Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Fogtown pages 22-23

Page 22 is part of the sequence that introduces three main characters: The Blood of the Lamb Ministry (BotLM), Father Fischer, and Greg, a semi-reformed teen hustler. The BotLM building was based on a number of buildings and locations I photographed while researching the North Beach district. Father Fischer is based directly on the author, Andersen Gabrych, at his insistence. (I was more inclined to base Father Fischer on a middle aged Spencer Tracy). Greg is an adolescent version of James Dean.

Andersen originally pitched Fogtown to DC/Vertigo as a 12 issue, regularly formatted mini-series, meaning that it would be 144 regular size pages, averaging six panels per page. They decided to publish the novel through their newly conceived Vertigo Crime imprint. This meant that it would be trimmed to 170 pages, averaging four panels per page. Much expositional information was lost, along with many establishing vistas of the city in transition. When I had to make a choice between the city and the human characters, I usually chose the humans.

Also, the editorial mandate to limit the panel count to four per page sometimes had to be circumvented simply to convey the plot and emotional points Andersen and I were trying to make. Page 23 is a case in point; panels needed to be added simply to explain the characters and milieu.

Page 23 is also exemplary of how my initial attempts to be gestural didn't serve the artwork. I avoided using a straightedge while inking the Sentinel building, resulting in a distractingly crude look. This was done before I started working with my assistant, Lee-Roy Stephen Lahey, and could assign the drawing of tedious detail to him.

Page 23 introduces Bone, Frank's rough-trade paramour and (seen in silhouette in panel 8, through the windows of the Cadillac illegally parked next to the hydrant) Bone's boss, the civic reformer and secret crime boss, Colonel Rupert Thorpe.

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