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March 12, 2008

Artifact A: Port Side Story

Let us step BACK IN TIME (time! time!) to the original sketchbook version of “Port Side Story,” the raw material from which I crafted the fine storyline you see here today.

I filled about thirty sketchbooks between the ages of about twelve and sixteen, giving them sometimes cutesy-yet-disturbing numerical names like “666″ and “19th Nervous Breakdown.” This was from Sketchbook #23, drawn during spring 2000 (contemporary with the setting of start of the modern comic). I was fourteen and finishing up ninth grade. I hope you will find that I have improved since then.

I did the sketchbook comics in pencil (no inking), so they’re occasionally smudged. I’ve tried to sharpen them up a bit with photoshop levels. I do sometimes use the smudging purposely, for artsy effect, especially in this comic.

Let’s start with page 1 of the original 18-page comic. (I won’t show you all of them.)


Oh, right. This was back when Eskimo had giant manga eyes and pretentious Gwen Stefani forehead beads.

A little later, Peggy is introduced with a slow and lovingly boobful pan up. I uglied her up a bit for the new version.

And then we go right into the Chef Song, which as you can see I did not alter much. old_port_3.gif

From here, we launch into a wordless Lance/Peggy courtship. I could do things like that when I wasn’t concerned about putting a punchline on every page.

I like how Lance’s teeth are still shiny-white even in unfocus.

Let’s cut right to the porthole scene, which starts out the same as the new version, although the poem veers off in a different direction, with Peggy contributing. (I think that’s how it is in Romeo and Juliet, maybe? Is why I had it that way?) I’m not sure what’s up with the chefs’ lines; are they supposed to be part of it? They don’t scan or rhyme, so I guess not.


I upped the Adult Themes Content in the new version; observe how the single kiss stands in for any and all physical intimacy. (And how Peggy is so much nicer. I like the new, morally complex Peggy; it makes the love much more problematic.)

Most of the action, plot, backstory, etc. in the current Port Side Story was all-new material. The old comic ends shortly after this, climaxing with the prearranged duel between Eskimo and Jeanne. Peggy refuses to fight her counterpart, Lance, on the grounds that she’s in love with him, and there’s a bunch of spoken exposition, the upshot of which is the captains let the mates sit out the battle and proceed with their duel, while Lance and Peggy share some lame all-too-brief time together blah blah.


At another point, there’s a comic which has almost this exact same ending, only with Jeanne instead of Peggy. I only realized it after I drew it. I wanted Lance to get the girls, but not in a way that would require him to continue dating them (taming him and limiting his ability to get more girls) or even to dump/forget them (making him the bad guy).

And that’s it! I hope you found this foray into the past educational!


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Lance and Eskimo, written & drawn by Laura Hughes. Webcomic 2007-present; stories & characters developed 1998-present. Come for the surreal parody, lovable scamps, and persistent homoeroticism, stay for the passing flashes of quality!

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