It’s easy for any artist to think too highly of their work and then purposely take it away from the fans by removing it from its original home, but I wanted to avoid this. Valice.net merely serves as an offsite collection of all things Harmony related, while the main action of the comic continues at Starmen.net.

Seeing well written, thoughtful comments and fan work really makes you feel appreciated, but there are some downsides to be expected when posting a comic via a forum that any creator should be ready to face. You always risk someone derailing the topic, even if their intentions were good at the start. There’s also the occasional post that is just flat out stupid or poorly written, which is bad enough on its own, but then tends to get a bunch of negative replies that further litter the topic. But not everything is the fault of the readers, as sometimes, due to timing, we’ve had to post a page that brings up questions that will be immediately answered in the next update, or that cuts on a moment of suspense. Pages like this tend to generate comments where people theorize what’s about to happen, tell us what they want to see happen (maybe without realizing that we already have a script), or fairly mindless posts that are little more than a two word reaction of surprise (omg no!!!!). Basically, pages like this can often cause a flurry of comments about the next page rather than the better kind that talk about the page that was just posted. More recently, we’ve done more double or triple updates to alleviate this, although this has the drawback of waiting longer between updates, which is just as hard on us as it is to the readers.

Harmony’s old stomping grounds.

Sometimes things get so bad for one reason or another, all you can do is just sit back, don’t give into temptation to make things worse, and wait for the mods to hopefully clean up a mess. But whatever happens, it’s important to just put up with it instead of going into a rant—that won’t help you. Remember that no matter a certain reader’s maturity, they’re still commenting because they have something to say about your comic—meaning that people are looking at it and are interested. If you don’t like a comment, it’s better to just ignore it. Of course, since anyone can post on the internet, you never know when you might see a reply that is nothing but a trolling attempt. Welcome to the internet. My advice is to get used to it, never take anything personally, and revel in your readers’ contributions that are genuine and heartfelt, which if you’re doing a good job, you’ll always get more of.

Meedee throws in: Before joining Starmen.net I had little experience with forums, and had already discovered I didn’t really like them. I still can’t say I like forums as a whole, just because of how much nastiness can go down at a moment’s notice. However, sharing Harmony this way brought us so many great and unexpected surprises. I still can’t believe that so many people like our work enough to create fan work based of it, and all the people who really get involved in the comic. It makes the all the hard work even more satisfying.

Secrets, a Mystery, and What’s Next

Many pages of Harmony have at least one small detail that you probably missed the first time around, and some of these details remain consistent through the rest of the story. Almost all of these details actually stem from Meedee’s imagination and aren’t in the script, so there’s no telling for me when she might stick something in the page for people to find. And a few of these little “easter eggs” become important later. Like the Mother series itself, Harmony has many hidden little items and fine touches that you might only see on a second play through. Or in this case, a read through. So, with little else to talk about in this retrospective, here are the major ones. Go hunting!

Pg.2 has a guy cooling off in the fountain. On pg.8, the creamery’s cow head remains. It reappears several other times throughout the story. On pg.9, look at all the stuff on Lydia’s watch to see that she was having a conversation with a friend. Also the first appearance of the recurring 1,023 unread messages. People need to check their email in this series! Dr. Andonuts has the same problem on pg.11. On pg.12, Hyan is reading “Glam” magazine. On pg.17, Kang has a map and a GPS of Kings. Pg.19 has a poster for an Earthbound fan club. Pg.20 squeezes a lot in, namely a burger in the trash, a reference to Ness finding burgers in the garbage in his game, along with a picture of Saturn Valley, a picture of he and Tracy playing with their dog, his softball team, his hat and yellow backpack, and of course, 1,023 unread messages.

Pg.25 mentions the singing monkey from Mother, pg.30 shows that Jeff has an instant revitalization machine in his office and begins the saga of the doorknob after it pops off of his door, which we then see bouncing away after being kicked on pg.33. It will appear several other times. Pg.35 has a cameo by Reggie the exit mouse from the comic The Chosen Four. On pg.41, we have our first appearance of Starface, who is hiding behind some bushes. On pg.51, Porky crushes the cow head upon his arrival. On pg.62, Porky’s dad is carrying out a TV that looks like a happy box from Mother 3. During Porky’s story on pg.64, he is talking to some members of Giegue’s race. On pg.68 when the time tear gets angry, the doorknob gets sucked in to become the doorknob in Mother 3. On pg.70, Starface appears again, hiding behind a lamp. A page later, we see it in full view for the first time. Once again, 1,023 unread messages on Ness’ cell phone on pg.76, and fountain guy again on pg.78. There are a few other hidden things throughout the story, but they’re more obvious and noticeable.

