This is a really fun page. I really enjoyed focusing on the characters’ interactions and emotions. Killingbear’s sleazy, overbearing, overly confident drunkenness mixed with his imposing physical stature. Diminutive Eric and his naivety, fears and insecurity. And the valiant, good natured Black Power.
Good times. I love the top panel. Everything about it really. The posing, the expressions, the dialogue. It really comes together well. Too an extent I think the whole page just comes together exceptionally well. It just works.
That slimy smile of Jon’s whilst speaking of taking advantage of drunken ladies. The dramatic shadowing of the stare-down between the two big men. This feels like a real showcase page, which is a very pleasant surprise. I didn’t expect much when I read it, and I consider the previous bar scene to be the weakest scene in the story thus far.
So why would this seemingly mundane page jump out at me? Like I said, it just works exceptionally well, in my opinion.
In a related note, Jon Killingbear is quite the character. When we first came up with Black Snow, a bit over a decade ago, we wrote out a bunch of character names for ideas. Many of them were superheroes based on some country/ethnicity or animal. That was where Jon Killingbear was born. I drew a bad character rendition for the website with a brief bio I made up, and there he sat for years. I think he was mentioned in passing once or twice in the comic, but didn’t show up until issue 4. I felt his defining moment was pointing towards Eric and saying “Groovy” at the end of his debut scene.
His 70s look, aloof attitude and cocky swagger, somehow it all just came with him. It wasn’t part of the original character idea, which was basically just a Native American superhero, who was supposed to be a joke really. The comedy stemming from a traditional Indian living with one foot in modern society. Basically what Kannibal Karl became.
So I like Jon. He’s a dick, but he’s entertaining. And he’s not your stereotypical Native American depiction, well aside from being a drunk. Btw, speaking as a man who has lived in America all his life, in an area that used to be heavily populated by “Indians” (see California’s history of Spanish Missions), I’m not sure I’ve ever met a full blooded Native American. I believe my grammar school friend Ryan Goodhart may have been, but no one else comes to mind, and if he was we never talked about it.
I admit to feeling the white man’s guilt when it comes to the Native American people, and feel some innate sense of American shame. Strange. Also, in case you were wondering, Native American’s did have a very rich history in the Detroit area as well. Several tribes lived in the area, and they actually still have a fairly strong presence with several active society groups. So Jon’s inclusion in the comic is not quite so absurd as you may have thought.
A last bit of food for thought, is Jon actually a superhero this time around?