Continuing the trend, here's a commentary on the legendary second page:
Page 2 - Ah, the infamous page 2. Wait, I used that one already. Regardless, this is the page that probably is the one people can remember best after reading the book. I mean, it has an off-color joke that is a rather abrupt departure from the rest of the series, located on a page that should really be setting the tone. Such foolish amateurs we were, I'm afraid, but I'll get to that later.
Art-wise, this is the least cartoony page in the whole series, with a very detailed Super Ajay. This actually made him look a bit older, as the third panel seems to indicated he's in his 30's (in my mind, at least). Mikh's pencil shading is in full force here, as this is long (well, weeks) before he's ever seen any of his artwork put onto a computer screen a toned. That it would later be toned by a computer scientist probably didn't comfort him. Of course, it turned out I didn't tone it at all, as it was my graphic designer fiance (now wife) Leesa who did. This meant that Mikh was really used to having his pencil work be the final work, so all the shading had to be done then. The end result, flipping through his portfolio is that his pencilworks by themselves look awesome (as noted in our Digital Strips interview)), but the transition to online takes its toll.
Reading this page, it's actually a great example of the internal politics in the creative team. You see, this book's final script was written by our original writer Chris Fox, along with most of the earlier drafts. He was basing things off of our meetings and our notes, but this dream sequence I remember being mostly a Fox idea. The thing was, Fox didn't write any dialog with it, the whole thing (8 comic pages) was a single paragraph. This meant that most of the dialogue for the first 8 pages was made up by Mikh while he was drawing it, which I hated. Then I get this page, which has a blatant penis reference right in the beginning of my normally inoffensive book. Of course, it's in the artwork so I'm quite stuck with it. At the time, this antiseptic attitude of mine was motivated by my desire to develop a crazy portfolio to get a job, and not have something offensive in there to ruin my chances. Lucky for me, the rest of his attempts at being offensive (Mikh is primarily a horror comic guy) were in dialogue only, so I would clean them up manually afterwards. The crotch-grab stayed, however.
This page is also a great example of speech bubbles! See those round ones on the right side of the page? See how the line thickness changes, getting thicker on the far right and left sides, and thinner at the tops and bottoms? That's because I was literally using the crappy oval shape in Photoshop, and I couldn't get it to come out uniformly. Ironically, the only comment I ever got from a fan about toning, lettering, or speech bubbles was their love of the differing line thicknesses, along with a "how do you do that?" I think that might have been Derrick, one of our best fans, who happened to be sitting across the aisle from the very people who showed me how to make real speech bubbles, which I begin to use in the middle of Book 2.
In the end, this came out to be a really good page, and helps to establish Ajay as a superhero / comic book fan, which was something we feared wasn't coming across so well in the script.