Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Best Mann 1.20: "Consider them armed and dangerous!"

We're now up to the 20th installment of Erica's and my drama/mystery series, Best Mann For The Job. Those with a keen eye may have noticed our subtle tribute to the legendary Osamu Tezuka (1929-1989), the first cartoonist to apply cinematographic techniques to Japanese comics.

In our original outline for this first arc of "Best Mann For The Job," our plan for the bank robbers was to simply have them jump in the car, get shot, and then lose their pursuers. But -- given what's coming up when they reach Hope Falls and cross paths with Grace Mann (who is, after all, the star of our series) -- we realized how much it would raise the stakes if these guys really caused some damage ... and, in the process, were more desperate themselves.

Once we hit upon the idea of stretching out the car chase, bringing in the gas truck and all, it brought to mind that Mr. Tezuka's artistic breakthrough is said to have occurred when he expanded a dramatic racing sequence in 1947's New Treasure Island. As such, it seemed appropriate to tip our hat to the man who went on to create Astro Boy, Black Jack, and Kimba the White Lion -- and transformed Japanese comics and animation. (Which, in turn, rampantly influenced so much here in the West, as well.)

Best Mann For The Job stars Grace Mann, a woman with a complicated past who returns home to become sheriff of Hope Falls, Tennessee. We like to think of it as a cross between a rural Dick Tracy and Gasoline Alley. (Or, for you couch potatoes, a cross between The Andy Griffith Show and Northern Exposure ... with a little T.J. Hooker thrown in.)

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A woman with a complicated past returns home to become the small town's new sheriff. Best Mann For The Job is by the writer/artist team of Chris and Erica Well. Read it from the beginning at Watch the trailer on YouTube.