Page 67 and Child Sidekicks

Black Snow: TDM page 67
Black Snow: TDM page 67

I’ve never really understood the whole child sidekick phenomenon.  It doesn’t really make any sense.  Why would you endanger a child in that way?  It really shows a dark, narcissistic side of the superheroes.

I’m pretty sure the whole concept started as a way to appeal to young comic readers and make them feel a connection to the story, like they could be a part of it.  I see the logic in that kind of decision from a marketing perspective, but it is still really stupid if you are just looking at it as part of the story, which is how readers should be looking at it.

These teenage helpers and their questionable relationships to their heroes have been mocked pretty mercilessly for years now, as that kind of thing is pretty odd in today’s more politically correct culture.

So why does Black Snow even have Lightning Lad?  I don’t remember much about when we came up with the character, but a lot of what we are doing is playing with and exploring the tropes of the superhero genre in what is hopefully a somewhat unique and entertaining way.  Sidekicks are a major part of comic book superhero history, and I think we’d be remiss to ignore it entirely, even if the whole concept is rather stupid.

All that being said, I’ve always felt some sort of affinity for Lightning Lad.  He’s easy to feel sorry for, being saddled with such a loser for a mentor.  Also, when we created him we knew he was going to die, which he did at the end of the big fight in issue 5.  His death was to be a central plot point in the overarching story.  It’s weird when you know a character is going to die the whole time you are working on them, much like poor Kurt on the last page.

Not that I’m saying Lightning Lad is going to die this time around.  You’ll have to wait and see if you want to know that.

Anyway, now to the page at hand.  I really like the way it turned out, all the way around.  Working this more realistic style has really pushed me to up my drawing abilities, and I think it’s helped me grow a lot as an artist.  Not that everything here is amazing, but I do think it is a big step forward from the way I was drawing similar fight pages in the past.

This is also a nicely choreographed page, and unlike a like of the fight pages that is because Alex laid it out very nicely in the script.  This scene actually has him describing things a lot more than any of his writing prior, and I think it shows a lot of growth on his part, especially when compared to how he wrote action in the comic books.

The last panel is my favorite.  I think it looks really painful and captures Lightning Lad’s youth better than usual.  It is hard for me to draw young people.  I like drawing older people because they have so many flaws and details in their faces from a lifetime of experience.  It makes them interesting.  Young people are still shiny and new, no wear and tear yet.  That panel, in my opinion, is the best I’ve done yet as far as youth is concerned.

That’s a nice first panel as well.  Classic scared woman.  And I really like the way it looks in black and white.  Sometimes it feels like I’m tapping into the aesthetic of a classic film, which I love.  It’d be nice if I could do that more.

So Redemption vs. Lightning Lad…not a very fair fight.  And it shouldn’t be.  Like I said last time, these fights are a bit more real, which means they are fairly brutal and short.  Oh, and I think I did a nice job with capturing the setting,  making it appear fairly detailed even though I was using a pretty minimalistic approach.

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