TDM Page 39 and Controversy

Black Snow: Two Drink Minimum page 39
Black Snow: Two Drink Minimum page 39

I love this page.  I think I’ve fallen into a new groove here, and I’m having a lot of fun with this more gritty, dramatic style.  Really heading towards that noir goal that I’ve always had.

This page features things that I haven’t really done much of in some time, aside from the last page: silhouettes, hatching, heavy “inking”, a wider variety of shot lengths and more attempt at depth and perspective.

I also like that this scene has already demonstrated a new dynamic between Black Snow and Lightning Lad; basically that one handles things like a professional while the other acts like a moody amateur.  A very odd reversal of the dynamic for a superhero and sidekick, if you are going to look at the traditional roles they play in comics.

Kind of your classic by the books cop matched with a wild rule breaker partner, though the rookie is the one playing it straight here.  He also seems to have tapped into the Detroit underground better than Black Snow, despite being in the area only for a short time while Black Snow has lived here all his life.

Basically I think we are starting to (if we haven’t already) get the idea that Black Snow just doesn’t know what he’s doing and has given up in a lot of ways, while Lightning Lad has all the tools to succeed and a bright future ahead of him.

That is quite a gross bum I drew.  He’s certainly no good old time hobo like Happy in DMC.  Sadly he is not so unlike the many bums I see on a fairly regular basis in life.

I like that this bum seems to dislike superheroes, as I think a bum really would.  What have the superheroes done for them?  Nothing.  They are still barely scraping by and no one is “saving” them.  Usually if superheroes have any involvement at all they are hurting the homeless for committing petty crimes.  Black Snow has a lot more in common with the homeless then most heroes, and I hope it is an aspect we’ll get to explore more in depth at some point.  And I don’t mean that to be foreshadowing.

But let’s talk about the elephant in the room here, we just used the word faggot, and not in a particularly politically correct way.  Black Snow has always been peppered with some swearing here and there, but we’ve always tried to avoid getting too crass.  In fact, I’ve toned things down that were written with more harsh language at times.  I don’t like bad language just for the sake of it, it’s a lazy crutch bad writers use to try and make their stuff more edgy and entertaining.

But I do think it is sometimes necessary.  We are dealing with adults here, and adults living in an incredibly tough city no less.  You walk doewn those streets and you’ll here a lot worse than this.  Hell, you’ll probably here worse than this on any public school playground.

But we aren’t just talking about a curse word here, we’re talking about a sensitive “hateful” word being used in a way that organizations like GLADD are trying to eliminate.  So why did we use it?  I was with Alex when we wrote this and it was actually my idea, because I thought it was fairly shocking, entertaining and added a new level of realism and darkness to the comic.

I know we’ve poked a bit of fun at gays in the past, but that is not what this is about at all.  I (and Alex) have nothing against gays.  Much to the dismay of the gay community faggot is commonly used as a derogatory slur, with a variety of hurtful meanings, but most having nothing to do with sexual orientation.  It’s just a fact of life at this point.

It happens all the time, even in the ultra liberal, gay friendly San Francisco bay area.  For whatever reason it seems to happen to Alex pretty commonly (though he is quite the ladies man in truth).  So are we here to perpetuate stereotypes?  No.  But we’re not here to create role models either.  Look at who is saying this here, a filthy angry uneducated bum.  I wouldn’t call him a role model for the kids.

And I’ve always said Black Snow should not be anybody’s role model.  It says Anti Hero on his shirt for a reason.  The dude has a lot of personal problems and characters flaws.

So before you send any hate mail or think us too ignorant, consider the context in which we use our colorful language and the reasons we may be doing it.  Then send your hate mail.

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