This page introduces Special Agent Pierce, a major supporting character in “The Mark in America”. I don’t recall if it was Mike’s idea or mine to make her black. I do remember Mike was referencing Clarice Starling, the character played by Jodie Foster in “Silence of the Lambs”, specifically in that she would be a petite woman surround by much larger men who didn’t necessarily appreciate having her around. While I was working up my design for the character I rented a laser disc of “Silence” and sketched freeze-frames of Jodie, altering her to make her look black. I didn’t like the results and found a random photo of a black fashion model I found much more interesting, based Ms. Pierce off of that. Later, when I watched the Mike Leigh movie, “Secrets and Lies”, I was struck by the resemblance of the actress Marianne Jean-Baptiste to my design for Ms. Pierce. I regretted not having the movie as reference when I was drawing TMIA.
In the last 2 day’s posts I’ve talked about being influenced by Will Elder; that is certainly on view in this page. In a way, I rather regret it; panel 3 is cartoonishly slap-stick, and I fear Ms. Pierce is laying it on a bit thick in her close-up acting in panel 4 (and in the reaction of the other characters to HER reaction. In retrospect it would have been more effective if she’d been stone-faced. I’m struck, looking back on this series, how the acting is exaggerated, almost mime-like in many cases.
This is page #14 from "The Mark" issue 1, volume 2, otherwise known as "The Mark In America", published by Dark Horse Comics in December 1993. Written by Mike Barr, Drawn by Brad Rader