Page 48 and the Detroit Police

Black Snow: Two Drink Minimum page 48
Black Snow: Two Drink Minimum page 48

So we finally get back to the cop storyline briefly touched upon earlier in the Brad scene. In the original comic book the cops had some play throughout, but they didn’t really get interesting (for me) until they became a central focus in Issue 6 and Detective Redmond arrived. Well, this time around we wanted to kick-start that plot-line.

We never got to see a lot of it play out the first time around, so I’m glad we get this 2nd shot at it. Of course in this Black Snow centric story the cops aren’t exactly taking central focus, but it is a long term story that will have plenty of time to play out. And it’s actually become one of my favorite parts of the overall story since it adds a lot of different tones and perspectives.

So here we are at the Detroit Police Department, back with Brad, and some new (and redesigned old) characters, and a mysterious off-screen speaker. Fans of the original may be able to guess who it is based on the verbose, overbearing, grim tone.

Alex gave me more direction in this scene than usual, describing more specifically what we see and don’t see.  He thought he might have gotten a bit to ambitious, but I think he did a fine job, and it was an interesting change of pace for me.

So we have all these new characters being shown without really being introduced.  I can only wonder what a first time reader will make of this group intro.  Even old fans won’t recognize all these faces.

Speaking of faces, you might have noticed I drew things (and “inked” them) in a bit of a different way.  A bit more realistic, especially the close up of Brad.  Why?  Because I’m always trying to improve my art, and because I thought things should slowly and continually get more real as the story gets more dark and intense.  I especially thought the cops should be portrayed that way to provide added contrast.

You might wonder, could I have always drawn it this way, or did I just get a lot “better” really quickly?  A bit of both really.  I know how to draw cartoons and I know how to draw figures, and sometimes I like to vary which style I’m leaning towards.

Not that I’m some great who knows it all and can just come up with any image with ease.  Quite the contrary.  What you see here is the result of studying several graphic novels I’ve recently read, reading a book about human anatomy for artists, closely looking at a book of referential facial feature photographs, browsing a book on lighting (I’ll buy it at some point), and staring at a ton of photographs and drawings on the internet.

Also, in case you forgot my unwritten rule, I hate virtually everything I draw after about two or three weeks.  So when I looked back at the earlier Brad scene and Issue 6 for character designs I was, of course, disappointed/disgusted with my prior efforts (which I thought were pretty good until I looked back at them now).  As always I used my self loathing to spur myself on towards improvement.  I figure if you are going to be negative, try to do it in a positive way.

So while I’m sure in a month’s time I’ll look back at this page and cringe, but for the time being I’m happy with it.

Of (possibly) interesting note, I drew the pages for this scene completely out of order, working on them all simultaneously.  It’s an approach I haven’t done much of for awhile, lately doing things page by page.  But having the luxury of (relative) time I prefer to plot and draw the scene as a whole.

Something else interesting about the writing here, is that we are explaining the “world” and it’s history a lot more than I think we ever have.  We haven’t usually been very good about fleshing out and explaining the “rules” of our superheroes and their powers or things like that, mostly because I think Alex isn’t particularly interested in/devalues those more traditional superhero comic book elements.

So it is something rather special to see him tackle a scene like this and establish things more.  I know it was a challenge for him and he spent some real time coming up with it.

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