Back-Up Vocal~ There’s quite a bit to unpack in this Comic, so allow me to break some of it down for my dear readers. First, one of the principal elements in this little side-trail of a tale, was the prospect of the aforementioned Mainifold© double-neck bass guitar. Due to previous discussions of its properties, it HAD to look heavy. The best way I could imagine to bring that notion to life, was to skip clever body graphics and give it a natural wood finish. I made various attempts to create one in Photoshop and didn’t like any of my own results. Instead, I grabbed my cellphone and took a picture of the door to Mission Control, right here in the Manny-Cave. I cropped out a section of the picture in Photoshop and threw it on its own layer underneath the guitar outline. I coupled it with a gradient tobacco sunburst background I had made a year ago, but never found way to use before. Throw that on a layer between the wood photo and the guitar, drop the opacity down to about 20% or so and then erase the excess of both around the body. Repeat the process for the headstocks and we have as close as I could get to what I had in mind. If I say so myself, I’m pleased with the results. For some reason, the creative process fascinates and I love to read about how others craft their works. If occasionally sharing my method might be a help to any readers on their own creative journey, I’m happy to help. As a guy who used to be terrified of Photoshop, developing my comfort level with the program has been deeply satisfying. Don’t be afraid to experiment with a variety of approaches to creating things. That’s how I learned. 

One of the trickiest pieces of this particular thread in the current “arc”, was finding the way out of it. Thank God for endorsement contracts. All possible respect to Ric Fierabracci and my thanks to him for putting up with my liberal use of his name. However, it was his real-life commitments to gigs and gear that showed me the other end of the tunnel I dug for myself in these last several Comics. Once that notion was capped, Bo made it clear he wanted to send a nod to his crush, Jennifer Young of the Travis Larson Band. The question of Bo offering her this monstrosity of a bass as gesture of romantic intent, was thankfully asked and answered all in one blink. Once again, I was saved because another real player holds real endorsement contracts with real companies. Good thing, too. Truth be told, I was completely out of directions to take with this entire notion. I also offer thanks to Ms. Young for her patience with the Mannyacs© camp. She’s been a great sport and I hope our references to her will be taken as the compliments they are meant to be. As for the further name-drops, most of them are already recognized as giants in the bass guitar kingdom. I’m extremely pleased to note that these last few years have seen David Ellefson and Jason Newsted finally receiving the credit they’ve deserved for far too long. Doug Stegmeyer played bass for Billy Joel for decades. His contributions to late 1970’s era Billy Joel albums in particular have always floored me and I finally found a way to bring him to the party. The name John Wetton will ALWAYS have a home here my little corner of the universe. I have sung his praises extensively in these panels before and I will continue to do it as often as the moment presents itself. The Pete Trewawas Shout-Out has now become a complete part of a Mannyacs© breakfast. ‘Nuff said. 

In conclusion, I was in a “Fargo” phase when I made this Comic and viewed Season 3 as I wrote and drew it. The writers cooked up a brilliant episode with the music of “Peter And The Wolf” deployed as the soundtrack and theme. It seemed only appropriate that a wink towards it find a way into the proceedings and this Comic seemed as good a time as any to toss it in the mix.