And the beginning of another page:
And the beginning of another page:
As we get closer to the end, C becomes more domineering (visually), literally breaking through the panel borders (not just his smoke). This page in particular will be a full bleed (which means there's no panel border, the picture goes right to the edge of the page).
Up to this point, C has been mousy and bumbling. Here, he is full on confrontational. I darkened up C's face even more than in the original image to make him especially intimidating.
This page went through multiple layout changes. My original intention was to make it more maze-like, where your eye would snake around the page as Calimbo chased Montressor through winding halls and up and down elevators. Ultimately, I decided that doing something "clever" like that would almost be too much of a distraction and too big a break from the rest of the book.
Instead, I made the chase aspect more subdued, and I put the emphasis on M's feet and his over-reaction to C's suggestion that M screwed up. (I do think M's reaction dialogue could use a bit of help...)
C apologizes (sorta) for the intrusion (as his captain commanded [sorta]). The main things to note here are that the conversation is about Fortunato's actions, but C is really talking about M's actions. Also, note that the cigar smoke breaks the panel border, and now so too does the cigar!
While this looks to be a simple scene, with characters miles apart, I tried to give them some symbolic heft. On the left side of the page, as C arranges photos on his board, building his case, the images are meant to suggest that he is building a wall of bricks (the photos are brick-like) to entomb M on the right side of the page.
Similarly, as M stands in his office, the window panes look similar to a brick wall; the light through the window panes creates a motley pattern on his suit, and his cigarette smoke creates a foolscap on his head (a la Fortunato). I'm trying to suggest that C is now the entomber (is that a word?). And the final panel has M looking out of his catacomb he's been walled into. Or, if it looks more like a prison cell, that works, too. And there's that black X on him again that says "gotcha!"
Even the layout of the page is meant to be suggestive of bricks in a wall with its staggered panels.
Here C confronts M in the street. The main effect I was going for here is that C is looking a bit mysterious and M is looking boxed in. As usual I wanted to play with the blacks and whites to really push myself to learn how to use shadows rather than lines to make shapes. (It's a work in progress, obviously. And I'm a bit annoyed at how I skimped on the backgrounds.)
I'm still trying to figure out exactly what M should say here. He's making fun of C and his "lunch bag," but also referring to the earlier scene where he (M) bought C lunch at a fancy restaurant and C couldn't bring himself to eat it. So, I want to make M's dialogue more snarky/mean-spirited.
Here is the page in its (unfinished) context:
This footprint follows the scene with C at the construction yard---where he stepped in some wet cement. Footprints are critical to the case and they are a recurring theme in The Case of Amontillado.
The bust of Athena follows the scene with C in M's office. The bust is in the background, but her gaze of justice cannot be denied.
The bucket follows another confrontation scene, where C lets M know that he (M) left evidence behind, specifically the bucket...and maybe other items.
One other quality of these pages is that each of the items points to the left --- the sinister side --- like the left-handedness of M. Once C "wins", the images will point right. It's a subliminal thing---I don't expect readers to pick up on it on a conscious level; but putting in these touches is what keeps the work interesting to me.
I thought I would get this page done more quickly since I walked into the studio having everything figured out. But it turns out that it still takes me a long time. You can see how the image changed a bit from concept to completion, particularly in panel 2, where I realized that a more dramatic turn by M was better.
This page is the beginning page of a 3rd confrontation between C and M. Longtime fans will no doubt recall the other "confrontation scenes":
In each scene (and maybe this in only in my own head), C is getting a bit closer (he is getting larger in panel 1) to catching M (he starts as silhouette, and later we are right up on him). (The 4th confrontation scene will have C very large).
In addition, panel 3 focuses on M's feet, which are important to C's case against him. And C's dialogue "I'm so glad I caught you!" has a double meaning.
And it ends on a (hopefully) funny joke.
Panel 1: Although C has trapped M in a lie, he quickly undermines his power position with some self-deprecating banter---all the better to lead M in the direction he wants him to go.
The visuals on this page may take a bit of explanation. We're still in M's office, and we see behind C a bust of Pallas (Athena). This is a little nod to Edgar Allen Poe: the bust of Pallas appears in Poe's poem "The Raven." (In that poem, the bust actually appears on top of a door, but that was a little too on the nose for me. Here, she is just next to the door.)
But I wanted to do more than just reference Poe. M has the statue in his office because he likes to think of himself as wise (Athena is goddess of Wisdom).
But here, it is C in panel 1 who is associated with Athena (who, by the way, is also the goddess of justice).
Panel 2: This panel is just an image of M from between C's arm and side. Or is it an image of the goddess Athena in heaven looking down on a mere mortal?
Of course, this imagery is all meant to be subliminal. I don't expect that the reader will make these kinds of literary leaps. But I do think something will register beyond simple talking heads.
Panel 3: I think M actually hurt C's feelings with that crack!
I wasn't quite sure what to do with this page. I knew that I wanted to try to work in more images of M's feet (shoes) since they are important to the plot. With that in mind, I decided to try a floor shot with feet in the foreground and C in the background, and one way of doing that was what I came up with for panel 1.
Unlike some people (ahem), this image reminds me of an old fashioned gunfight as the sheriff and the bad guy square off in the street. With that in mind, I decided to play out the rest of the page as the gunfight itself. The dialogue is pretty innocuous, but the images suggest just how C has taken down M. In panels 1 and 2, the combatants square off. In panel 3 C points at M (or is he shooting him?), and in panel 4 M reacts to C's inability to shut up (or he reacts to being shot). I use the background in panel 3 to suggest the flash of the gun and in panel 4 the explosion as the bullet rips through M.
Again, there's no real gunfight, it's just meant to be a suggested by the imagery. If the reader doesn't get it, that's okay---it's working subliminally.
Houston ZineFest fast approaches, and I have yet to complete a mini this year. Sasquatch is a comic that I completed over a decade ago, but never turned into a mini. So this year it's getting a cover and will hopefully be produced in time for the show. This cover inspiration is pretty straightforward. I wanted to use the iconic Bigfoot image and combine it with domesticity.
I was worried, because I wanted the style to be similar to the original artwork---so that the cover wouldn't look "new" to the contents. Fortunately (I guess), my artwork hasn't really changed that much in the last 12 years!
Note: this scene does not appear in this book.
This page continues the Office confrontation. And once again, C leads M into a trap---making him admit something that he previously denied: that he knew Fortunato well. The top tier (3 panels) is C once again being his bumbling self (which is what leads people to underestimate him).
Panel 4 bleeds into/falls into panel 5 as C catches M in his trap.
I had no idea how to lay out this page at first. After awhile, it gets difficult to imagine new ways to show talking heads. I went ahead and drew panel 1 based on a sketch I had in my notebook. At that point, the Muse responded...
In this scene, C catches M in an admission that he (M) knows something that he shouldn't know, namely that Fortunato was drunk at the time of the murder. This is an important slip-up (and just the kind of thing that C relies on with his quirky investigative technique). So the viewpoint moves from M's point of view and power position behind his desk (panel 1) all the way around to C taking the power position (panel 4 is effectively a mirror image of panel 1). So the scene literally turns the table on M (as M's desk rotates a full 180*).
Furthermore, because of the way the sunlight comes through the window and casts shadows, M goes from being almost all white (pure) to being almost all black.