I think this is a pretty solid page. I like that subtle background on the bottom panel, and the back-lighting. This page is really where I thought Eric crossed a line to being too whiny, and I drew it with that in mind. He looks pretty pathetic in those top panels, and I really like how disgusted Jon is in that first panel (can you tell who his face was based on there? Hopefully not.).
I was really conscious of trying to create a variety of comparable panel sizes in this scene. I was inspired by something I read in the artist’s preface of one of the Batman books I read recently (can’t recall which, Maybe Tim Sale on Long Halloween?), but it basically talked about his obsession with contrast, and how that translated to always trying to have drastically differing panel sizes on the same page. And I liked the results.
Funny, I read some of Frank Miller’s Batman work and The Watchmen around the same time, and they regularly take the opposite route with rigid grid-like pages of panels. In many ways they were more about the writing and theme then the art (ironic considering where Miller’s career would go) so I don’t think they cared if a page layout was boring.
So I’ve been putting more thought then ever into my layouts and trying to be creative. This one isn’t overly creative or exciting, but much more-so than it would’ve been if I gave it no thought and drew similarly sized panels. Since I’ve gotten a break from the strips it’s allowed me to really focus on story telling, rather than getting a “joke” across or something. They are really very different tasks.
As I mentioned in my last TDM post, the woman talk is basically exclusively written by Alex. He is still single and always ready to mingle, so he has a lot more experience in the dating area. I was fortunate to meet my wife at a young age and it was love at first site (for me anyway, it took a few years to win her over). We’ve been together since senior year of high school, so my dating variety all happened in my teens.
So Alex handles the love struck, sad drama which is a major part of Eric’s character. I think it’s good because it gives the book some more depth and variety. I also like when characters don’t get along (much more interesting), so Jon and Black Power are fun foils.
Speaking of Black Power, you might wonder what inspired his look. It was my fond memories of stupid arcade fighting games from the 90s that always seemed to have a bizarrely dressed black character. In particular I believe I was thinking of a game called Eternal Champions, which I barely played but was always struck by the odd character designs. I didn’t go back and look at it or anything, just worked from long imprinted memories of my youth.
I like Jon talking about a poser. You don’t get much poser talk these days, but I remember when that was the buzzword of the 90s punk world. Btw, I wouldn’t trust Jon either.