Robot 6

Strangeways: Murder Moon – page 14

Okay, now that we’ve seen to Webster, let’s get that wagon righted.

Written by Matt Maxwell.  Art by Luis Guragna.

Written by Matt Maxwell. Art by Luis Guragna.

See, if this was a movie, they’d be playing the creepy music, ramping it up long and slow, so that you couldn’t remember exactly when you started hearing it.

Commentary after the jump.

I love how this page starts out with everything being fine, even Webster making jokes at the expense of Mr. Chilton’s courage.  Then Luis puts in that beautiful reaction shot that says it all, close in enough that the expressions of worry are unmistakable.  Following that is the shot from within the coach, and if you’ve ever watched a monster movie in your entire life, then that’s all you need to know about how bad things are going to get.

And hey, wasn’t that hole smaller earlier on?  It’s like something kinda opened it up some.  Or maybe that’s just your imagination.  Moonlight does funny things to your eyes.  Or maybe it makes you see things clearly, and maybe the situation was pretty scary all along.

Luis really did a great job with atmosphere on the page.  I could strip the dialogue right out of this and follow what’s going on just fine.  Though I’m pleased to say that it adds to things, like with Webster trying to crack wise and then try and explain what’s going on.  But that’s kinda the point.  If your dialogue is just reiterating what’s going on in the image, then maybe it doesn’t need to be there at all, or at the very least it needs to be re-examined.  Of course, I love to break all kinds of my own sweeping rules, such as you should never have a conversation run longer than two pages (I’m about to letter one that runs for three).  Maybe it’s just better to be cognizant of the fact that you are indeed going long on this scene and maybe you should really make it pay off to have it worth everyone’s while.

You know, the rest of that page could be pretty terrible (which it isn’t) and still, that last image would anchor the whole thing quite nicely. Look at it more closely, though and it’s really the first time you see Collins’ face clearly on the page, the rest of it being in shadow.  If you scan the page from top to bottom, you get a nice press-in effect, like the camera closing in on things.  In fact, you could almost read it as two columns top to bottom and still have things play out clearly.  Not really the intention when I wrote the page, but sometimes (quite often, really) the artists come up with ways to surprise you, even when you’re the guy who wrote the script in the first place.  Which is half the fun of writing these things, seeing how your collaborators take your script and really run with it.  I couldn’t ever pull off the absolute and total command of the page/panel that Alan Moore does, for instance.  I dunno, maybe in the future.  But even then, shouldn’t there be room for accidents and innovations?

Back on Friday.

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