Pages 27 & 28 and Shadowy Men in Tall Towers

Black Snow: Two Drink Minimum page 27
Black Snow: Two Drink Minimum page 27
Black Snow: Two Drink Minimum page 28
Black Snow: Two Drink Minimum page 28

I’m very proud of these two pages, and this scene as a whole. This is just half of it. I think this is some of Alex’s best writing, and I really wanted to draw it right.

I put a lot of time into the setting and character designs. I really wanted to create an intense atmosphere to match the tone of the writing. I wanted to come up with a real life Detroit “Van Buren Tower”, and after some research found that the Penobscot Building was perfect. Look at how menacing it is! And it’s a true landmark.

Finished in 1928, at 47 stories it was the tallest building in Michigan, and the 8th tallest in the world! It is positioned in the heart of downtown and overlooks the city. That window view you see is based on a real view from the building. I wanted to be as authentic as possible.

I also spent some time really coming up with the look of the interior, which Alex described as “huge and opulent and almost vaguely hedonist”. I went through several different styles before I came up with this one, which I think suits the mood perfectly, especially when darkened to look so sinister. I really wanted to pay special attention to the lighting and do something really in the style of noir. Something striking and dramatic.

I had one of my most annoying experiences while working on page 27, my Photoshop file was damaged after it didn’t save properly, and the last recovery file I could find was old, so I had to redraw a lot. It was crushing. I spent a lot of time trying to fix the data, but nothing worked. Then I really had to force myself to just do it all again. It took some real self motivating. And I was pissed, because I thought the original stuff looked better.

Oh well, looking at it now I think I did a really good job.

It was fun to draw Redemption again, as there is just something about the character that jumps off the page. I also like the new characters we see here. Fans of the comic book may remember that we never saw Van Buren, he was always in silhouette or extreme close up.

Why did we show him this time? Honestly, we didn’t really have a reason for hiding his face the first time around. There was no big reveal. I just pictured him looking sort of like Lex Luther. Alex thought he should look like my dad. So this time we’re trying to do things that have reasons!

History buffs will notice that I based H.P. Van Buren’s look heavily on his presidential namesake. I love history, and loved the man’s look, as he has a dark quality and a very commanding presence. So it just fit, and may be explained later in the story.

Fans of the original comic book will also notice that Calhoun got a major redesign, again based on his on his Vice- Presidential namesake. I was never to sold on the original Calhoun design, and didn’t realize he was going to be such a major character, so I was happy to change it. And John C. Calhoun looked like a total freak! The guy looks insane in every painting I find, so it seemed like a fine fit.

You also see a brand new character, Victor Van Buren, H.P.’s son. I wanted a real young, snobbish, douchebag, yuppy look for him, and I think I found it. He is a fun contrast to the old fashioned looks of the others.

So overall I thought it came out really good, and I look forward to finishing the scene, which I think will be fairly quickly.

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