TDM Page 58 and Superheroes

Black Snow: TDM page 58
Black Snow: TDM page 58

I’m really excited about this page.  If you’ve read any of my recent posts then you’ll know this is the beginning of an epic scene that will have some major impact on the story.  A lot of what we’ve been building towards is about to go down.

As mentioned by Lightning Lad here, they are following up on a tip from Hawaiian Mike which is supposed to concern someone in the Van Buren gang.  Not to be a spoiler, but if you’ve really read everything since the beginning you may be able to figure out who they will be running into.  Actually now that I think about it, that may not be entirely true.  Best I stop there, lest I say too much.  Forget I mentioned it.

Why not just delete it?  Because I like the stream of conscious style of writing and think it helps you, the reader, connect to what I am saying.  Almost a conversation, though fairly one-sided.  Remember a couple weeks ago when I wrote writing is hard?  Well writing blogs is easy.

So let’s talk more about this actual page, as there is a lot going on here.  We see a very different Black Snow here.  For one he is afraid, and that is not an emotion we’ve seen him display openly before.  He’s in a terrible part of Detroit and out of his comfort zone.

I think that top panel does a really nice job of showing us just what a bad Detroit neighborhood looks like.  You get a good feel for the atmosphere, largely because it incorporates a real photo.  Not just any photo, but one which I think accurately demonstrates the qualities of a bad area in a way that is very much exclusive to Detroit.  Dirty patches of snow (black?), boarded up vacated houses, chain link fences, abandoned trucks and basically everything is falling apart.

Btw, Black Snow is driving a 1908’s Buick Skylark, which is kind of the ultimate Detroit vehicle.  That was something I decided when we started writing this revamp.  I think it suits him really well and adds to the whole feeling of the character.

You might wonder why Black Snow is afraid here but wasn’t at the bum camp.  I figure the bum camp was closer to where he lives and he knew Lightning Lad had been there several times before without problem.  Here he is going some place that he doesn’t really know and it is famed for the incredible amount of violent crime that occurs there.

You don’t see a lot of superheroes ever getting scared.  They all pretty much take everything in stride.  I think Black Snow’s fear is really humanizing and adds some appeal to what can be a rather unlikeable character.  It also really reminds us that he doesn’t know what he is doing.

The way this page was written it just described the neighborhood and the characters’ emotions, so I decided to use the freedom to add some things.  You may notice the “Later” label and recall that I haven’t been using labels for most of my scene changes.  I thought it was a good idea here since we were going from a Black Snow scene straight to another Black Snow scene.  That is fairly unusual for us, as we make an effort to have scenes jump between characters.

None of the panels were really described in the script and I thought it would be cool to be looking through the window, kind of like an exterior camera riding outside the car.  That’s part of the fun of drawing stories, you can choose whatever shots you want.  Much harder to do when filming.

Black Snow looks a little different here, with his hair slick back into his widow’s peak, his face clean shaven (including slight skin swelling and a cut since he hadn’t used a razor in a long time) and for the first time ever…a cape!

Why?  I thought he would be dressed up because he thinks this is his big chance, as he’ll have media coverage and the potential to stop a crime (remember when he called Marie and talked to Kurt about a scoop?).  He is doing his best to dress like a “real” superhero.  You may have wondered in the past (I have at least)  why Black Snow wears a tight costume with gloves and boots.  It doesn’t really befit his grumpy, sloppy lifestyle.  Well, I figure before he became the jaded failure we know him to be, he was a happy young wannabe who tried to dress the part, and what we see him wear now are the remnants of that.

But here he is really trying to play the part because he wants some fame and success.  Another reason he is scared; he’s nervous.  This is a guy who just hasn’t been able to succeed at anything driving into a scary place, getting ready to take on members of a gang well above his pay grade and the whole thing is going to be documented by a news crew.  I’d be nervous too.

Be excited, because soon you will see where this much hyped scene is heading!

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