This is the first page of a three and 1/3rd page sequence focusing on Helda, the Archon’s (I assume) wife and (more importantly) mother of his genetic heir. She was introduced in The Mark, Volume #1, issue #4 (illustrated by Tony Salmons) and has only been seen briefly in Volume #2 up to this point. Now we really get a good look at her, in more ways than one.
My design for Helda was based off of Glenda Jackson. When I was starting work on “The Mark”, I rented a laser disc of “Women In Love”, directed by Ken Russell, spent an evening sketching her, and worked from those sketches (instead of photos of the actress) for the duration of the project. Also, she was in advanced stages of pregnancy and she had to always read as such, especially as I was drawing it “Marvel Style” and couldn’t depend on the writer, Mike Barr, to provide the readers with adequate dialogue or caption cues. Unfortunately I had no experience with pregnant women. In this respect, my husband, John Callahan, was invaluable as he and his ex-wife had conceived a daughter together. He reviewed my pencils to make sure Helda looked pregnant, not pot-bellied.
This page really challenged my nascent inking chops. I didn’t know how to indicate shadow areas for the colorist to follow, so I tried to depict them with cross-hatching. I scoured my collecting for swipable examples of other artists putting ink on a beautiful woman’s face and couldn’t find a single one. That should have clued me in, but, feeling I had no alternative, bravely soldiered on with the result that you see here. There’s a reason why cartoonists don’t put ink on a woman’s face; any line ages her ten years.
This is page 11 for "The Mark" issue 2, volume 2, otherwise known as "The Mark In America", published by Dark Horse Comics in January 1994. Written by Mike Barr, drawn by Brad Rader.