Doug Murray, the writer of “Savage Red Sonja: Queen of the Frozen Wastes,” stopped by to provide some commentary for issue #2 of the Dynamite Entertainment series, which was released last week.
“Savage Red Sonja: Queen of the Frozen Wastes” #2 Commentary by Doug Murray.
I’ve been blessed to work with some of the best artists in the comic book field. Now, when I say that, understand that I may mean something different then you may think.
Great comic book artists are not necessarily those who can draw (or paint) the most attractive pictures. Sure, single illustrations are great-and important in selling any comic these days – that’s why cover artists are so well paid. But the most important thing in a comic is story telling and an artist who can tell a story clearly – while still keeping his work looking great – is what I consider great!
Homs has shown me that he is one of those great artists and I’ll tell you why. When I put together the story of the “Queen of the Frozen Wastes,” one of my basic concepts is that the Queen herself, although first appearing as a beautiful human-seeming woman, is really a force of nature – something that’s been around for a very long time. Now, I could have devoted several pages to explaining that, but ideally, in a comic, you let the artist take care of that chore.
In this case, I asked Homs to make sure that all the incarnations of the Queen shared something in common – a set of pupil-less glowing eyes. I specified white as I wanted to reserve red for the Yeti if necessary.
Homs used the glowing eyes (yellow, in the final version), but also designed the Queen’s face as being somewhat angular – making it obvious, by the images alone, that she went through an evolution of sorts before Sonja ever met her.
I also wanted to maintain Sonja’s essential vitality and power – hard to do when she’s basically a captive and a victim for the better part of 4 issues of story! Still, it can be done – but again, it takes an artist who can do facial expressions that actually show some emotion.
If you’ll note Sonja’s face on this page (illustrate with scan #3), you’ll see that she shows anger, fury, and, finally, a really deep spirit. Perfect for the character. Sonja never gives up – something that’s important to the character in general and for our story.
It’s difficult to do a stand-along mini-story within an existing series. You have to spend some time introducing a bunch of characters and situations that you can’t pay off until the end of the series. It helps to have an artist that allows you to do it right – letting the images tell the story and the dialogue explore the character. Homs has done a really fine job here, even showing us my little hint of lesbianism between Sonja and the Queen (scan #4). Perhaps I’ll explore this a little further in issue #3!