This entry was posted on Sep 28 2009 by

(un)scripted: The Old, Junk Cars Out Back

Gandy Land

As part of the behind-the-scenes material at the end of the collected edition of The Surrogates, we included a deleted scene that shows Harvey attempting to negotiate a tryst with a futuristic lady of the night (Pages 186-189, for those following along at home).  For reasons I explain in those pages, the scene clearly wasn’t working in its original draft, but the basic idea—showing what the world’s oldest profession would look like in an age of surrogates—appealed to me.  Prostitutes are a staple of detective stories, and I wanted to put my own spin on the concept.    

Just because an idea isn’t working at the moment, that doesn’t mean it should be discarded completely.  Top Shelf editor Chris Staros has a useful analogy: abandoned ideas are like old, junk cars in the backyard that you can go to for spare parts when needed.  When it came time to write Flesh and Bone, I needed a scene that would take Harvey from A to B, from the start of his investigation to his first big clue.  So I picked through the wrecks out back and found the right part for the job. 

It occurred to me that I could take the premise of the deleted scene and work it into the new book in a way that was more consistent with Harvey as a character (the evolved version appears on Pages 50-55).  Now, instead of him visiting the prostitute in search of companionship, he questions her at her place of business, the fictional brothel Gandy Land, and comes away with a key piece of information to keep the plot moving forward.  Same effect—giving the reader a glimpse at the seedier side of surrogacy—but used in a way that serves the story.    

I’ve only been writing comics since 2002, but there’s already quite a collection of junkers cluttering the lawn.  No telling how many will offer up roadworthy parts, or how many will rust away to nothing . . . 

(Side Note: While Page 50 of Flesh and Bone shows the neon sign hanging outside Gandy Land, the logo and tagline at the top of this post never appear in the book.  They were created for a limited run of t-shirts I gave away to friends.  Thanks to J Chris Campbell for the design and Rob Ullman for the silhouette.  Nobody draws the ladies like Ullman.)

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