Thursday, June 05, 2008



When I read this script, I almost laughed as to how much I enjoyed it. Some people have complained that it's a fast read. That's due to the decompressed nature of the storytelling that Ollie uses. It's a very modern way of telling stories, and a style that I love. In fact, I would argue that I have been developing a visual storytelling style that embraces decompressed storytelling. So reading the script, I knew I'd be right at home.

Ollie does what any good writer should do, and that is to trust the people he's working with. In this case, his artist. He left it up to me to tell the story. He left it up to me to control the pacing. It's a very fast read if you just skim the pictures and read the sparse, yet incredibly dense, powerful and layered dialogue. So I tried to create a visual density to slow the reader down. I hope that eager beavers who power through it looking for revelations will go back and enjoy the view. I did spend a hell of a lot of time on working on that view. I hope it's apparent.


Unfortunately Annette was busy on other projects so you're stuck with my colouring. While I always prefer Annette to colour my stuff, this is easily the best comic book colouring I've ever done. I'm so happy with how easy it is on the eye. But having said that, there's a caveat that I need to get out of the way.

This is NOT the page you're supposed to be looking at, nor the droids you're looking for. I finished this very early and uploaded the piece. I then had a good look at the BLACK TOWER piece from the previous post and tried to attack the colouring of the second page in a similar style. I was so happy with the result, I went back and recoloured and re-uploaded page 1. Little did I know that the letterer had already grabbed my page 1 and lettered it. I forgot to remind anyone that the page had been redone as I underestimated the letterer's eagerness and speed. Something I won't do again.

So let me play spot the differences. Overall the version that was lettered is muddier and lacks shadows and effects, but there's a host of subtle differences too. The page as it should have appeared is down the bottom of this post.


PANEL 1: I added the snow and sleet, as it seems to come from nowhere in page 2! Looks fine one minute and then, BOOM! Thompson kicks in the door and it's a snowstorm. Funny how no one complained about that. It's also a lot brighter. I added the dragon tattoo on Thompson's jacket as a contrivance, but one I felt was important to help identify the character. It's for the same reason that you see Donna's hair. She should be wearing her hood to protect her from the cold. Hell, she should be wearing goggles too.

PANEL 2: To create a more convincing lightscape I added shadows on the hillock and the tree. I should also point out the first two of five easter egg shout-outs to SARMY members is in this panel. I've been hanging in London with Nat and Noo (see photo of me with the two lovely ladies with Superman behind us a couple posts down). This was my way of saying "Hi". As we speak, they're trying to figure out how to refurbish the place with the insurance money from Devin and Emily's brawl. Currently it's going to become a 1920's themed horror pub in the middle of nowhere. I guess not many fans can say they own property in the HEROES universe. I think Ryan Gibson Stewart of HEROESWIKI and GTV can make the only other claim with his nightclub in THE DEATH OF HANA GITELMAN.


PANEL 3: This is a HUGE change here. I crafted beams of sunlight coming through the overhead canopy to help separate foreground and background. You can really see a more normal skin tone with only a hint of green here. You know I've been watching too much LOST when you can see I remembered to put a huge sweat patch on the front of her top. I figured if Evangeline Lilly can make a sweat patch look sexy, then Sabine can give it a go too.

Panel 4 remains exactly the same. But it's worth downloading both versions and flicking between them to see the difference. Ahh well.

Sheindie asked if Australia was chosen by me or the writers. Ollie chose Australia as he used to live there when he was a kid. In fact, he also lived in Melbourne and our schools were about a 5 minute drive from each other.


The only thing I pulled Ollie up on, was that he asked that the hat that "Aussie Julien" wears be one of those cork hats. I wrote to my editor, Frank and asked if he could just be wearing an akubra (what he wears now) as NO ONE wears those cork hats. It would be like me asking you to draw an American dude who lives in the woods and insisting that he has to have a Daniel Boone racoon hat.

As a point of extra detail, I actually jumped online to figure out what the time would be in each of the different places. Here's what I chose. It would be about 6pm in Antarctica, 4pm in Australia and 8am in the Congo. I say about as those were my rough calculations. I knew I might be up to an hour off in either direction with daylight savings time and my screwed up math and geography so I made sure that my lighting covered that standard deviation of my stupidity.


Because the general HEROES comic reading public isn't a hardcore comic reading public I tried to make the palettes as distinctive as possible to avoid confusion when there is no captions to distinguish that we're switching between scenes. From everything I've read on the 9thWonders so far, it looks like I succeeded in that.

Looking forward to the second post!


I would say that the premiere comic book gossip column has to be LYING IN THE GUTTERS by Rich Johnson at So it was a huge buzz for me when my mate Mitch emailed me saying that I was in it. Click on the link and scroll down to PRETTY IN PINK.

That put the biggest grin on my face and a high that lasted all through a very tough day.


Don't forget, Londonites! I'm at ORBITAL MANGA this Saturday the 7th of June from 12pm, signing and sketching. And one lucky person will get drawn into the third part of ROOT & BRANCH. Click on the above link for details.


Ron said...

..your best work yet! ... and the word's been put out via Forums, FB, 9th, DA, MySpace etc. re: this coming'll be 'ace' =)

'ROESian said...

Thanks for sharin' the differences... I didn't pick up on the detail about the snow on the 2nd page and not on the first - Maybe it got more snowy by the time they reached the door? :D

Great work as always.

ryangibsonstewart said...

Beautiful as always, my man! Looking forward to Part 2...

Anonymous said...

Aren't we all?! Part 2 can't come soon enough...

I've said elsewhere but this is my favourite episode so far - I loved Moonlight but I just think the action in this is superb. There is so much going on in every panel and it really flows, the best yet for the sheer grace in those extreme fighting poses.

Whoa, didn't realise you did the colouring as well, wow, I was going to say, it really zings at you, particularly the way all the contrasting colours for each location work - this is one of the things that makes it for me, fantastic to see that it's all your doing.

Yep, I know, could I be in any more awe ;)
- Noo

ryangibsonstewart said...

...and yes, owning a nightclub is a lot of responsibility, but somebody's gotta do it! :) Luckily, there were no bar fights at my fine establishment, so it's still standing, it's still "New York's Finest Nightclub"!

Anonymous said...

Ah, just you wait, who says you aren't going to get some desperate Julien seekers storming your joint some quiet evening?!
You should come and DJ for us, I think I left Nat extending the place so we've easily got room for a dance floor or two...

Thanks once again for the wonderful EE, Jason!

Oliver Grigsby said...

Thanks so much for making this come to life Jason. Bummer the wrong first page was used, but now we have a little something extra to look forward to in the hardcover.

Really enjoyed reading about your process, and seeing the line art etc. And thanks everyone for their support, glad you're enjoying it.

Flawedprefect said...

Strike one against cultural cringe! Kudos for changing the hat, Jason. Your new coloring method is a definite improvement over the old style.

MiamiVolts said...

Nice artwork in the 2nd novel. It's definitely got the creepy factor working for it, and the different shading for the flashbacks was a nice touch.

Pyych-Gen said...

Excellent as always. I liked the what was and what should have been about page 1. Splitting each image into its RGB components and copying the red into what we should have seen seems to indicate the colorest used too much red. Making Sabine appear green. Thanks for clearing that up.

Psych-Gen, 9th Wonderer.