While I was working on the tentacle monster strip with A.J., (see #016) we had an internet connection going and we got in contact with Mal and Omar. We had an idea to meet at a restaurant called the Fox & Pheasant, which had its local jam night. We all did, and it was my final farewell to everyone. We jammed on this strip. I played a couple of songs on the guitar during the music jam. It was a great quiet time, and I’ll always remember it as being something special.
The strip is essentially a parallel to the Suicide Prevention Week strip (007). It was already clear that Suicide Prevention Week strip was going to be my most popular strip ever, so I contemplated milking it. I thought I could do it formulaically, like I did the Madame X one, where the Suicide Girl would always be about to commit suicide, and Shiunji (unnamed as of yet) would always say something creepy to dissuade her. After I did this one, I knew that it would tire pretty quickly. Madame X was already showing strains and I didn’t think I could repeat this joke again. Then I came up with the idea of killing her off. So this strip became necessary to reintroduce the plot line so that I could take it in a new direction.
Originally, I had her about to kill herself by gasoline. Then, just before she lights the match, across the street, a guy shouts, “Ishida! I changed my mind! I don’t want to break up with you! I love you!” Ishida immediately perks up and runs across the street to jump in the guy’s arms but gets killed by a bus instead. I actually started drawing this but the layouts sucked so much I abandoned it.
Omar and Mal drew Ishida in the final panels in such a great way that it became the character design, and I abandoned the scraggly hair from the first Suicide Girl strip.