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Torino
Torino is just some comic/history/paranormal nerd who likes cats a whole lot.
I made it!
It's finished! The Valentines arc that never ends finally ended!
It was, obviously, somewhat different to the other arcs so far, and not only because it concerned the present as opposed to the past.
I may have mentioned this previously, but although this arc had been in planning for about 3 years (and I had planned to start it as soon as marriage equality was achieved in Australia), it was never meant to be this long originally. Part of the reason it ended up so long was because the original draft was a sequel to a planned Christmas special that never got done. But then the whole thing took so long its kind of surreal to not have to work on it anymore.
My main regret is that I couldn't make it look as good as I wanted to due to time constraints, and it lacks the detail of the Two Cities arc.

What's next for Southern Cross? First of all, a break. But I'd like to do some more fun things before the end of the year. Maybe I'll do another request-a-thon for Christmas, or another character poll (I can't help it, I love character polls). What do you think? Comic content will probably go back to short jokes for a while, but there are also some -other- new characters I want to introduce - not butlers, either.

Thank you for reading until the end of this arc - whether you're new or someone who's been here for years already, I hope that you enjoyed it.
Well at least it isnt my fault the page is kinda late this time - I had it all ready to go and then smackjeeves wasn't working - and then I had to go out. Luckily it started working again by the time I was back.
Anyway, there was actually some concern about whether the butler's wife Matilda was still alive or not, but as you can see she is. He also has the NSW coat of arms on his phone, which may or may not be one exclusively for Sydney to contact him on.
And so another thing changes.
This arc is almoooost done, just a few more pages. Look for the next one next Friday.
Well, I tried to get it done while it was still Friday but ended up late. I kept switching some stuff about how this page segues into the next one and it took me too long to get it right.
Everyone has gone to The Pancake Parlour, a restaurant chain I make sure to visit every time I go to Melbourne. There's no deep meaning to this. I just really felt like pancakes and wanted to draw them.
Also, sorry Mel. You knew he was embarrassing, and now you're stuck with him.
Even with the extra time I still kinda barely squeezed by on this one. Just in case you missed it last time, I have changed the upload day from thursday to friday AU time.

If you're wondering why the others would all just assume it but only Bri would immediately question the technicalities, that's just what she's like (as well as being considerably closer to both of them). Canberra is also the type to question the technicalities...except when it concerns the two people she already decided were her fathers. Poor Darwin thought he finally had his head around it. Adelaide and Perth really don't give a damn. And Hobart....I guess she's not that perceptive, or perhaps was too blinded by her own doomed hope.

By the way, Mel genuinely believed all this time that he was incredibly convincing in the act he puts on of not liking Syd, and honestly thought the others would find his true feelings a surprise.
It's the first page I've drawn since I moved back to Australia again. ...Which is also why it took so long, as there was an international move in between this and the last page.
I think from now on (or at least the rest of this arc) I will change the upload day to Friday instead of the usual Thursday. Next page may or may not be late, but I'm hoping for August 11. Its kinda weird that a Valentines arc is still running in August.
I also feel like I haven't drawn Adelaide in forever.
Sorry for this page being a day late, it was actually really difficult to draw. I am really bad at drawing hugging, which...probably shows) and...thats basically what every frame of this page is.
It's the last page I draw in Japan, and I'm back in Australia on the weekend. Hopefully the next page will be up next Thursday or Friday.
Relax, Mel, it's just like ripping off a bandaid. That you've been neglecting to take off for over a hundred years. It really has been a while that theres been a colour page.
****ANYWAY: There's a week break before the next page, so expect it on the 26th.****

I am currently more busy than I have ever been in my life because I'm moving back to Australia again soon, so I don't have a lot of time for drawing. I really wanted to get this arc finished before I moved, but instead it's taking this long (although, hilariously, the original draft of this was only 3 pages long, but thats because it was piggy-backing off of a christmas special I never had time to draw last year)
Sorry for the wait!
It's been a while since they were in the same space again. The next page shouldn't have any delays and should be up Thursday as usual.
I wonder what's in that alley?
Hurray! No more of this damn bar on the next page! The world's longest Valentines Day is finally over!
The arc itself isn't, though. I'm gonna put a one week break here, so the next page will be up July 5th.
These pages have been taking a while lately, this one did mainly because I've been sick all week.
Hopefully next one will be quicker and also look better. See you next Thursday.

