Page 18
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(Jon sez:)

Your Writer: Jon Kilgannon The objects in the background of the first panel are smokestacks. The surface of the Moon is in near-vacuum, so a smokestack will behave differently on the Moon than it does on the Earth. Allow me to put on my huge, badly-designed Mister Science hat and explain.

We will presume for the moment that the smokestack is venting a combination of volatile gases and soot, such as is created by a smokestack here on Earth. I'll refer to the combination of gases and soot as smoke for clarity.

The smoke will shoot up out of the smokestack, as it contains a gas escaping into near-vacuum. The gases will almost certainly be invisible. The soot, however, will make the column of smoke visible to the unaided eye. The gas will expand out from the top of the smokestack, and its lighter molecular components will eventually escape to interplanetary space. The escaping gas will drive the soot out with it.

The smokestack will look like a fountain of soot, or like a Roman candle spewing sooty particles rather than sparks. The soot particles will eventually fall down to the regolith in ballistic trajectories, not slowing as they fall but instead accelerating, because there is no air to keep them aloft. There would be big, dumb, heavily built robots at the base of the smokestack and around it in a diffuse circle, cleaning up the fallen soot and taking it back to a factory to be recycled. There will be no cloudy plume of smoke drifting off - the soot just falls to the ground like tiny cannonballs shot out of cannons.

One reason to use a smokestack on the Moon would be to use the sudden incidence of vacuum to create some interesting chemical or physical process in the soot.

I will now remove my Mister Science hat and turn you over to Mark, who will either make fun of me or quote Doctor Radium.
(Mark sez:)

Your Artist: Mark Sachs I think he's still sore about the bell pepper incident. Anyhoo: you know me, I'm kinda zany, I'm kinda crazy, I'm unpredictable. I like to mix things up, keep people on their toes... putting metal shavings in cake batter, hiding cartons of milk in unused lockers, you know, stuff like that. So in keeping with that, I'll actually talk about the comic today and give you one of my Secret Elite Hints to Drawing Comics.

Nothing drags down a comic more than travel time. People hiking across deserts, flying through space, riding in buses -- it doesn't matter what the manner of conveyance is or where its going, pages devoted to nothing but travel time are deadly dull. They sap the energy of both the comic creator, forced to waste time drawing scenes where nothing happens, and the comic reader, who is impatiently waiting for something to happen but is instead getting a travelogue. Travelling has killed a lot of my stories -- particularily Malarkey, which was about nothing but travelling. Eugh.

So learn from my mistakes and do what I do! On the previous page, Benjamin expressed the desire to go to the Moon; and before you can say "that's one giant leap for mankind" he and Caprice are on the Moon. No muss, no fuss. And not just the flight time has been cut: we've also skipped the time spent waiting for clearance, landing at the spaceport, going through customs, fending off Scientologists in the airport concourse, hailing a taxi, getting stuck in traffic, and searching for Djaya's apartment. The story moves faster and everyone's happy... if they know what's good for them, that is. Kidding, kidding!

Hmm... art-wise, the only thing I've been completely happy with for the last couple of pages is the background of panel 2 on this page -- Caprice and the lunar city behind her. That totally rocks.