well, i had so much fun doing 12 pages of wonder woman that mark chiarello let me go ahead with an "afterward" page! it's sort of a thank you to everyone who enjoyed the strip. and an excuse to draw hippolyta.
i will be posting the entire page, full-size, on my blog next wednesday. theoretically, it will also be in the collected edition.
just finished an interview about wonder woman... anyway, it occurred to me that there are a few misconception about my story that i'd like to clear up:
1) the coloring in the stories has become clearer after the first few issues. that may be because the printers made some adjustments on their end, but the fact is that the colors actually evolve in the story itself. the first part (pages 1-4) was intentionally oversaturated, especially the acid coloring in page 1. this was to emphasize how surreal our world would seem to an unprepared young amazon. (there was also quite a bit of off-register lines, duplications etc.) the colors for part 2 (5-8) are much more muted, as WW adjusts to our world. (of course, 5 and 8 also take place in the snow.) the colors for part 3 are much brighter, although somewhat less trippy than part 1.
2) i stated that i originally envisioned a 52-page story for WC. that is true, but that was a different story than this one, and by the time i started even the rough outline of the "seven stars" story (november 2008) i was perfectly aware that i would be telling a 12-page story. it is likely that i might have done slightly fewer panels if i was trying to spread something out over 52 issues, but i had ALWAYS envisioned each distinct adventure being a single page, with perhaps a few more "epic" stories taking 2 installments. (even in the final version, where pages 9-12 are a single "scene", each page features a distinct challenge and resolution. that is, the page structure would have been the same either way -- the 52-page story would have just had a LOT more story (dr psycho's ectoplasmic assassins and the invisible jet, for starters). in my annotations, i'll probably go into more detail about the specific reasons for creating such densely structured chapters, but compressing a longer story was never part of it.
3) several people have this intriguing but bizarre and completely mistaken belief that each WW page has a hidden structure. the idea is that each page is divided into 4 strips , and that each strip is further subdivided into 4 blocs of panels, secretly making 16 "pages" per installment, or 190+ pages of super-epic story. apparently, this was my way of sneaking a million pages into the project, and by the way, totally proves that i didn't understand the assignment and i'm inherently immoral or whatever. yikes. it is generally true that, for the sake of writing convenience, most pages were divided into 4 strips as i broke down the story. (for example, page two: 1) WW wakes up at the bottom of a japanese lake 2) she surfaces and meets some faeries, and agrees to rescue their temple from a gang 3) she spies on the gang in the temple, led by dr poison 4) the gang ambushes her but she wakes up.) it is also true that within each page there is a visual hierarchy of main and supporting images, visual clusters etc. any artist who isn't a moron would do the same thing, especially on a page with this much visual information to organize. i do the same thing with my classics comics, and those average only 3 panels per page — it's just common sense. BUT (again, going to that not-a-moron point) i spent an exhaustive amount of time and energy devising pages that only work in a single format — the newspaper, one page/installment at a time format. my pages cannot be shrunken down. nor can many of them be altered; many of them would be difficult to split (pages 2, 3, 8, 11 ), others (pages 4, 7, 10, 13) would be impossible.*
as a more general comment, people may or my not like what i have done, they may think that it is good or bad, but the idea that i didn't know how to use the format because i pushed it to its limits is farcical. and not in a cool bertie wooster way, either.
...and i guess i should include a picture, just because:
*there are also technical reasons why even the more conventionally laid out pages don't fit the theory, but i'm sleepy. or hungry.
when i made up a list of where the various amazons' weapons could have gone to over the millennia , this was the first and most obvious thing i thought of. there is a specific reason why fenris refers to the valkyres as "vala-keres", but that is for another story...
can't really show a lot for the next one without giving the whole page away. diana finally gets her golden lasso, which is in the most obvious place possible. this page was going to be a lot more eventful -- and probably the most bizarre -- but i toned it down, since it is a sort of last breather before the finale.
although WW has been an out-of-control success, i thought it would be nice to return to the roots of this blog for a moment. you know, challenging myself (well, WW was certainly that, but you know what i mean...)
i posted a to-do list last year, but there a few things i left off of it. one was the project below. i always joke that any comic that could appeal to both 13 year old girls AND 18 year old boys would be unstoppable.
it would also be almost impossible... which is of course what makes it a challenge.
