|lbd_nytetrayn (lbd_nytetrayn) wrote in scans_daily,|
@ 2012-01-07 01:35 am UTC
|Entry tags:||creator: deptford, medium: webcomic, title: surrealist obituaries|
"Aaaaaand, now a big ol' afterword!
Basically for WHY THE FUCK I decided to spend December doing a Two-Face story arc (which is actually a pretty bewildering life decision if you stop and dwell on it) was the following:
I was on a Batman kick not too long ago, and while Googling the fellow I ended up coming across a series of posts by this guy, in which he posted comics featuring Two-Face and charmingly and expertly nerded out over them. I always kinda liked Two-Face, entirely due to him having perhaps the most striking and effective character design in mainstream comics, so I looked through a couple of them, and realized, wait. He doesn't just have a good design. He's actually got some fuckin' interesting aspects! Looking through comics with Two-Face, I developed two opinions: one, he had TONS of really powerful potential, and two, most portrayals of him were nonetheless terrible.
Still, I was inspired enough to give my own take on the character with that earlier Silver Dollar comic. And people liked it, and it ended up making the rounds in the mainstream comics fan community, which I'd never previously interacted with. People liked it, which was nice, but a few of the more dedicated DC fans pondered the difference in how easy it is to do a static, standalone character study compared to a proper narrative involving the character. It was a fair point, and since I actually DID have a narrative involving him in mind (The Silver Dollar would have just been a scene from it), I decided to accept the challenge.
The story itself had come to me only a few days before drawing The Silver Dollar, and was basically reverse engineered from the powerful notion of Harvey Dent killing himself to save people he cared about from Two-Face after having gone against the coin to rescue them in the first place. Initially, the main person in danger was his ex-wife Gilda/Grace (different comics call her different things) but she's never been a particularly memorable or consistent character, and I ultimately decided introducing a new character to build a relationship with him could actually make for a proper narrative in itself, as opposed to just having a good ending I had no idea how to lead up to.
Firecracker worked well, and having a new character also allowed folks who didn't know Two-Face from anything but the movies or cartoon (who were all pretty different from my mostly comic-based take on him) to get to know him alongside her. Plus, she added some levity and humor to the early scenes, which is good, because establishing some heart and charm and energy in the beginning is better than just starting out DARK AND MOODY, which would just be a turn-off. And if I had used Gilda/Grace instead of Firecracker, that would have been an even bigger risk, because her and Harvey are both kind of sad sacks by most accounts.
Plus Firecracker was new and strange and foreign enough to his current mindset that her presence could conceivably light a firecracker under his ass and annoy him loose from the weird gridlock he's in. And yes, that is actually why I named her Firecracker.
I also want to give kudos to my wife, who came up with the idea for her costume being a marching band uniform, and also helped out immensely with the comic throughout. She's always a good editor/sounding board (if you think what you got was wordy, kneel and thank her for convincing me to cut out as many walls of words as she did), but in this one she helped immensely on a practical and creative level.
ALSO, to answer Seth's question about the first speaker at the support group, that would be a fictionalized/dramatized version of my wife. Our daughter was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palette, and was missing an enormous amount of her lower face, with most of the area between her nostrils and mouth gone and open. Thing is, my wife and I found her adorable. She was cute, dammit! And those close to her agreed. But for the first few months of her life, strangers who came over to see the baby would do a double-take when they saw her face and sometimes not even have the composure to pretend not be startled.
But then, when she underwent surgery to have it fixed at several months-old, my wife had mixed feelings about it. It had to be done, of course, even for practical reasons as basic as being able to eat and talk. But the face she was losing was her face, and it's the face my wife had seen almost non-stop for months, and fallen in love with.
Now, of course, our daughter has had her 'fixed' face for over 4 years, as opposed to the few months before it was repaired, so to say we've gotten used to it would be an understatement. But my wife still remembered how she felt, and it was an interesting perspective.
(Although, she never went to support group or anything)
It's traumatizing for you or someone else to suddenly look different, for reasons far beyond the vain. It's a question of identity and recognition. That, along with the fact that my wife has worked with helping adults who have suffered deformities...some of them truly traumatic and profound...gave her a different and unique view on the impact of Harvey's scarring on a physical, emotional, and psychological level, and her viewpoint helped color my version of the character.
