Page 21 and the Police

Black Snow: Two Drink Minimum page 21
Black Snow: Two Drink Minimum page 21

So we have the start of a new scene, and it’s the cops. Remember when I talked about an improvement in the writing and trying new things. This page is a great example. Why? Because we are basically jumping into the middle of a scene in progress.

Not the most revolutionary idea in the world, I know. In fact it’s often taught that you should trim down the beginning and end of a scene. But it’s big for us. Alex has a tendency to write scenes in a fairly drawn out manner. That’s his natural style and I think it works well for certain things, especially inept mundane comedy scenes. Like the bar we just finished. But here’s something we are trying a lot harder to do this time around: Focus the comedy.

Not every scene needs to be funny. Not every character should evoke amusement in the reader. We really want the comedy to come primarily from Black Snow and his friends, and how clueless they are. For that to really work the people around them should know what’s going on and have their stuff together.

For instance, the cops are being played a lot more seriously this time. Lets talk a moment about the cops in the original comic book. Firstly, they were around for awhile but most readers seemed to ignore or forget them. Why? Probably because their story was slowly built up and not tied too directly to the main story. That is until issue 6 when they became a central focus with the arrival of Redmond and the formation of their team. Then they became interesting.

We wanted to start them interesting this time and jump right into the thick of it. No screwing around. And I’m glad. Brad, whom you see on this page with an as yet unnamed chief of police, was one of my favorite characters that was only just starting to shine when the comic books ended. Hopefully he’ll shine from the beginning here.

I think he’s one of the more complex interesting characters we have, as he’s got a lot going on and some real dimension to him. If you read the original then you know a bit about him and his relationship to other characters, if not wait and it will be revealed in the story. Even if you did read the original you never got to see where we were headed with him and where he’d ultimately end up, and that’s something I really want to get to this time.

I gave him a bit of a redesign here, most notably changing his hair. It’s darker (to make something more clear and natural later in the story) and it’s got a bit more style to it, where his original was kind of a really conservative 70s throwback mixed with a Ken doll. We even had Redmond make a joke about how ordinary it was. I also greyed up the temples a little. His clothes were changed a bit to be more traditional, and I gave him the classic gun shoulder holsters. I really like his almost cliche 50s-esque tough cop aesthetic.

Obviously I chose to play up his angry side here, as he is a man with a definite temper problem. A bit about the chief. I decided to completely redo the character. Funny that he looks a bit like the old chief, but black. The old chief was me drawing Ed Asner. In fact my original design looked so much like him I had to change him to looked different with things like the mustache. This chief is based on a real former Detroit chief of police. A recent chief who resigned in disgrace and controversy, if you’d like to figure it out.

It just so happened that he looked kind of similar to my modified Ed Asner, which I didn’t realize until I was pretty far into drawing the page. As for the office, it’s based on photos I found of real police chief offices, and I really like how it turned out. I love the overall feel, as I think we’re really hitting that classic black and white detective noir look now.

Look for the next page soon, maybe even before APE this weekend!

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