The other stories have a few hidden things as well, like the Blue Elm that Tracy’s broom was made out of appear near the end of A Winters Tale, the gift box still in Tracy’s room in Tale of the Jacket, and Kang’s made up monster in the woods on a Harmony Halloween. Speaking of the Halloween special, the video game characters that appear are: Peach, Luigi and a mushroom (Melody) from the Mario series, Samus from Metroid, Albert Wesker from Resident Evil, Jade from Beyond Good and Evil, Gordon Freeman from Half-Life, King Dedede from Kirby, The King from the infamous Zelda CD-I games, Dr. Distorto from Mother, a ghost, Wess, and ultimate chimera punchbowl from Mother 3, Lloyd from Tales of Symphonia, and finally, a purple pikmin from Pikmin.

But enough about all of that. Let’s talk about our mysterious friend known as Starface.

When we designed Starface, it started as another enemy that emerged through the time tear. Perhaps a possessed doll of sorts. It was never intended to be shown fighting, but rather just something else that emerged from another dimension, and something that the gang would’ve missed and never even fight. It wasn’t until I wrote Memoria did I realize Starface’s true purpose, which will remain a secret to the rest of you for now. Starface later appears in The White Ship Story, after hibernating in stasis in Fiveton for nine hundred years. Although it doesn’t do much, we do learn a couple of facts about it. It comes to the Mother 3 world by stowing away on the White Ship, and it seems to be observing the human race for reasons unknown. But it probably has something to do with these “saviors” that it always seems to be thinking about.

Starface represents a lingering mystery that won’t be revealed until Memoria, and gives fans another reason to follow us into this new story. Like the games in the Mother series, it also acts as a small thread to keep Memoria directly connected to Harmony, and thus to the series as a whole. Awhile ago, I showed off a bunch of sprite teaser images that showed Starface watching over the end events of all three games, including what happened at the end of Harmony, as well. Fans have guessed that Starface could represent the “player” of the games, or a watchful force that is manipulating the events of the series in its favor, or is even the spirit of Giegue’s surrogate mother Maria from Mother. All good guesses, but Starface isn’t actually too metaphysical a being. It’s grounded in reality, although that’s been hard to discern so far since it hasn’t made itself visible to anyone. In Memoria, that will change.

Starface left readers scratching their heads after its first appearance, and pretty much nothing else has been revealed since.

In the White Ship story, Starface grew legs. Or always had them. Its form isn’t consistent, but does that alone make it a spirit, or something else completely? Maybe you’ll find out one day…

So just what is Memoria? It’s the next story, and it’s unlike Harmony in that it is a full, original telling that will be a very big undertaking for both Meedee and myself. The first draft of the script was finished in October 2009—before Harmony was even complete. It starts right around June, the same month Harmony began, but we’re not going to say much about it until then. But I will tell you that it features a large new cast, plenty of familiar faces, and promises to bring the entire series together in an all-encompassing story that makes every Mother game and Harmony relevant.

Rest assured, Meedee and I aren’t going anywhere any time soon, and we’ve got plenty of tales left to tell. Thank you for reading this retrospective, staying with us all the way up until the end of Harmony, and supporting us throughout. It’s been quite a ride!

Meedee concludes: I cannot stress how important I think it is to add depth to a story or artwork. Doing so lends more to the experience and pulls the viewer or reader into the world of the work, as they have to try to recognize different things and analyze the meaning or purpose of specific subjects or scenes. Sometimes it really is, honestly, just a small on-the spot visual joke and other times they’re things that expand an aspect of the story (the doorknob, Tracy’s broom). Shallow work is forgettable, since if you don’t have to think about it, your memory is less likely to retain it. The last thing an artist wants is for their work to be forgotten.

As is for Starface itself, the origins of this character are also a mystery. Its design is one that just came to me while I was trying to sleep. It was eerie, it was spooky, and it had to be drawn. I wondered if it would be possible to fit into the Harmony-verse in some way, which at the time seemed slightly unlikely, as the main story was drawing to a close. Luckily, Gekko found a way and so Starface came to taunt readers in its consistent and loving way. In case you were wondering, the One-Headed Cerberus and the Xmas Surprise’s designs came in the same way, though these were both in time to be written in as actual enemies and with fairly large, immediate roles. Xmas Surprise even got to appear again, letting Tracy finally have her puppy, if only for Christmas. Now, whatever happened to that Cerberus…

Like Harmony, I had doubts about doing Memoria as well, since it was to be a bigger story and I kind of wanted to be through with the whole thing. But really, my love of telling stories and make characters is too strong, and what else will keep me drawing so constantly? Even though I look forward to the future involving this comic, I’m worried about it too, but such is the nature of something you love to do.

Memoria will be all-encompassing, bringing elements from all three games and Harmony together for one last epic adventure.

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