Strangeways: Murder Moon - Page 01

Strangeways over at Robot 6 continues, though THE THIRSTY takes a break for the next several weeks.  In its place, the first chapter from the first STRANGEWAYS graphic novel, MURDER MOON.

Commentary follows after the jump.

Welcome, everybody, to the commentary track for MURDER MOON, the first of, um, two graphic novels in the Strangeways series.  I’m Matt Maxwell, the creator and writer of the series.  I’ve worked with some talented collaborators that you’ve likely never heard of.  In this case, you’re looking at the art of Luis Guaragna, Argentine artist who’s now abroad (last I heard, Norway) but thanks to the Internet, we can work together, though we’ve never met or even spoken to each other.  I’d prefer to actually talk to him in person, but until I get that teleportation trick down, it’s not gonna happen.

Okay, right off, I can tell you there’s a historical goof, one that I didn’t catch until after the book was to print.  But frankly, it’s not a big deal.  I’m of the school that if it’s not a major deviation, then I’m not going to worry about it too much.  That said, there wasn’t any such thing as the Colorado Territories.  Colorado Territory, yes.  Colorado didn’t become a state until 1876.

Kinda idyllic, ain’t it?  That doesn’t last long.

Thoma and Shian, though they don’t get named just yet, are not members of any particular Nation.  You’ll find out why if you read the whole book, but I don’t want to ruin it just yet.

This scene wasn’t in the original script.  I was told by the first artist on the series that the opening needed more weirdness, more of a hook.  What could be weirder than two humans talking to a wolf?  Well, a lot of things, but this is a kind of restrained weirdness, something to let you know that this wasn’t going to be a typical western, which really, you could have been lulled into believing by the cover.

Does it work?  Hell if I know.  I’ve been told by better writers than myself that editing helps.  I can’t edit my own material worth a darn.  Not yet anyways.

Panel 2 gets us right into the dynamics of the characters.  We establish that they’re related, that they mistrust one another, but yet, there’s something that can bring them all together.  But it’s clear that it only happens because the Wolf, Rale, wants it to.  Thoma, however, is able to stand up for himself and isn’t content to let Rale walk all over the discussion.  Even Shian is able to control Rale in a way that perhaps he won’t let himself admit, using her silence as a tool.

Hmm.  This is a pretty light page at only six panels.  I haven’t counted out an average, but I bet it’s more than that when you look at the whole book.  My first impulse was to cram perhaps too much in, overtly rejecting the moves towards decompressed storytelling in comics.  Remember, this was written in 2003 or so, and this was a topic that was actually discussed seriously.  Well, kinda seriously.

Okay, only nerds really talked about it.

MURDER MOON was also the first time I’d lettered anything.  Okay, not entirely true.  I lettered this parody/preview before then, but that hardly counts.  The typeface chosen was LYBinky, tip of the hat to Uncle Lar for pointing me in that direction.  Hey, at least it’s not Comic Sans.  Rale’s speech was lettered in Tim Sale Brush from Comiccraft, chosen for the spooky, growly quality of the lettering.

I’ll happily answer questions in the comments section below.  At least once I get back to an internet connection.  Though five gets you ten that I don’t get a single comment.

Until then, see you on Wednesday.

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