Well, dear readers, we’ve just wrapped up Urban Underbrush Chapter Twelve: House Inspection. Some of you may be curious about the changes to the comic world, and I’d like to tell you a little more about them.
If you haven’t read Chapter Twelve yet, this is going to get pretty spoiler-heavy, so I suggest you go to the beginning and do the reading first. 
If you have finished the chapter, or don’t care about spoilers, then let’s get to it.
The most recent plot line has brought about the following changes:
1.) Dynamite and Detonator are temporarily done working for the rabbit family business.
2.) Dynamite and Detonator are now working for the landlord.
3.) Dynamite and Detonator will focus on building fireworks and novelties instead of knocking down buildings.
These are small but important modifications to the Urban Underbrush rules. 
I actually started writing the “House Inspection” story almost a year ago. Originally, it was going to be a silly, light-hearted escapade to follow the rather emotional Christmas Story. The original script involved Vincent tragically giving up his night off to assist with the inspection. Blair puts a hole in the floor by playing with Dynamite and Detonator’s equipment, then runs off leaving Vincent to deal with the problem. Maxwell would cover the hole with a carpet scrap. Then Blair was supposed to fall through the afore mentioned hole right after the landlord went home (“Hey, how did you guys fix the hole so quickly – WhoOOAA!”). 
Then everything would return to normal.
It was a pretty good story. So, why did I change it?
Once I started to break this storyline down into comic strips, I found that none of the individual strips were interesting or funny. Whenever I have trouble turning a joke into a strip, I usually discover that the joke wasn’t very funny to start with. But this was the first time that none of the strips seemed to work, no matter how I changed, tweaked, or rewrote them. If I can’t get a single joke to work, there’s probably something wrong with the joke. But if I can’t get any jokes to work…is there something wrong with the comic?
In all honesty, this wasn’t the first time Urban Underbrush had felt a little rickety to me. It was as if I was building on a cracked foundation and my once-steady walls were starting to shift and bend. If I ignored this problem and kept building, it was only going to get worse. I needed to stop and study the premise (the foundation) of Urban Underbrush. But I couldn’t examine my work objectively while still writing new episodes. I needed to take a hiatus, hence the break over the spring and summer. During this time, I had two goals: 1.) Think about the kind of comic I want to write. 2.) Figure out what parts of the current comic are getting in the way of goal #1.
So, what kind of comic did I want to write…
I always wanted Urban Underbrush to focus on a large cast of both human and animal characters, with Dynamite and Detonator either driving each plot or acting as a catalyst to other people’s problems. On examination, I realized that the jackrabbit family business was getting in the way of this. You may be thinking, “But, the rabbit family business was such a cool idea, how could it get in the way?” For one thing, it made the story kind of lop-sided. The rabbit family business was a huge plot point. Someone could easily write a whole series on just that one aspect. But it wouldn’t be the story I wanted to write. Instead, the rabbit business was a competing “main idea” that was syphoning attention away from the Grass Roots House and splitting my story into pieces. 
So that’s why the March Hare Demolition Company has stopped operating. I didn’t want to disband it permanently – I just wanted to downplay its role enough to keep all my story elements in balance.
Making Dynamite and Detonator work for Claude the landlord seemed like another good idea. The other problem with rabbit business was that only Dynamite and Detonator got to interact with it. In many ways, this cut them off from the rest of the cast. It made my characters feel like boring realistic neighbors with their own separate lives instead of hilarious sitcom neighbors, always caught up in each other’s business. Having Dynamite and Detonator work from the house seemed like the obvious solution to that problem.

The last big thing that bothered me about past Urban Underbrush was that there were never enough explosions. I think you can figure out why. Dynamite and Detonator knock down buildings. I can’t have them smashing a different part of the crowded city in every episode, especially when they themselves live and a cherished historic building. In order to make the explosions occur more often, I just had to introduce smaller, less destructive explosions. Now that Dynamite and Detonator are building “safe” fireworks, an explosion can comically result in smoke and annoyance, instead of the loss of property, limbs, lives and such. Rest assured, there will still be large explosions when needed.

So, there’s you breakdown of what’s changed and the reasons why. I think the comic world will be better for them. Stick around. The best is yet to come.

-Marj

www.lepusstudios.com