Friday, March 26, 2010

Velma's Journal--June 3, 1932

June 3, 1932

Read a review of the new Garbo film. They say it may be her last on the American screen. It's called "As You Desire Me." An adaptation of a Pirandello play. She supposed to be a cabaret entertainer in Budapest. I'll try and convince Dottie to see it with me. Maybe even Sarah if she's free. I just love Garbo's style. The way she speaks and how she carries herself. Such a class act in my book. Somehow I strongly doubt it's her last role. She's still quite young. 

Regardless, it is warm day today and I have no work to speak of. Monday I start with Mr. Rapalje's library and it seems most of my days will be filled with dusty old books. Heaven really!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Inky Fingers

Just in time for the start of manicure/pedicure season, I begin inking The Wonder City once again!

After a little practice with my nibs (it's been 9 months since I inked pages 1-21!), I worked up the confidence to start on page 28. Despite my shaky caffeine hands, things were going pretty well until I got a nice smear on the word "Plunk" and a big splotch of ink on my elbow. After I finish inking, I'll go through with a tiny brush and white paint and fix boo-boos and lighten up some spots to create texture. Then the page is ready for Photoshop.

Here are photos of my progress and my tools. With 80 pages to go, it's going to be a busy spring and summer!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Page 18

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Velma's Journal--May 20, 1932

May 20, 1932

Finals are over!! Most of the girls are packing up to return home or travel to more exotic locations. I've decided to stay in New York and not spend the summer in Saratoga. I was told that there would be plenty for me to do at my post and Mr. Rapalje has offered me side work at his home for the summer. Apparently I'll be organizing his library.

Barnard said we all have to leave the dormitories for the recess so the Cento family was gracious enough to offer me a home with them in Brooklyn. Dottie and I will be sharing a room so not much will change in that regard. Sarah also has an aunt on her mother's side who owns a house down in Far Rockaway near the beach. Needless to say I'll be taking her up on that offer at least once or twice as I've been told summers in New York City can be quite brutal. 

Been keeping track of our Mayor's corruption trial. I still don't quite understand the Tammany Machine, but I've heard it's the most vile thing going in city politics. The misdeeds go one for pages. This judge Seabury and Governor Roosevelt will not rest until Mayor Walker is removed from his office. 

Monday, March 15, 2010

Adventures in Lettering the Wonder City

Justin here! So I'm the guy who's lettering The Wonder City and I thought I would give you little taste of how it's going.

Yeah so it's going.

In the bottom left-hand corner is my trusty ames letterer. It's the preferred draftsman's tool for making straight, evenly spaced lines (this one was a birthday gift from Courtney). Basically the comic needs to be lettered before the panels are detailed and inked. Then once we're positive they're in the perfect spot, the words themselves are inked and the bubbles are crafted.  And I say crafted because I am NOT coordinated enough to do that. It's all Courtney.

I am still very new at this and just now, feel confident enough to say that I almost understand the mechanics of the process. There's been a ton of trial and error. In this panel you see the outline of Velma emphatically trying to get her point across to her associate Jack Rapalje (more on him later on). I apologize for the photo quality. My phone isn't the best.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Velma's Journal--May 13, 1932

May 13, 1932

After Meeting Tobias Finch I was convinced I wandered into one of those detective novels that are all the rage. 

He was a tall man, gruff voice, dressed in an olive trench coat and matching hat. When I first saw him at track 16, he was standing under the far staircase just as he said he would. There were no trains on either track and that end of the concourse was quiet. Obviously he planned it that way. Our dialogue was quick. When I walked up to him he was smoking and staring down at the tracks.

"You're right on time." He said flicking his cigarette down to the tracks. "Cigarette?" He pulled another one out of his breast pocket. He lit it.


"I didn't think so. Tobia Finch." He held out his hand.

"Velma Graydon." I shuck it.

"I know."

"So I've gathered." I said mocking confidence. "You've been following me."

"You're a smart girl."

"You made yourself obvious."

He chuckled. "Well played. So without further ado I'll get to my point."

"That's much appreciated."

"Miss Graydon my client is interested in what you know about the theft of his most precious collectible."

"It would help if I knew who your client was."

He continually took drags off his cigarette. "You mean you don't?"

"Not at all."

"Didn't you go asking about me at your hangout uptown?"

"Didn't you ask about me?" I was starting to have fun with this.

"I did. Talked to two twin genius's. Said you were a cold fish working for Look. A gal Friday. That was all. Then I talked to the bartender and he had nothing. Went back cause I got a tip you went in asking and one of the geniuses Rick, I think, said you were asking about me."

"Well it's good to know they're looking out for me."

He smirked, "One is a dumber stump than the other. Flash 'em a note and they'll say whatever you want to hear. Somehow I think you're a little bit smarter than that."

"That may be the case, Mr. Finch, but I that doesn't buy me a clue as to who your client is."

He took a long drag off his cigarette and blew it in the opposite direction. "A Mr. Fitz Roy. You've met him twice. Delivered something of interest to him."