Some comics have portrayed Harvey as being vain for hating the way he looks after becoming Two-Face, but that's not really being fair. It's human nature to be at least SLIGHTLY concerned about one's appearance, and usually much more than just slightly. But just the sheer force of change that it would represent to him and everyone who knew him, along with how agonizing it is on a real level to have a deformity so severe it would disgust most people.
That's tough. That is fucking tough, and it's borderline tacky to treat it too comic-bookily when there are folks who deal with it.
Originally Posted by Seth Marati
Deptford, suppose you had been writing this story for DC. Do you have any ideas about how you would have changed the structure or the pacing from what you put up on your website?
The development of Two-Face and Firecracker's friendship would have gone on more slowly and subtly, being built up through the course of a story arc or two spent together, with this all presumably going on as a sub-arc in the background of a Batman-centric narrative. This would have allowed things to unfold more gradually and organically, as opposed to the 'relatively' (though still WORDY AS HELL) brisk pace that I had to take with establishing and moving things along with this, if I wanted to finish by this Christmas as opposed to next one.
Also, if it were monthly, Firecracker would have been gone for a year in real time before Two-Face hearing the news about the danger she's in.
Also, Two-Face would only be dead for a couple years at most before being brought back to life to supervillain it up again by another writer, because he's too iconic for them to ever actually give a true farewell to regardless of how much it cheapens the dramatic impact of deaths. So...there are certain advantages to this not being 'official'.
Aside from that, and even if it were a proper standalone graphic novel instead of a part of the ongoing Batman soap opera, aside from adjusted pacing certain things would have changed just in terms of fixing limitations. As a couple instances, Two-Face and Warren White would have both had proper posses along with them right in the warehouse, and when shit hit the fan there would have been a big shootout with Two-Face's goons basically just scrambling to buy time while he irritatingly has to figure out how many enemy thugs there are and how many times he has to flip the coin and then ACTUALLY flip the coin, and then finally he would emerge and cleanly and expertly gun down White's gang in a few moment.
Alas, as a husband and father of two busy with the holidays doing a comic that costs me money to make, I realized how difficult and work-intensive it would be to plan out, stage, and draw something that intricate, so I just said, fuck it, Two-Face just brings Firecracker. She was the only one needed for actual narrative purposes, and this whole story arc was a CRAZY amount of effort, so plausibility just had to take a hit on that one.
Also, rather than skipping to the aftermath which is the actual climax of the story, Harvey's last hurrah of heroically stopping Scarecrow and saving everyone without killing anybody would have been portrayed, first just because it would have been a nice action scene, but also because it would give you a bittersweet sense of just how damn good Harvey could be if he wasn't so fucked up. Also, I like Scarecrow, and have a cool portrayal in mind for him, and wish I could have given him proper screentime.
Originally Posted by Bongo Bill
I insist upon EXCORIATING.
So far the responses from 'round the web have mostly been delightful and gratifying, with only a few ambivalent ones and only one excoriating one. But the excoriating one misread almost every moment of the comic and was weighed down with weird and irrelevant baggage and also came in the form of trying to give 'tough love' to an up-and-coming member of the DC comic book fanfiction community.
(Awkwardly, this response also seems to have come from the wife of the guy who runs the Two-Face blog that inspired me to do this arc in the first place! The guy himself, meanwhile, seemed to generally like it but just have a few misgivings.)
It was so bewildering and off-the-mark that I ended up feeling less excoriated and more just grievously misunderstood. I'm kinda due some proper excoriating for things I actually did wrong with the story.
Originally Posted by Dubin
OHMAIGAWD IT'S THE NUTCRACKER FROM THE FIRST CHRISTMAS SPECIAL
And to answer the question asked in the comments section of my site, yes, Firecracker is the little girl from the previous Christmas comic grown up. And yes, she kept the nutcracker, and also her affection for it at least subconsciously inspired her costume and -cracker supervillain name.
And if you REALLY wanted to, you could get pretty far reading metaphor into the details and moments of the last Christmas comic as a symbolic representation of this one."
And for legality, that very Christmas comic:
If you've not seen the comics yet and are curious, just click either the "Deptford" or "Surrealist Obituaries" tags below, since that's just about all we've got for either here.