A Writer’s Commentary: ROGER LANGRIDGE talks BETTY BOOP #3, on sale now

A Writer’s Commentary: ROGER LANGRIDGE talks BETTY BOOP #3, on sale now from Dynamite.

Page 1

As a way of setting the tone for each issue, I wanted the opening splash page to resemble a 1930s movie poster. It sort of duplicates the function of the cover, but as it’s Gisèle Lagacé’s take on it rather than that of the other cover artists, it promised to be different and unique enough to be worth doing. And what do you know, it came out great!

Page 2

A little scene-setting here. A lesson I learned from studying the differences between Disney’s animated shorts and Carl Barks’ Donald Duck stories, or Floyd Gottfredson’s Mickey Mouse newspaper strips, is that weird randomness that you accept in a cartoon short usually needs a little more groundwork laid down beforehand if you want the audience to suspend their disbelief; “dream logic” won’t quite cut it. So I felt we needed a fig leaf of explanation to cover the giant bugs that are on their way shortly, hence the supernaturally-enhanced Royal Jelly.

Pages 3-4

Bugs! We’re establishing that the town is infested with them. The Fleischer cartoons seemed to take place in a kind of fallen world, and there’s a bug-themed cartoon they did in 1936 called The Cobweb Hotel (which I’m ashamed to say I didn’t know about when I wrote this story; I only discovered it on YouTube a couple of weeks ago), so this seemed like a very Fleischer-esque place to go.

Pages 5-6

Sally Swing’s love life seemed overdue for some attention, and I liked the idea that she sings horribly – granted, that runs counter to the cartoon she originally appeared in, but maybe she gets some singing lessons after this story. And it gives us an excuse to get Betty on stage later, so that’s all to the good.

Pages 7-8

Grampy the Inventor! I’ve always liked the idea of an inventor who’s brilliant at what they do, but always seems to come up with the wrong thing at the wrong time – like if Galileo had invented Dolby Noise Reduction, or DaVinci had invented WiFi. So many comic possibilities there. Grampy here is as unworldly as ever, totally bamboozled by the baddies. He’s not dumb, he’s just got his head in the clouds…

Pages 9-11

I thought we were overdue for a Mistaken Identity plotline (I think you’re allowed one per series). I love Betty’s expressions on page 11 when she’s trying to negotiate Zach Platter’s unwanted affections. Gisèle on top form there!

Pages 12-16

The insect infestation gets out of hand – and the stakes are personal, as it’s Betty’s home that’s the epicenter of it all. We’re building up to the big reveal on page 16 when Lenny Lizardlips shows up again, like the proverbial bad penny. If that’s not a metaphor for a pest infestation I don’t know what is.

Pages 17-19

The showdown – and Sally Swing’s ghastly voice turns out to be relevant to the plot, for it saves the day in the end.

Page 20

After all that, I thought Sally deserved a break – so I had her awful singing be a new source of attraction to Zach Platter, and sent those crazy kids off into the sunset together. Betty’s final point is from the heart – who knows what’s going to attract another human being? There’s someone out there for everyone…