Tuesday, October 21, 2008


What happened to yesterday and my blog post? I was sure I left it around here somewhere. I'll tell you what happened. At 945am my exuberant Turkish and Austrian housemates burst into my room to wake me up. If they were any cheerier at that hellish time of the morning they would have needed pom poms... but pitch forks would have been more appropriate. I spent the rest of the day staggering around in some sort of sleep deprived haze. I'm told Batman only sleeps 4 hours a night. Well, I guess by my lack of bloggage, that makes me not Batman.

Alright, I want to talk about a couple choice pages from part 2, then wrap up part 3.

The reason why I picked pages 7 and 9 is because I wanted to show you the incredible work that Annette does. Regular readers know about how I constantly rave about her work. But these two pages show you exactly what she does.

PAGE 7: I was reasonable happy with page 7. I liked the detail of all the little guys running around with their guns. I had spent so much time on the detail, I didn't realise how static I'd made it! There was no drama to their house invasion. I was dismayed. All that work for such a mediocre result. Then Annette comes in and throws smoke canisters in, breaks the glass all over the floor and wheels in some spot lights outside. She made a mediocre composition punch with enough force to knock out Sylar.

PAGE 9: Here's another great example of our artistic partnership at work. What I was most happy with in my composition was the sense of scale. The fact that Timm would take the time and space to take a page to allow the explosion to make itself really felt was a masterful piece of storytelling.

My good Aussie mate, Paul Caggegi (I promise I will get to your email soon buddy!) sent me a link to a site with a bunch of free custom brushes for Photoshop. They got their work out here.

But again, look at the incredible highlighting, scale and action that Annette brings to the party! Let me give you a minute here to bask in that explosion- but don't forget to turn around or you're going to get an uneven tan.

PAGE 10 & 12: Ok, page 10 was my only clue for readers that Donna isn't Donna. If you go back aways to Faces as written by the brilliant Mark Sable, you will find that Penny remarks that she stays in shape to catch bad guys not impress guys.

In panel 3 you see the two of them taking off, with Penny/Donna leading the way. I wanted her to run like a sprinter, not like an ordinary girl (which is what Donna is). Then in panel 4 she's still leading the way. Your first question should be, "How the hell can Donna outrun Thompson Jr?"

In panel 5 she's fine and he's totally winded from the run. Surely that's gotta be red flags for you. Donna has had little to no training, while Thompson has been doing this for years. See? I leave you clues.

PAGE 12: I've included page 12 here as it's easily the best picture I've done of Donna - ironically, even though it's not Donna. I thought she looked both hot and cruel. Which is a balance I know some people really like. I don't know what I'm saying about myself here by saying this is my favourite picture of her. So um... let's just move right along andd leave my issues for another time then.


PAGE 1: I realised something while drawing Penny. There's not a lot of ugly people in comics. If there are unattractive people they're drawn as stereotypes and are rarely referred to as specifically "ugly." And if they are, they're some old crone covered in warts and weeping sores. Penny needed to have an understated ugliness. I couldn't pull the warts or weeping sores card, she just had to be desperately... unattractive.

Most other artists just drew her really plain, like a woman without any makeup. But I was pretty sure in reading it that she had to be ugly, not plain.

It really tore at me to draw her. I thought to myself, what if someone looks like this? Am I insulting them? Am I telling them that they're ugly? I decided to treat the stereotype of comics as the norm and weigh in on the opposite side of that. Massive eyebrows, that "fat face" thing that she had as a kid, and a wide nose are all the opposites of what we're conditioned to draw when we draw a beautiful woman in comics. It was an interesting and strangely uncomfortable exercise. So now you know why comics are only filled with beautiful people. Because we don't want to offend anyone.

As an aside, I asked them to add the line, "Penny?!" because as I hadn't drawn Penny before, I figured no one would recognise her. I noticed that when I drew Connie, no one recognised her either as I hadn't drawn her before. If Sabine had yelled, "Connie?!" it might have read a little better.

PAGE 2: Everyone was like, "how did Penny get inside the bathroom after Donna was just in there?"

My answer... It's one word.

Are you ready?


I didn't draw all the walls, hell, the window might even be behind the shower curtain. She crawls in as Donna leaves the room.

It was so much fun to draw the opposite side of this scene. It was a headache remembering which side Donna's blond lock was on with all the reflections though.

PAGE 3: Again people complained as to why she would have her badge on here. Two reasons. One, it had been previously established in her death painting. But the second reason is that I believe that a clone found it in her pocket and placed it on her in some act of insulting irony. I can see him sneering and saying something like, "There, now you're all dressed up for work."