"I remember. An antique quadrant ruler"

"Well it went missing."

"What a shame." I just don't know where I was coming up with this stuff.

"Do you know who may have it?"

"No, Mr. Finch, not in the slightest."

He stared straight at me and flicked his second cigarette out onto the track. "No. I guess you don't." He knew just by reading the expression on my face that I wasn't lying. He looked down the tracks a little defeated. I could have been his only lead. "Sorry to take up your time, Miss Graydon."

"Are you going to keep following me?"

"Not unless you need to be followed."

"I'm fine all on my own, thanks."

He looked me over and headed for the stairs. "You're a smart dame. Smarter than most that run through Look's fingers. Make a damn fine gumshoe if dame's did that kinda thing."  

"Who says they can't?"

"Not me. They just don't want to, is all. But you. I've been watching you. You got the eye for it." He took out his third cigarette and started walking up the stairs. "A good evening to you, Miss Graydon." And he was gone.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Velma's First Journal Entry---September 2, 1931

September 2, 1931

“There is a magic in the world and all you need do is open your eyes to it.” That’s what my elementary teacher, Mrs. Ham used to say every Monday morning before she called roll. Now that I’m older, I realize that everyone needs to recognize the possibility of something magical on something as awful as a Monday morning. Thinking back on it, Mrs. Ham probably did it to remind herself of the world’s enchantment as she stood bleary-eyed in front of the responsibility of twenty-six children. But as I climbed out of bed on this morning, some years after the days of Mrs. Ham, I saw a world full of magic. The late August morning I found outside my window had a fine mist covering it. The field outside that I have looked on for all eighteen years of my memory was a bright green, wet with the dew of late summer. Dad’s horses trotted by for the first run of the morning. Their nostrils expelled the vapor and the hooves kicked up the moisture. Mother’s coffee called from the kitchen downstairs and all was as it always had been.

My life has always been in Saratoga on my father’s ranch. The routines have been unbroken from grammar to high school where I unlocked the academic mysteries of my own small world. I spent my time working carefully on words until their meanings were revealed and their relationships established. Words are my greatest friend and constant companion. I want to make them my life’s work. My teachers have told me again and again that I have a gift for language seeing as I mastered French and Spanish before I was in high school. While in high school I conquered Greek, Latin, and I am now trying to master German. With recent events in world history, German may work to be useful. It seems that Americans are wary of anything associated with Germany, but I feel a need to understand them may arise.

It is also my ability to master languages that has given me the opportunity to start a new page in my life. This morning as I write in this diary, I am sitting in a nearly empty passenger car bound for New York City. Tomorrow morning I will begin my first class at Barnard University where I have received a full scholarship to study linguistics. I am the first person in the Graydon family to receive a college education. I’ve watched many of my friends leave school to marry or work for their families in these difficult times. I tried to convince them that leaving school would not help; their educations would lead them to prosperity. My own parents told me there would be no higher education because they couldn’t afford it. The tracks have suffered because of the Depression. My father has not seen as much business as in past years. He had to let most of his stable hands go, leaving most of the work to him and my brother Henry. My mother has taken to working up at the spas waiting on the rich women who come in for the baths. Yet even those patrons have become few and far between since those who had fortunes have lost them. My only comfort is that I will be one less charge for my family being out of the house and on my own.

When I came down the old wooden stairs this morning I had three green trunks packed with my most important possessions. One was clothing and two were books that I simply couldn’t part with. Mother was annoyed that I didn’t wait for Henry to help me with them. She told me a lady has no need for so many books or such heavy trunks. She’s so old-fashioned and has never been able to understand my independence. In her eyes I should be staying in Saratoga searching desperately for a husband to sweep me off my feet and knock some sense into me. But father believes in my education and encourages it. When I received word of my scholarship from Barnard, he was the first to say that I needed to go and then eventually insisted, much to my mother’s protest. Deep inside of my mother, I feel it is the regret of her own choices which raised her objections. She left school after the fifth grade to help on her family’s orchard, and at the age of seventeen met my father and was quickly married. Her life has been her husband and children. Mine will be words.

Just an hour ago, as I stood on the platform, looking on my home town and seeing my family sending me off, I could not help but think that I never belonged there. That was never my life. For eighteen years I was only marking time for this moment; to leave for a much bigger world. Of course, I will miss my family and look forward to returning for holidays, but my life will now be in the city. This diary will be a record of the events that soon mark that life. On this very morning as I ride through these green valleys, I am speeding toward the wonder of New York City.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Velma's Journals Have Been Posted

The first Velma entry from her journal blog has been imported to Building the Wonder City. I will be working backward and posting from the most recent to the very first back in October of 2007. Blogger will sort them at their original composition dates. So the last one written was October 4, 2009. Go to October 2009 on the "blog archive" sidebar and you will find it there. I will label all the imports  "Velma's Journals" with the entry date so it will be easier to search for them. All new entries will be posted at the top of the blog.

That was a mouthful. Hope it's not too confusing.