Strangeways: Murder Moon - Page 03

Cowboys make their appearance in the cowboys and werewolves western/horror story MURDER MOON.

Commentary after the jump.

Finally!  Cowboys!  Well, coachmen, at any rate.  They’re almost like cowboys.

Truthfully, I had a lot of issues with this page.  Dialogue placement mostly.  I didn’t want to lose any of it, but fitting it and being able to follow it was a big headache.  Only seven panels, but five of them are in about half of the page.  That’s madness.  And it’s a pretty dialogue-heavy page too.  I’d just come off a screenwriting seminar and unfortunately I’d retained habits that work decently on the screen but make for jammed pages.

The back and forth works great when you don’t have a space limitation.  I could see dragging this to a second page, but I had a lot of ground to cover and asking artists to draw talking heads for page after page is unfair.  And it’s boring.  But writers often like to talk stuff out, so you have to balance the two.  I still need to keep that in mind.

Of course, the first time we hear Collins say anything (though the balloons don’t have a tail pointing to him), he’s not only swearing, but borderline blaspheming.  There’s a point to that, but believe it or not, I’ve heard retailers complain about comics that bear this same level of language, specifically the blaspheming part.  Community standards and all that, which I notice, but wasn’t going to change, particularly in a book that wasn’t ever aimed at little varmints.  Or marmots, or whatever.

The towns mentioned, but for Silver Branch, by the by, are all places named in Tom Waits songs.  But you all knew that already, right?

So back to the dialogue.  Again, there’s a lot going on in here.  We have to establish Collins right out of the gate, establish that the driver, Webster, is pushing things hard, that he’s on edge.  And really both men are, but for different reasons.  Collins is on edge because of something that he’s carrying with him, and Webster is because they’re out in this particular area after dark.  And additionally, that there’s a concrete reason for doing so, even it’s a little nebulous at the moment.

You can choose to connect it to the Wolf’s impending hunt/rampage from the previous page or not.  But it’ll be made explicit soon enough.

In that second to last panel, I love the use of the word “worry”.  We don’t get to use that enough.

Looking at the art on these pages, it’s amazing for me to see how much Luis progressed.  Not that these pages are bad.  Rough perhaps, and a little cluttered.  But as the book progressed, I was stunned to see his development as an artist.  If you’d seen the pages for “Red Hands” like I have (that being the second feature in THE THIRSTY) you could be forgiven for suspecting that they were by different artists.

Oh, that lettering…  I better not look at it any longer, else I’ll end up redoing it all.  But I can’t justify the time expenditure.  You can see how I sorta overdid the “rounded corner/picture tube” shape that I read about, probably in Starkings’ lettering guide.  Don’t blame him for my indiscretions.  They’re mine alone.

Back on Monday.

Electric Warriors #3

More in Comics