Sixtus Platt is a billionaire property developer in New York, seeking to branch out into other lines of business. He is pictured here as futurist and inventor Harvey Kurzwyl, high as a kite on shrooms, is talking his ears off about a new sound generation technology he is working on. He didn’t ask to be accosted by this weirdo and he understands barely a word of what Kurzwyl is saying. So far he’s skeptical, but the thought that this weirdo may be onto something is starting to itch at his brain.
When I made the final call to have this historical encounter in the planned Tess Durban short story “The Curséd Synth” be between two fictional characters instead of two real people, this opened up a world of possibilities. One of them was to make the property developer a black man, which would naturally give him a very different history than the person I’d been planning to use. While Sixtus J. Platt did inherit a decent amount of money from his father, he had to fight a lot harder than his historical analogue to build his fortune up from there; indeed he had to fight his historical analogue, and people like his historical analogue, more than anyone else. This has also given him a much greater intellectual curiosity than the other guy, so it makes a lot more sense that he’d listen to some hippie nerd going on about a subject he doesn’t know the first thing about. Because you never know where the next big thing is going come from, right?
I did start out drawing the overall shape and posture of… the other guy and was interested in how the shape of his body could be echoed in his head. In the end, I toned that aspect down a bit, but it did speed up the character creation process dramatically. If I were to change anything, I think I’d make the 1983 version of Platt a little younger.
One more 1983 character for “The Curséd Synth” to go! That will be John Boenen as he looked in 1983. Erzebet Zuniga will also make a brief appearance but she will be silhouetted in the dark and not look very different from today.
So how far away am I from making “The Curséd Synth”? I think the full arc for Tess Durban will look more or less as follows:
1. The Cült of XunÿX (Long, finished)
2. Clothing-Optional Rooftop Party (Short, finished)
3. The Natural World (Long, started, but on hold)
4. Victor William Babbage (Long, planned)
5. Absolute Unit (Long, planned)
6. Theodore Peel (Long, planned)
7. The Cipher Of The Beast (Long, planned)
8. The Curséd Synth (Short, planned)
9. XünÿX Lives (Long, planned)
10. Tess of the Durbans (Long, planned)
So I have my work cut out.
One more person has unlocked this gallery so here’s another preview of the next comic page! This is panel 4, as exported on Sunday evening, and is a good example of how I pre-assemble panels. This is not colored, but it’s close enough to the final version for me to test the word balloons and see how well the dialog fits. George is coming up with advertising copy for Ernst’s proposed vegan restaurant and Jamie is doing research online.