Monday, February 18, 2013

Azrael Aftermath

For those of you interested in the process of how a comicbook story is put together here is a look at my start to finish approach. This is an Azreal story that appeared in Showcase #94, Sept. 1994….geez, that's almost twenty years ago.

I hadn't realized I worked with Alan Grant until I looked at the credits today. Interesting story. Working off his script I turned the story into a series of thumbnail pages where I worked out the staging, composition, and even a good bit of the lighting. The advantage of working off a script is that you know how much copy is going to cover the drawings, and you have the option/responsibility of placing them in as part of the composition.

Next I did a rough pencil pass at the story and did all the hard work of drawing. If there were photos being used (as in the flashback 'Nam sequences) I just made a notation on the page. I was lucky enough then to be working with a talented lad named Paul Hewett who did all the backgrounds for me on this job. As a reward, I cast him as the young tough in the skull baseball hat that Azrael threatens at the end of the story. (Hey Paul, if you're out there, I hope life is treating you well. Drop by sometime.)I got to play the legless wino veteran, which is as close as I ever got to the army. I seem to never get tired of using myself as a model.

These pages were traced off onto boards and passed onto the inker, Ron McCain. Kenny Bruzenak, one of the truly most talented letterers in the business did his part. I'm not familiar with Dave Hornung, but I really loved the muted coloring on this job, and the monochromatic pages he did with flashbacks. I was quite happy when they reprinted this in the compilation book, Batman Knightfall last year. And hey, I even get a royalty check somewhere down the line.

And a bit of a postscript to this story. After I got the art back from DC, I lent all the material shown on in this blog to a friend in Portland to use in an art class.  I of course forgot about the stuff when I didn't hear back for a long while. Years later when I was working on one of the Narnia movies in New Zealand, I would up at a comic convention in Aukland where I ran into the teacher's ex-husband who was now living in Australia and we chatted a bit. A month of two later after I got back to sunny LA, I get a package one day with all of this artwork in it….a nice little surprise. I've enjoyed looking at it again; if anyone is interested in buying the package as a lot, make me an offer.

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