Mel has a poster of the Story of the Kelly Gang, the first ever feature film (which was also produced in Melbourne), half for pure hipster cred and half because he definitely has a giant crush on Ned Kelly.
Sorry that the page updates have been quite late in the day recently. This one took longer due to being a physically longer page.
We're finally back in the present day.
I had worried about the ending of the flashback seeming abrupt compared to the amount of buildup, but I also think Mel's emotional breakdown and its effect on Sydney needed enough context.
The Syd and Mel that appear in one panel toward the end there are most likely from the 1960s! Originally I wanted to have a much larger panel with a whole load of different designs throughout the decades as some kind of indication of the passage of time, but I didn't have enough time to, especially as it would have involved even more new designs. The other periods are something I hope I get an opportunity to revist, though.

I wonder what modern-Mel's up to right about now...
hey remember when this was a valentine's special

If this didn't get delayed so often, I could have gotten this up on the actual anniversary of Phar Lap's death last month.
I'm glad I was able to find pictures of those newspapers.

The true reason for Phar Lap's sudden death is debated even today. The major theory is that he was poisoned by American gangsters who wanted to take him out of the next race for messing up the odds, due to the large amount of arsenic found in his system. However arsenic was apparently also an ingredient in many performance-enhancing horse tonics at the time. We may never really know. The gangster murder plot is more exciting though.

Also, I recycled the 1920s character designs a bit for the others, but changed them just barely. (Mostly Brisbane, because her old timey swimsuit just didnt feel mood appropriate)
The hilarious reason this page is late (its still 10 minutes before midnight so its still the same day as usual in this timezone at least...) is because it was really hard for me to draw Mel pretty enough in that one frame, and I was about to upload the page as it was but it was bugging me and I ended up redrawing it. He still looks kinda off, but I don't want to draw it again. If he looks off to you, just pretend he actually looks really pretty.

The espresso trivia is entirely pointless but I couldn't really resist it anyway. Australia is a nation of coffee-snobs (which is also why Starbucks failed pretty badly and had to close most of its stores), but the snobbiest coffee snobs are in Melbourne. Melbourne was also the first city in Australia to get espresso machines - in 1928 - but it was a different kind to the lever-operated type that we know today (which allegedly first appeared in Sydney... but not until the 50s)

Lastly, the Phar Lap photos are from his winnings album, which were all collected. Since he didn't win the 1931 cup I had to hunt that down elsewhere. He raced in, and one, far more races than what is shown here obviously, it was merely a way of showing the passage of time, as we move toward 1932.

Next page should be up same day as always (Thursday).
@AFieSight: thanks... the thing is the old stuff is from 2011-2013 and I feel it should have improved a lot more than it has :(
Apologies for the delay on this one - I was supposed to have put a notice on the previous page that there was going to be a week break but forgot, and then this one still managed to get delayed. I did still manage to get it up on Thursday though. The temperature here spiked very suddenly and left me reeling a bit and made my art block worse than usual. The result is that I'm largely not happy with this page, but I think I've redrawn it enough times.
Next page should be up next Thursday with no delays.
We have two nice historical photos here. I still feel guilty and wish my art was good enough to reproduce them, but on the other hand they give a sense of reality. Plus that photo of Sydney in the early 30s is so amazing to me. From the angle its hard to tell, but the Harbour Bridge hasnt completed construction yet. Its likely that it might be a year or so off the 1930 exactly, but it was too good to not use. http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/news/2010/08/gallery-the-plague-in-historica l-sydney/how-the-plague-almost-demolished-the-rocks_image9
The other one is a photo of Phar Lap winning the Randwick Plate in Sydney, 1930. http://www.nma.gov.au/collections/highlights/phar-lap I also wondered how to best show this and opted for tracing the horses in the photo.
If I ever had time, it would be nice to try and draw both these photos from scratch. Unfortunately I don't have time, and if I want to get these pages finished at all I have to make compromises. But using the real photos does make an interesting contrast in the things that are real and the things that are dramatized.
@Shiisiln: Syd would actually come in third place here. The grand champion is Hobart, whose crush has been around even longer than Mel has existed.
Oh boy! Flashback time! Anyone know anything that happened in 1932?
I haven't really had the chance to draw anything around this era since the brief 1920s part at the end of the Federation arc, and have been looking for an excuse ever since, because those are some of my favourite character designs.
Managed to get this done in time!
As I've been using all my free time to try to get these pages done, I'm going to take a break next week.
The next page will be up April 26th.