Page 66 and Violent Death

Black Snow: Two Drink Minimum page 66
Black Snow: Two Drink Minimum page 66

Damn!  What a beast of a page.  Not in a “this was difficult to draw” sort of way, but in a primal violence popping out at you sort of way.

Anyone who has read our comics for any length of time could probably tell you that action is not our forte.  Indeed, we tend to stick with the more banal side of everyday life and focus on the humor of a situation.  This is not always the case though, as we did have a number of brutal fights and disturbingly violent moments in the original Black Snow comic books (like Lightning Lad getting his finger bitten off and later being killed, Angel being shot in the face and killed, Eric being mutilated in a fight, Van Buren killing Hendrix with his powers, etc.), and let’s not forget Redemption tortured and killed someone way back in the second scene of this very book.  I tend to forget it.

Here’s the thing about our violence, we want to be careful with it.  If Alex was writing things by himself you might not have any violence.  Why?  Because it is a ridiculously overdone part of the comic medium.  There’s just an overload of violence, especially in the superhero genre.  This over-saturation weakens the impact.  That is something we try to avoid.

We want fights to mean something, and to have consequences.  If people fight they should have injuries that impact their health afterward.  If someone dies we don’t want the reader to roll their eyes and wonder how they will be brought back to life like every other comic book (OK, we did bring Angel back to life, but we were going to have her resurrection include many side effects as a result).  Even Bucky didn’t stay dead!

So we try to use violence sparingly.  Also, Alex has a pretty hard time writing any type of fight scene.  Typically he leaves the details up to me.  Issue five, which was almost all fight, had a particularly thin script that I had to flesh out.  Which is all fine by me, as I have no problem writing out a fight.  I enjoy violence in my entertainment and know how to orchestrate a fun choreographed action scene.

This scene, and particularly this page, was supposed to be shocking.  It was written to come out of no where and happen very suddenly.  It was not written with great detail.  I believe it said to make it “really fucked up” and suggested something like ripping Kurt’s throat out.  It also had a detail about showing the broken video camera on the ground, which would have been pretty symbolic and interesting, but I really wanted to drive home that fucked up aspect and opted for the close up of dead Kurt and his wound to make sure the reader understood what they had just seen.  I added the detail of the broken glasses as something of a substitute.

I do sort of wish I worked a falling camera into the attack panel.  Oh well.  Hindsight, as they say.  I made Redemption a little buffer and more defined in that panel.  It wasn’t really by accident, but nothing I thought out too deeply.  Basically all action in comics is between muscle bound superheroes and villains, which has some definite influence on the way I draw my action.  It is easier to really show what is going on with the action by over emphasizing the movement and physicality.

I don’t have a ton of experience drawing action in a storytelling format.  Like I said, our characters are usually just talking.  The thing with talking is it is something easy for me to envision because it’s basically what I do everyday in real life.  I don’t get into epic battles of intense violence everyday.  For those it helps me to study how others have drawn it, look at violent photos online, pull from my viewership as a fan of pro wrestling, and of course add my own imagination.

Here’s some trivia for you.  The neck wound was inspired by the award winning make-up from American Werewolf in London, one of my favorite movies (that does an amazing job of combining genres, much like we are always trying to do).

So I hope this page startled you, and made you feel you had just witnessed something that was really fucked up.  Redemption is a stone cold killer, and these clowns are in way over their heads.  I’m sad to see Kurt go, in his brief existence he really showed some fun personality and grew on me (and Alex even more-so).  Hopefully he grew on you too, and that made his death all the more upsetting.

I also hope this also really drove home the point that this comic is more than just a comedy, and anything can happen in it.

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