This page took a long time to do. It had a a lot of new elements to create: the apartment’s exterior, the hallway, Angel’s redesign and all the characters’ warm clothes. Not to mention the complexity of posing the characters as the carried a very drunk Black Snow.
I spent some time coming up with the look of the apartment building and the hallway. I did a lot of image searching online trying to find exactly what I had in mind for the right feel and tone of the location. If you remember the original apartment from the comic book this exterior is actually in line with the brick building I created way back then. Of course I think this one looks better, as it is much more detailed. It is based on a real (condemned) building. I wanted it to be clear that they lived somewhere pretty crappy that represented how poor they are and the squalor of Detroit. I also wanted it to have some personality.
I liked the original Angel’s classic blond bombshell look, but in our increasing effort to include more ethnic diversity in the comic I thought she should be a Latina this time around (it does make sense with the Angel name, after all). I based her new look on a pretty well known Cuban actress that you may recognize, especially in that last panel where I attempted to do a more realistic drawing. Along with the new ethnicity there are a couple other tweaks to the character, like her new job as a social worker (my tribute to The Maxx) and her more conservative look and lifestyle.
The original character did not have much definition, mostly we just made joke of the fact she was a slut, so it was painful to think of a good complex man like Eric being hopelessly, desperately in love with her. I don’t think Alex knew how to write for her, women have never been his forte. None of the women is the original (only 3 I believe) really were too well defined or got enough play, hopefully we’re fixing that this time around.
She is dressed for warmth, as are the other characters. I really like the idea of seeing them in other clothing to see some more of the personalities, and remind people that Detroit is really cold. I put some real thought into each person’s clothes and what I wanted them to say. Black Snow’s leather jacket and skull cap are meant emphasize his seedy nature (you may remember the skull cap from the “bum” cover of issue 2). If you paid close attention in the first scene at Black Snow’s office you may have noticed a classic detective noir style rain jacket and fedora, but I didn’t want him to be wearing them. I thought it would say more about him if they were just props he kept around the office (plus we have another character to come that will be dressed that way). I also like the idea that he thinks he is cool because he wears a leather jacket.
Eric’s warm clothes are a thick sweater and scarf, which I think make him looked like a dapper dork. He’s a well groomed and fairly cultured nerd, and I wanted to emphasize those elements. Elephant Boy has a thick super warm jacket that he wears over his cape, which sticks out at the bottom. He also has shoes now, not sandals (sadly they don’t make sense in the cold, though I did really like them. Maybe he’ll wear them around the house). He is a slob and doesn’t really care about much, thus the cape thing.
Lightning Lad, unlike the others has cold weather elements to his costume. He has a lightning branded jacket, matching snap-on pants (he had shorts on in the bar, a cowl (similar to the original character design in the comic book) and puts his cape on over his jacket. He comes from some money and has a supportive super hero father, so he has fancier things than the others and a bit more pride in his appearance.
See, I actually sit around and think about this stuff. I don’t know if that’s impressive or pathetic.
Speaking of pathetic, Black Snow’s enhanced drunkenness is shown off again here, as he can’t even walk on his own. We wanted to make it painfully obvious to the reader that he has a drinking problem, as it was never played up enough (in my opinion) in the original. It took some work for me to pose the characters, but I think I did a pretty good job. It was also an important scene in establishing the characters relative heights, as it’s the first time we’ve seen them all standing. Elephant Boy is a large guy, Black Snow is fairly average, Angel is about the same height (which is tall for a woman), Eric is a short slight man and Lightning Lad is still a growing young teen.
Oh yeah, and there was a script to follow and a story to tell.
So all that is why drawing something so simple can be so complex.