Competition is Fierce in Dodge City
Welcome to the high-energy chaos of competitive dodgeball! Newcomer Tomás has a certain knack for keeping an eye on the ball (or several!), but does he have what it takes to lead the Jazz Pandas to victory at the Dodge City championships? We spoke with writer Josh Trujilo and artist Cara McGee to find out!
Tell us a bit about what we can expect in Dodge City.
Cara McGee: (I’ll let Josh Handle this one, though I think you can expect lots of action along with a healthy smattering of Teenage Drama. And, if I have any say in it, cute boys.)
Josh Trujillo: Dodge City is a fast and frantic comedy about Tomás, the newest member of the Jazz Pandas dodgeball team. Our story is going to follow them to the championships, if they don’t tear each other apart before then.
What does dodgeball mean to you, and what’s it like translating the sport to comics?
Trujillo: I found dodgeball after high school, in an adult co-ed league, and it was really transformative! Having just moved into a big city and not having any friends, this unpredictable game and the people in it quickly became big parts of my life. Dodgeball is a very fast-paced game with a lot of drama. I’ve been worried about finding the right artist for the project, but Cara McGee is a perfect fit. Cara gives so much energy and personality into the young characters, and the way she portrays the intense action of the game is going to impress everyone.
McGee: I honestly haven’t played dodgeball since middle school (and I won’t admit how long ago THAT was), but I remember it being one of my favorite gym activities. Something about really being able to whack my classmates with these foam balls. I think it’s one of those sports that you don’t necessarily really have to be athletic to enjoy and have fun with. It’s so frantic and chaotic, and getting to try to nail that visually is going to be a fun and interesting challenge that I’m really excited for.
Which character do you identify with the most? The least?
Trujillo: It’s no surprise to anyone that Tomás is the character I identify with most! He’s shy, awkward, and still figuring out his place in dodgeball, and in life. My Mom saw the art for Dodge City and immediately assumed Tomás was supposed to be me. He’s definitely his own character! However, a lot of those insecurities and stresses ring true to anyone who has ever been on a team for the first time. It’s a personal story in more ways than one. And the character I identify with least? I’m gonna day Judith. She’s so outspoken and stylish and tough. She’s the one I think I have the least in common with, but also the one I think readers might end up loving the most.
McGee: Right now Edith reminds me a LOT of myself at that age, lanky and awkward and dealing with more emotions than I really know what to do with. But I was also pretty into cosplay and street fashion back in high school, so I see a bit of Judith in myself as well, though she’s probably way cooler than I’ll ever be.
I probably relate least to Amardeep. He’s such a cool guy, but he’s shouldering all of these responsibilities and seems to be pretty level-headed about it. I tend to crumble under too much pressure and responsibilities.
Cara, what was your inspiration for designing the characters and world of Dodge City?
McGee: Oh man, I read a LOT of sports manga, so this was finally my chance to tap into that, and Josh gave me this beautifully diverse group of kids to design. Honestly he left a lot of their looks up to my discretion, though we both talked a lot to make sure we got looks to go with the characters personalities, which is such a fun collaborative process. I’ve also stocked up on lots of fashion magazines to make sure these guys look super rad.
Do you think you have what it takes to lead a dodgeball team to the championships?
Trujillo: I can say from personal experience: NO! The dodgeball teams I played on sometimes has twenty players each, or more. Like a lot of great team sports, you can’t win a dodgeball game by yourself. Coordination, teamwork, and trust are a huge part of it. Costumes, theatrics, and shouting are also a huge part of it (but those I’m pretty good at.)
McGee: Oh man, maybe 15 years ago. I think if you put me out there now I’d probably cower in a corner, or be too exhausted to move after 20 minutes. Who knows though, if Tomás can pull it off, maybe I could too.