The reason why that strip was abandoned was because the punchline was so sick and cruel, it would have ruined the entire comic. It was a strip that would have gone Way Too Far, so I abandoned it once I realized the path I was going down.
What I had planned was in the second panel, Kenta’s friends would tease him about his mom, kind of like in #057, and Kenta getting all flustered. His dad would call for him in the third panel, “KENTARO! IT’S TIME FOR YOUR CHORES!” and Kenta would walk off disgusted and embarassed at his friends’ suggestions. The final panel would be Kentaro orally servicing his dad. Kentaro: “My friends were talking about having sex with mom. Isn’t that sick?” Dad: “I did it once and never again. And be quiet or we won’t go on that fishing trip. (heart)” Yeah, too evil.
I said earlier that one of my favorite gimmicks is the Conversation with Two Meanings. I was in an IRC chat just before Mother’s Day and we were talking about it, and I tried to come up with just an obscene Mother’s Day card. That became the strip you see here, almost verbatum. Unfortunately, most people read it as Kenta writing a love letter after already having sex with his mom, which is DEFINITELY wrong.
Now I’m going to explain the comic. The letter was supposed to be for someone else. Quick-thinking Kenta realized the double meanings in his letter to his advantage. Mom gets turned on, gets Kenta to sleep in the same bed. No sex, but odd situation nonetheless (like they’d have sex with the father there! Right!). Kenta’s frown indicates that he is now in a situation he doesn’t like, which sets up the story later on.
Had I known that this was going to be an “origin” strip, I would have made it more clear. As it was, I thought this would be a one shot, until I decided to play with the idea later on.
Kenta and Mr. Shibata look practically the same from this strip onwards. The convention that I don’t show Kenta’s eyes unless to show his surprise began in this strip, and with a few early exceptions I’ve remained true to this. Mrs. Shibata, on the other hand, looks completely different — she looks very youthful in this, and I’ve struggled with her character design to no end since. Throughout Year 2 she looks different in almost every strip as I tried to figure out what the hell she looked like.
Part of the problem is that I spend almost no time thinking about character design, I just draw what I feel like drawing… small variations on Generic Man and Generic Woman. When I start using the characters more than the (intended) one shot they originally appeared in, then I worry about character design, which is a little too late. I’ve always threatened myself that one day I’m going to put some of the characters in a car and drive it over a cliff, and all will require reconstructive surgery giving me a chance to redesign them. I don’t know who all would be in the car, but Mrs. Shibata would be in the driver’s seat, and Shiunji Watanabe would be driving shotgun.
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