I do believe this is the most lurid page of ATC produced to date. It’s a telepathic observation of a wormhole witnessed in the past life of a bifurcated sentience rooted hundreds – possibly thousands – of light years away from the point of contact. It can look like whatever the hell it wants to look like. As regressions go it’s fairly accurate; fairly Michael Bay. Had I gone abstract or symbolic this may well have been a bowl of petunias.
This scene follows the less colorful – but no less explosive – provision -18-. The Epiphany experienced a premature activation of FTL hardware and dropped from the Helios Orbital docking ring into earth’s atmosphere near the Cambodia / South Vietnam border at a critical point in time. What happens next has been outlined in some detail and was planned out as a pre-DCR installment; a graphic novel that would have weighed in somewhere between 60 and 120 pages.
That dream died a slow death, and this scene is all that remains of that development. Fortunately key events can be inferred from context clues in The Dualist. The initial layouts for this scene were a lot more descriptive and grandiose, swimming in what amounted to a glorified outline of that book. Those details were cut to keep the focus on the proceedings. Any additional detail at this point would be a waste of effort. Which is saying something, considering previous expenditures. I’d say that’s indicative of shifting priorities – further development of an optional storyline doesn’t interest me. There’s enough to work with; enough to build on, enough to imply that we’re thirty or forty years into this particular plotline, not just the five years shown. Time to focus on the living.
I’ve stated previously that this is a four page spread. You may have noticed that the pages don’t line up; that there’s bits missing. That’s because the posted pages are all cropped down to the page live area. The spread is full bleed, meaning it uses the entire space space – which is typically just a big whack of black or white otherwise.
The pages are still designed for ComiXpress, which were narrower than the page specs of Ka-Blam and other vanity presses. I’m not planning on doing any color print work for awhile so that’s not really an issue at this point. It looks FINE FOR NOW, though all spreads (these pages, provision -10- / -11-, signal -1- / -2-, etc) are going to need some adjustment for publication. Maybe not impact -15- and -16-, but most – probably all – of the rest.
This thing ground production to a halt in July, required multiple re-thinks, multiple layouts, A CUSTOM FONT, and was generally an enormous amount of work above and beyond the average scene. This is typical of this stage of the project, and one of the reasons the flashback panels wound up using default brushes for grass and other shortcuts – I’d love to be done with Scenes From Hell but they’re all Scenes From Hell now so I suppose I’ll have to settle for refusing to be paralyzed by them. The fun, such as it is, must be manufactured.
Now it’s back to rendered environments – I pencilled and inked the next two pages yesterday and will be spending the afternoon and evening getting them cleaned up and assembled for shading. Most of the rest of the chapter is rendered or ready for rendering; there’s one CG asset left to develop and I should be able to grind that out without slowing things down. As it stands if I keep posting weekly without a miss the last page of the chapter will be up at the end of November.
Next week: The aftermath!