I’ll tell you off the bat, this was a pretty easy and quick page for me. When I initially laid out this scene I thought of going to back to 4 rows of panels for some of these pages, much like I did earlier in the bar scene, because it is a little long and a lot of talk. I decided against it because I was hoping I could make this on the surface seemingly mundane side character conversation interesting, even exciting.
Black Snow has always been an ensemble story and the “side” characters are fairly prominent, even in this more main character focused revamp. They aren’t just throwaway nobodies used for exposition or to create setting. They have value. And I’m trying to show that in this scene by giving them some real personality.
I spent some time going back and forth on the character designs of Kurt and Donald, and ended up with characters fairly different from what I first imagined. But I’m quite pleased with them both. In the past working on the comic book I’ll admit that I was sometimes bored drawing scenes like this, especially the middle of the scene, especially in the middle of the story. Anyone can make an exciting beginning and ending, but the stuff in between, now there’s the real challenge.
That really changed for me when I worked on Issue 6 (which focused on the cops, who usually caused my boredom) and started to really explore playing with the nuance of characters and building up depth. So I can happily tell you I am not bored doing these types of scenes anymore. They don’t feel like a chore, I have fun with them.
And that’s the real trick, to make it all fun. Storytelling isn’t always easy, and if you aren’t excited by your story how can you expect a reader to be? I’m very excited about every aspect of this story and look forward to sharing more of it with you.
Overall I think this is just a really solid page, aesthetically. It’s nothing too flashy, but it was not meant to be. I like every panel of it and the characters’ body language. I like the close-up of Donald at the bottom, which reminds me of a celebrity (which I did not base him on), and I really like the top panel of Kurt looking off into his own mind. That’s something we’ve done with characters many times, in different ways, usually for comedy, but I think this is the best time. There’s just something in that old man’s eyes that I think really tells the story I was going for.