I just really love this scene. I’ve talked a bit before about how Alex and I work as a team, and that he gives me quite a lot of freedom to interpret. This scene was a bit more comedic the exact way it was written, but I thought it worked better to focus on the drama and make it as epic as possible. It was written with a lot more description of people’s silly reactions, and instead I went with wider shots that really showed off the area and focused on the tough bravado of the characters involved.
Not that there isn’t some comedy still there as well. Like Black Snow’s retaliation to the bum here. As I mention when discussing the last page, I know language like that is a sensitive issue for some people, but we felt it was used well here. And I’ve said from day 1 that Black Snow is clearly not meant to be a role model. He is a fairly ignorant man with a lot of problems, bad habits and a worse temper.
Flipping off the bum as he walked away was my idea. The script called for him to walk away with a swagger, which I found a bit tricky, until I got the idea that he’d be making this rude gesture as he did it. We are definitely seeing a gruff side of him here. Maybe he projected street persona.
The real story of this page, though, is the introduction of Hawaiian Mike. Readers of the original comic book may recall the character, but he has gone through a significant redesign here. We always had some real plans for this character, but they were slow burning plans with late payoff, and you only just got to see the beginnings of them. So I’m really excited that we are finally going to be able to tell his story, as it’s one of the more interesting ones.
And I really love his new look. I wanted to bum him up a bit, and give him a more realistic cold weather look that still had a bit of Hawaiian flair.
The story around this character’s creation has always seemed to interest people and cause some confusion, so I’ll lay it out for you. In my teens I was fairly obsessed with Hawaii, and owned a HUGE collection of Hawaiian shirts, a Hawaii themed pork pie hat I would occasionally don, a bedroom full of Hawaiian memorabilia and Tikis, and a slick pair of shades. If memory serves it was at a Hawaiian themed dance wear I was all decked out, even wearing a lei, where I was pretty popular (I picked up a girlfriend!) that I first had people start calling me Hawaiian Mike.
It was a nickname that stuck for some years, and was even briefly used as my D.J. name on a college radio station. There were some people who only knew me by the nickname, as that’s how I was sometimes introduced (mostly at parties).
So there is some truth that the character was originally based upon myself in some fashion. Why or how we decided to write him into issue 1 (on the phone) I do not recall, but we thought it was a pretty good idea. So my persona was added to the comic as a snitch with questionable motives, then he took on a life of his own.
But no, this redesign is not based on how I look now or anything like that. I’m rarely called Hawaiian Mike these days, my collection of shirts has dwindled to a few choice items, though I do still have a lot of memorabilia and books (mostly boxed up at the moment). My obsession shifted towards pirates,, and for a few years the two coincided until pirates won out and I became Pirate Mike (something every single car I’ve owned has proudly displayed). Fun fact, some of the character’s names (especially their last names) are based on famous pirates.
So these days you’re more likely to see me wearing a pirate T-shirt, some baseball cap and old world gangster style bowling shirt then my Hawaiian gear, but Hawaiian Mike will always live on here in the comic.
By the way, I loved having him by the fire and tried to really draw something special with the limited light source surrounded by the overwhelming shadow. I’m really proud of the way it turned out. I also worked a bit harder on creating accurate perspective, and I think it shows.
Also, I love the back and forth between Black Snow and Hawaiian Mike. Get really excited for the next page, where I turn everything you see here up to 11!