so on the plane home from SDCC, i returned to this one project with a few doodles. it involves a high school full of supernatural mishaps. these focus more on the high school side of it, at some point i will have more pics of the crazy stuff. some of these are designs for specific characters, others are general school types (not stereotypes). none of the boys sparkle, but some of them are real purty. teen-movie deal, here i come!
just got some copies... all the stories look even better this week, although i think my favorites have to be pope's strange and demon/catwoman.
am i allowed to say that?
the WW page reads much better than last time, some of that is probably because the colors are slightly less acidic and weird, partly because this has always been one of my favorite pages in terms of layout etc.
still debating whether cheetah will have the same outfit in later run-ins. that is, she'll always look like cheetah, and have the spots, but a spoiled socialite might want to change up the details. burberry in london? what about corto maltese? we shall see.
and some VERY rough ideas for the bukharastan scenes:
hope you like it! if not, i return your hatred with hugs. hug me, angry boy! hug!
more from paradise island. it will not end up in the actual story.
cliffs, for a deleted scene in which hippolyta laments that diana never knew their ancient homeland.
training gear, based on the fact that the amazons were originally nomads (related to the sarmatians and other tribes in the azov/colchis region), and would have been comfortable with the ubiquitous wide pants of the steppes.
and the super-cartoony ww doodles were just that, so no need to get all weepy.
more random designs. the colchians lived on the eastern shore of the black sea -- this was the kingdom of the golden fleece, visited by jason and the argonauts. from ancient times until the 16th century the inhabitants were distinctly "east african" (dark skin, curled hair, tall and slender), and in fact there was a long tradition that they were descended from the army of pharoah sesostris, who invaded the region (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sesostris -- although the article is incorrect; several contemporary egyptian artifacts HAVE been found in asia minor and the black sea coast whose presence might be explained in various ways, but which undermine the article's smug dismissal of sesostris's northern campaigns).
more steppes-influenced designs, and notes on resources available on paradise island and the larger region (i was surprised to find how many mineral resources were available).
various amazon body types. to be perfectly blunt, it irks me that so many people insist that amazon=strength=bulky muscles. amazons are warriors, and raw strength is less important than fighting ability -- bruce lee could've easily flattened andre the giant. or in a more WW-centric example, hippolyta defeated heracles even though he was stronger. (or, in "the iliad" achilles, diometes -- who beat the crap out of ares -- and even hector were better warriors than super-strong ajax.) in fact, the modern obsession with tank-like might is the sort of machoism that amazons oppose. and of course, any one with common sense and a pair of eyes should know that, regardless of diet and exercise, different women (and men) are just born with different body types.
anyhoo...drew this a few weeks ago, lost it, refound it. yay! now i just need to find some also-awol "kula kola" girl drawings (if you have my sketchbooks, you might remember her...) separately, i lost the little notebook that had work for WW and DD2. it' not too bad -- lots of WW ref, but i still have the original sources, or memorized it. ditto for the plot notes (although there is now someone, some- where in mid-long island, who knows all of the spoilers). i miss the DD notes more. most of them i remember, but of course sometimes there are unknowns that you know, and unknowns you don't know, if you know what i mean. especially lots of stuff about the gang's mannerisms, body language etc -- things that i'm always fascinated to see in real people, and want to bring more into my art.
ps - finding toby made me all nostalgic for DD2... here are a few thumbs from the beginning, showing how i work. a lot of times i have the scene running in my head like a film, even a lot of the dialogue. these are actual size(about 2" square each), i like to put an entire scene on a single page if possible, so i can check how it all hangs together. in an odd way, the much much larger WW comic pages/scenes work the same way. you can't tell here, but if you could see the whole page, you'd see that i start on the right side and work leftward (because i'm left-handed, i suppose).
because i am a nerd, i drew up tons of stuff for amazons and paradise island. maps, architecture, dinner menus, the usual junk. anyhoo, this is one doodle i particularly like, a small grove in the island's northern mangrove swamps. the hanging chains are the ones used by herakles, kept here as a reminder of the past. i could write more about it, but who cares?
for the 99.9% of you who don't know, cheetah is one of WWs oldest foes. the "original" cheetah wore a head-to-toe cheetah outfit with ears and a tail, the newer cheetah is basically a sexy (or creepy, depending on your point of view) were-cat. obviously i didn't go either route, opting for a look that might be favored by a villain who wasn't actually a cartoon or a porn star. cheetah is a wealthy, ruthless socialite who engages in sensational crimes for thrills.* but this time her crimes might be bigger than she realized....
i had more to write about cheetah, but then i realized most people probably don't care. and i am sleepy.