It's funny, but for a guy so well versed in action (ex stunt man and black belt martial artist) I'm terrible at comic book action. Laying out this page was akin to pulling teeth. I believe it was one of the last pages I handed in.
But perhaps I've put my finger on the pulse of the problem? Comic book action is not the same as real life action.
Let's start with the problems that the script initiated. There's so much action communicated in the script:
Splash Page - Hana QUICKLY, grabs the GUN with one hand. KNOCKS OUT a guard with the OTHER HAND. And KICKS a THIRD GUARD in the gut. F*cking action star.
As an aside, I love the energy of Aron's scripts. The final line brought it all to life for me. =)
It's almost impossible to communicate all this action in one image. I drew sketch after sketch of the possible layouts, finally being drawn towards this image. It contains what I call "implied action". I don't know what she's doing to move the two bald guys (3rd and 4th from left) but it just works. She emanates a convincing energy that makes you believe that something has happened by the sheer power of her movement.
It's once I unclenched my reality-gripping butt cheeks and just go for an image that communicates the spirit of the movement that I find real success. And that's the key. It's something Frank Miller does especially well. These dreamy idyllic beautifully choreographed almost-sequential images of action vignettes. It's a rare skill that I haven't had enough time to develop. I'm looking forward to disecting that skill and replicating it. Very few people can do it. It's either blow-by-blow action (which I like, but doesn't work too well in comics - it means the majority of the comic is spent trying to depict a fight) or it's so decompressed that all you're looking at are seemingly random images meant to convey feeling rather than a sequence. The best comic book action lies in between.
But why can't you depict it blow by blow? A good way to put it is that the space needed to depict a fight is inversely proportional to the time it takes to watch it on film. That is, what only takes seconds on film, takes an INCREDIBLE amount of space in comics. Remember, most fights are a series of quick, quick cuts to communicate the action. Imagine that each cut is a panel - a separate image that needs to be depicted. You're looking at close to 100 cuts or more for your average small Jackie Chan fight scene. That's 100 panels or around 20 pages... for a SMALL fight scene. That means you just shelled out US$2.95 for what would be a minor fight scene.... Basically a waste of your money as it doesn't progress the plot at all.
POSTER/PRINT: thanks to SHEINDIE from 9th Wonders who found me Greg Grunberg's manager's details. If this goes through Sheindie, you got yourself a thank you incoming. =)