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Comic 8/19/17 - Cannon Gets Personal

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Seems that Belt Boy's grade is more serious than his friends thought. And you can tell that Cannon's being serious because of what he's drawing attention to. Can Cannon - with the help of the other heroes - save his best friend from having a meltdown and/or getting his butt kicked by Necrobots? What is the mysterious accident that befell Cannon? Will Jackknife manage to not be a total pain in the butt? Stay tuned for the answers to these questions and many more, readers!
Belt Boy's situation is based on a personal issue I had back in school. When I was in elementary school, I always got good grades pretty easily (Outside of "timed tests" in math, where you had to do as many simple math problems as you could in one minute. That took some practice.). But when I went to junior high school, I found myself being really challenged for the first time. There was a lot more information to read, especially in science and social studies, and it didn't always stick in my head so effortlessly. This was the first time school REALLY started to stress me out. Being the genius type, Belt Boy absorbs knowledge as easily as I did back in elementary school, so if his grades slip, you can tell his head's not totally in the game.
We haven't seen much of Cannon's right arm stump throughout the series - pretty much just a brief scene in the storyline The Dating Scheme. Between that and a brief mention in The Obligatory Origin Story Flashback, it's apparent that Cannon doesn't like to talk much about his missing hand, so if he's drawing attention to it - especially in front of his hated rival, Jackknife - he must be MAJORLY worried about Belt Boy. Still, he's sensitive enough about it to make sure everyone knows not to bring it up.
I tried to make sure that the other characters' reactions in the final panel showed off what kind of characters they are. Jackknife is a superficial jerk, so he's weirded out by Cannon's arm stump. Titanium Maiden stands rigidly, trying to not make any movements or facial expressions Cannon might find offensive when he's being this personal. And Gelatin Boy may be one flavor of gelatin, but he's 31 flavors of awkward, so he's not as good at playing it cool. Originally, Sugar Rush was going to be the the third hero instead of Gelatin Boy, and she was just going to say, "Nope!". But because of how everyone was standing in the last strip, I decided to use the next person in "line": Gelatin Boy. I wound up changing GB's line from "Nope!" to "What missing hand?" at the last minute before saving this comic; I felt it fit his personality better and let us go out on a small joke that doesn't undermine the feeling of awkwardness and tension that permeates the final panel. Also, Cannon's head pose in this panel was totally inspired by the Peanuts characters, whose movie I was watching while working on this.
I'm feeling pretty tired, as I pulled an all-nighter following a busy week in order to finish today's comic on time, so I'm gonna hit the hay. Or at least fall asleep with my finger on the Z key of my keyboard. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

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