Friday, September 07, 2007


So here is the offending page. This is the main pages that interrupted people's reading. By my reckoning I screwed up four times on this page. I rarely make a mistake, so to make four on one page is just unbelievable to me.

For those of you who wondered how the "car crash" occurred, lemme break it down for you:

Panels 1 and 2 are straight forward. It's the tiered panels 2, 3 and 4 that are an issue. So over the course of three panels, what is SUPPOSED to happen is Mohinder gets bumped by the hospital director into a room while the director hugs a Primatech salesman. The first two problems occurs on two levels: Space and Time (it's like a bad Star Trek episode with some worm hole that's popped up in the middle of my HEROES comic).

1. SPACE: The first problem is that people aren't sure where he's being knocked into. Because of the heart attack patient established on the previous two pages, you instantly assume that he's being knocked into that room. That he gets knocked into another room is confusing. I call this concept, "Geography": defining and establishing the space where the scene and relevant action occurs. To make this clear, I should have had the heart attack patient visible in his room on panel 2 or 3 so we know that he's in another room. My rushing meant that I was trying to avoid drawing (what I thought were) unnecessary elements. It was a crucial mistake.

2. TIME: One of the keys to comics is that separate actions within the same series of panels have to occur within the same time frame. What do I mean by this? If two things are occurring they must both occur within the same amount of time. An example is that in the foreground you could have someone throwing a punch, and in the background someone taking a bite of an apple. It is realistic for both of these things to occur at the same time. The greatest violation of this rule is when people give huge speeches while punching someone. How the hell do they talk that fast? Or do they just punch really slowly?

I struggled trying to rationalize the two elements in these panels: the director and the Primatech salesman hugging and Mohinder falling. Here's why. The director elbows Mohinder then in the same amount of time that Mohinder falls into the room, he walks across the floor and embraces the Primatech salesman. The way I've drawn it, it feels to me like Mohinder is wheeling his arms trying to get his balance for a good 2-3 seconds while the director and the Primatech guy cross the floor towards each other to embrace. In my head it's like some Wile E. Coyote sketch.

One solution is to place the salesman closer to the director. If they're standing next to each other in panel 3 then less time passes making the two events (the hug and the fall) making them more similar in the time each one takes to occur. But if I did that, then the salesman would hear and see into the patient's room - something which would destroy the flow of the story.

I still don't know how to solve it. It takes a better storyteller than me to plot this sequence.

My third mistake was that it wasn't clear that the director was elbowing Mohinder. There was some re-scripting after I had done the artwork. I would have recommended a little, "Oof!" from Mohinder on panel 3 to help illustrate the action. And maybe a small, "Ah!" on panel 4.

The fourth problem (man, I did well didn't I?) is the "It's not polite to stare." comment. Just to clarify, it's the patient talking to Suresh here in a sarcastic tone. The fact I have to explain it means I screwed up again. What I should have done was had Mohinder staring off panel to our right at the patient. Then we could have had the speech balloon coming from there and it would create the small cliffhanger that Mark intended.

As an aside, Lee (who is blond) commented that I made him look like Hitler with the black hair and mustache. Lee's such a great model. I use him so often because he can just snap instantly into character and position. It's a real skill. But it was not my intention to make him look like Hitler. But it's kinda funny. I wonder if in a subliminal sort of way it helps the reader define that this is a "bad guy"?

By the way, thanks again to Ryan at for the Activating Evolution reference! I forgot to use the spine of the book though!


The Polsons said...

Wub to Jason! 8-) Even if you think your stuff is crap, it beats what 99.9% of other mere mortals can do. Ha. And at least it's incredibly attractive crap. 8-)

(But I don't think it's crap. Some problems, sure, but not crap.)

What accent? Uh... the accent I don't have? LOL XD But seriously, whatever you call it, I love the way you pronounce stuff. Better? 8-)

Kristy (my local Aussie friend) tells me that 'mericans don't have accents because everybody has 'merican TV so you don't hear one with us.

True? False? Something I should needle her about? 8-)


Lee said...

Oh, praise for modelling.. maybe I should complain more in future. I do think I'm being typecast though, bad guy here, less than savoury individual in Zero G (is that vague enough not to reveal plot points?). Actually, its fun. After all, modelling for a comic means you can overact to your heart's content.

I already mentioned what I thought should have happened on this page, which pretty much lines up with Jas's comments (Geography and Time), but I think the script directions he works off were part of the problem too.

On a side note, I was never sure about that hug thing anyhow. It seems out of character for the director. Given I modelled the director and Jas used himself to model the primatech guy, and he had my wife take te photo.. well I can't help but wonder if the whole thing was just a setup for Jas to fulfill some bizarre wish :)

Lee said...

And no, Americans don't have accents either as 75% of Australian TV comes from the US (albeit it a little slow sometimes).
The only time Australians have accents is after you get back from a trip to the US and everyone sounds different. The 'ozzie' accents in the airport when we got home were just bizarre.

Ron said...

The first thought I had was that the director looks quite Hitler-esque but didn't want to be rude and mention that -(since you used your friend as a model). I just want to know what 'Mo' is leaning against when he is reading that chart. Also, the patient in the bed said that it's rude to stare..stare at the chart, or stare at the patient? ..ok then.. thanks again, Sheindie

HERO said...

Thank you for the explanations. I think the "Space" was what confused me a little, just 'cuz I didn't know which room the first patient was in in relation to the EE patient. And the "It's not polite to stare" comment just lost me 'cuz I didn't think the patient could see that Mohinder was reading the chart.

Also, just 'cuz I got confused, it doesn't mean the artwork wasn't great!

Just ignore my comments at 9thW if I happen to be confused about something - my comments relevant to this comic were about the text, not the artwork. ;)

jasonb said...

Willow: I hope I have an accent! I love my accent. Yeah, it's funny, you guys don't have accents. We do! Thanks for the shout out Willow!

Lee: Typecast as intense academic types is more like it. Or you can consider yourself my Gary Oldman. =)

Ron: He's leaning against the base of the bed. Here's an excerpt from the script:

CLOSE ON SURESH as he looks at the CHART he’s knocked down. We still can’t see the patient it belongs to. He’s got a look of SHOCK on his face.

TEENAGE PATIENT (OFF PANEL): It’s not polite to stare.

I did it so Suresh is staring at the chart. But as I mentioned Mohinder should be staring at the patient.

hero: guaranteed you won't be confused by the next part. It reads as sweet as ice-cream. Goes down smooth and oh so cool.