Have I ever mentioned that one of ATC’s core themes is the corporate and ideological exploitation of mental health? That point is pretty obvious, I think – though I honestly don’t recall if I’ve ever commented on it in any measure. Better I don’t, really – to the extent that the work voices any opinion I may hold, it does so in a thoroughly filtered and considered fashion.
Opinions that make it through a pile of drafts and revisions, that persist over the course of years, those opinions have earned their freedom. I have a habit of being exceptionally ill-considered otherwise, to the detriment of myself and others.
’nuff said about the crazy.
Every character on this page was first sketched in 1997 or 1998. Aleph would be the exception – though her next incarnation (Whitehouse) was created during the same period, so she kinda counts.* Back then Yang had the visor, Whitehouse had a ponytail, James looked like a much rougher version of his appearance in The Dualist, and Rand had slightly different glasses. They definitely weren’t then who they are now, mind you – but this is the crew that everything else was eventually built or rebuilt on.
You’ll be happy to know that I’m out of Old Ones, at least until I get to book five. While there will be a few more fresh faces before DCR is complete, Rand is the last semi-major character to be introduced. For awhile, anyway. The rest are redshirts.
There’s a thumbnail sketch somewhere of Rand holding Alias or Whitehouse in a chokehold, hypodermic held high. I wish I knew where that sketchbook was – it was Shipped Home a move or two ago, and has long since disappeared – hopefully into my grandmother’s garage. Cute to think back on, but doubtless too awful to show, even if I did have the sketchbook on hand.
This page actually adheres to the script thumbnail fairly well, I think. The revisions are improvements – though this far into the writeup I’m just now remembering I forgot to insert Aleph’s right boob into panel two. An easy adjustment – to have forced the thumbnail shot would have turned the Heirotus staff into a smear at webscale, and would have cut down the space the dialogue demands.
I used to tweak dialogue to fit art, or spend tons of time contorting it and the art to fit around each other. These days, not so much – I have enough experience with page production to have worked out most of the bugs, and rarely encounter show-slowing hurdles. Occasionally, yes – but they’re far, far less frequent than they used to be.
Eight is rendered but unassembled. I haven’t started renders on nine yet – the plan is to make some kind of progress on both this weekend, even if it’s only on the CG/prep end.
* Aleph as she exists now was defined at some point in 2010, making her by far the newest character from a design standpoint.
Mastering notes, 2016.12.08 – Tweaked the first line of panel two to remove Michael and Aleph’s family names and to add a bit more information about Martin Rand.