Todd Matthy’s Writer’s Commentary on Robots Vs Princesses #2

Todd Matthy has a Writer’s Commentary for his Robots Vs Princesses #2, published by Dynamite.

Hi everybody!

Hope you’re ready for a deep dive into Robots vs. Princesses #2.

Page 1:
Picking up right where we left off. We knew someone was watching Wheeler and Zara, the question is whom? Page One we find out it’s Tyrannis with a report being read by his hissing sycophant, Meglia.

I gave Meglia a “sshhh” pattern of speech because it sounds sinister and would be fun to read aloud. One of my hopes is that parents will read this book to their kids and giving a character a distinct speech pattern would make the experience more fun.

I also thought it would be fun to show the end of issue one from a different perspective. Nic drawing and coloring the scenes through the “Terminator” lens gives the scene a sense of forbidding, which fits the dialogue. Leading too…

Page 2:
…Tyrannis revealed. Nothing like an evil robot warlord sitting on a spiked throne to let you know he’s bad news. Why do Tyrannis and Meglia refer to Zara as “the Zara”? Since they don’t know what humans are, I think it’s safe to assume that “Zara” was the name of the entire species. Speaking of Zara…

Page 3:

…We’re back to more Zara and Wheeler fun. And what could be a more fun scene than Zara and her bird friends teaching Wheeler how to fly?

If you recall from last issue, the first time Wheeler tried to use his wings he crashed into a tree.

My favorite writers know how to immerse their readers in their world and give them the illusion of a sensory experience. One of the experiences I always think about is what it’s like to fly. I’ve always likened it to swimming, substituting water currents for air currents. The hardest part would be getting off the ground and staying in the air, so I thought of bodysurfing and how you catch a wave and allow its momentum to carry you. So I had Wheeler catch a breeze.

Page 4:

I love this page. The joy on Wheeler’s face when he experiences the sensation of flight followed by the comedy of him crashing because he couldn’t maintain momentum.

These pages are why Nic is an MVP. Everything from the facial expressions to the colors really gives a sense of joy and fun, which is what this scene is supposed to be.

Page 5:

This another great page from Nic. I love how he captures the colors and mood of dusk. It’s quiet moments like these that give the action scenes meaning.

As for why Wheeler is disguised as a horse and going into “stasis lock” in the stables. Since he’s the size of a horse in dragon mode and walking on all fours, it made sense Zara would hide him in the stables.

Page 6:
We return to Chromia with Gunnar leading an infiltration mission into Tyrannis’ castle.

I really like how Sean Rinehart (the letterer) puts an avatar into the first caption so the reader knows who’s speaking. It’s little touches like these that make him a great letterer.

As for Gunnar when he sees that Tyrannis has left his fortress unguarded while leading his forces into the Beyond, he knows something’s up.

Page 7:
Gunnar telling Ultimus what he saw. After careful contemplation of why Tyrannis would make such a move, Ultimus decides his forces need to go into the Beyond too.

As you can see, I’m slowly pushing the two sides toward each other.

Page 8:
It’s recital time and Zara’s missing. I liked playing around with how everybody wonders where she is. Plus, it’s fun to write Queen Aleta and her reaction to her perfectly ordered world being ruined by Zara’s antics.

Page 9:
It’s recital time. I just love juxtaposing the scrumptious joy of a princess singing a “happy working song” with the impending doom of an approaching robot army.

Page 10:
I love the little touches Nic gave to the characters on this page. Clarisse’s bashful smile. The nervous soldier during Artelia’s song. Subtly reveals more about the characters. Little things like these are how an artist enhances a book.

Oh yeah, and the Decimators are turned into dragons. We’re getting closer and closer to round one.

Page 11:
Zara’s big moment. I love how carefree she is.

Page 12:
How cool is Zara’s performance? She gets Artelia to smile and Queen Aleta to faint.

Page 13:
Here comes our first twist. Wheeler doesn’t turn back. Why? You’ll have to keep reading to find out.

Page 14:
Wheeler discovers crying. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have time to learn what it is because TYRANNIS HAS ARRIVED!

Page 15:
The first shots are fired and Wheeler is down.

Page 16:
Does anybody think Zara and Wheeler are outclassed?

Page 17:
This was a fun page to write. You can’t do a Princess story without handsome princes. And here we finally meet Queen Aleta’s dream husband for Penelope, Prince Sigurd.

This was fun because you get the fiery speech but in the end, the Prince and the soldiers hacking at metallic beings with swords just tickles.

And the last panel…

Page 18:
…Leads directly into the next page.

Here we get our first look into Meglia’s sadistic side. Mark my words, if given the opportunity he would dissect Penelope to see what’s inside. Luckily, Zara and Wheeler save the day and prevent such a gruesome scenario from appearing in this all-ages book but, for the parents reading with their kids, I thought they’d like a little subtext.

And yes, this is a “Terminator” homage.

Page 19:
I love this page. Pure action. The Princesses and Wheeler being pursued by Tyrannis’ Hunter drones. What’s worse? They clip his wing.

The Hunters aren’t cannon fodder with bad aim, they are a threat.

The flying frog was Nic’s touch.

Page 20:
This is Wheeler’s turning point. All his life, he’s hated fighting but now he has to fight. Only this time he’s fighting for someone he cares about. What’s worse, he knows he cannot protect Zara and her friends. However, he knows people who can help her and he’s willing to sacrifice himself so she can get help.

Wheeler crosses over from being “cute robot friend” to self-sacrificing hero.

Page 21:
Wheeler is down. The Princesses are surrounded. All hope is lost until the final panel…

Page 22:
…When the cavalry arrives. Think the Princesses are saved? Wait until you see the first page of issue 3. Trust me, things don’t get easier.

Pages 23-24:
“The Legend of Queen Kyra.”

I included this for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, I want my readers to feel like they get their money’s worth when they buy my comics.

Second, all great fantasy, science fiction and comics have backmatter to help build their worlds. If text supplements are good enough for Watchmen, why can’t I do it in Robots vs. Princesses?

Third, what better way to build my world and build character than by having this piece be written in the voice of one of my characters?

Finally, the piece was written for my mailing list with the portrait accompanying it. So, why not run it?

The artist for the piece is Kristen Gudsnuk of Henchgirl and Modern Fantasy fame. Kristen and I met each other at a con a few years back and were in the same row in Artist’s Alley. She’s a really cool person with a fun art style.

When I was preparing this piece for my mailing list, I wanted to not only build my world but also get people interested in my characters. Since Clarisse is an artist and Zara’s best friend, it would make sense that Clarisse would do a portrait of her best friend’s hero. I knew it would need to be a different yet similar style to the book and immediately I thought of Kristen. Thankfully, she agreed to do it and when you have Kristen Gudsnuk artwork, you show it off.

As for Queen Kyra, you’ll see more of her in issue 3. I promise. Another reason to stick with the book.

As for the term “Mudbutts,” it’s a little homage to the character of said name from Marvel’s Weirdworld.

Thank you again for reading my rambling thoughts on the creation of the second issue. Be here again when I go over issue 3. Same RvP time. Same RvP channel.

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

twitter   facebook square   globe