PAGE 4: My layouts for the last two panels were governed by the reference from the winner of the NBC "Pick Penny's Face" competition.

I wanted to make sure that the winner would recognise their face.

As an aside, I changed car reference for Gael and Bianca. A continuity slip that I'm not sure anyone noticed.

PAGE 5: I'm so amazed we got away with Penny's ragged next spouting blood in panel 2. I remember Jim Martin getting really excited about it. I just know in comics that people have to look really dead or no one believes they're dead.

I'm especially happy with panel 3. I got to draw the Kill Squad for the first time. I wanted them to look like total professional bad asses. I did a fair amount of research to get all their equipment right.

Then what do I screw up? I forgot to take the casing off the bullet in panel 6. I do that ALL the time. I'm not a gun guy ok? I don't like guns. I think they're a cowardly weapon and I pay little attention to them. You want the power to kill someone? Earn it. Do some training with a real weapon.

What did annoy me a bit was people trying to figure out how Connie gets shot in the back when two panels previous she has her left side to the Kill Squad. My answer is what I call "reasonable action". If the clones can raise their guns and fire on the Kill Squad, is it reasonable that Connie turned 90 degrees and started to run away?

PAGE 6: I really wanted to make sure Connie was dead. If I could I would have had entrails and all sorts of things spilling out everywhere. But no one seemed to misread this. Sabine's reaction helps too I guess.

PAGE 7: Thompson goes all action hero! I figured if I could get away with Penny's head earlier I could have the decapitated body in panel 2 still be spouting blood as it falls.

I was really starting to regret putting all the equipment on the kill squad here. I'm sure Annette was feeling the same.

PAGE 8: I enjoyed the synchronicity of Sabine with a wounded Julien on her lap being carted around in the back of various SUVs driven by opposing organisations.

What was quite a challenge was arranging the geography of the clearing where the fight takes place as well as its distane and relation to the bridge. Charting Thompson's journey was important and Timm and Jim did a great job of keeping the plot moving while Thompson runs that fair distance.

PAGE 9: So some people asked why that dude was transparent. He's Manuel, a teleporter we met earlier. Then other people asked why he didn't just teleport away? I'm guessing he was either killed in the original ambush where he didn't even get a chance to react, or he froze up in the firefight. By the looks of it he tried to get away and got caught half way.

Even more people were questioning why Donna didn't just throw herself over the bridge. Lotta complainers, hey? Lets see. She's nailed to a board and still tied to a chair. She pushes Thompson Jr but then falls over after. With your feet basically imobile, she's not going anywhere. And in that split second neither him or her obviously thought of anything else. Hindsight is 20/20, right?

PAGE 10: I think it was me who remembered that Donna had to be wearing what she was wearing in the Isaac painting. It seems really obvious now, but when it's just lines on paper it's easy to forget these things. I think I actually drew her in something else before I went back and changed it to what Michael Gaydos drew. Doing my version of his picture was a lot of fun. I'm a huge fan of his, so getting to work off his work was a buzz.

I love that bridge explosion. Annette did such a great job. I did get a lot of hell that there's no way Thompson jr could have survived a fall from that height. All I can say is that sometimes I get carried away. Why draw a bridge when you can make it a really HIGH bridge?

PAGE 11: Ok, so I was REALLY getting sick of drawing soldiers at this stage. I tried to keep the Kill Squad in military gear, and the clones in more stealth outfits so that we could distinguish between the two groups. But yes, soldiers do indeed have their names on the front and back like that. It wasn't just me going, "Um, just in case you don't recognise this guy, it's...."

That silhouette of Thompson Jr was the one image I was dying to draw. I saw it as I read the script and just knew how it should look.

PAGE 12: And I was getting sick of drawing clones too. I think I was right up against the deadline too. I was so creatively and emotionally tired by this point. I had just taken on so much work, but it was worth it! I am very proud of what Annette and I did in this arc.

But I'm telling you now, stay tuned for the webcomic tomorrow. This is merely a creative mole hill compared to the mountain that Annette and I have pulled out for SUM QUOD SUM. I honestly believe we have stepped up to anothe level. Ollie's script is brilliant and while it's fun drawing all these company characters, I get a real buzz out of drawing cast members.

Stay tuned!

Don't forget the competition to win a copy of the BOOK OF LIES. You have til next monday to write an entry for each section. Scroll down or just find the COMPETITION label on the side.

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