20130825, 11:08 – The hand is a harsh mistress.
Production of Transitional Voices chapter two finished early this past week, so I’m coming out of the scheduled August posting hiatus a week earlier than originally intended. The scene is complete, and there will be new pages every Sunday today and for the next six weeks. By the time the whole thing is up I should have some idea as to when production of TV.3 will get under way, a thing I hopefully won’t even think about until October. Knocking this scene out took a bit more time out of August than I would have liked, and I’ll be scrambling to play catch-up on pretty much everything else for the next several weeks.
This is mentioned further down in the build log but also bears mentioning here: the dialogue in panel one lampshades a fairly obvious change in art direction. You’ll see what West is referring to on the next page. In print it would already be in your field of view, so in the hardcopy sense the change is addressed as it appears. You’ll just have to wait until the next update to see it!
20130810 (or thereabouts) – The color ATC comics have long made deliberate, intentional use of specific colors. Certain colors are Reserved, and are used with intent – Thad throwing Val’s fishnets into a green receptacle is a relevant example, as green is associated with Dyluck.
Purple is a color that retains its real-world associations in ATC – I haven’t picked a color, hung it on a character, and proclaimed $COLOR MEANS THIS! the way my artbrain has associated green with Dyluck. No. Purple is reserved for leadership roles, which is why Greymalkin wears it, why James wears it (more subtly), and why Grij very pointedly doesn’t – while Greymalkin and Grij may be equivalent in rank and role, his boss is a lot more hands-on, which is why James gets the shirt.
This is a very long, very verby and nouny way of saying that Thad’s wearing purple boxer briefs for deeply symbolic reasons. The fact that they’re boxer briefs at all goes to character – he’s a boy in a girl’s body, he’s obviously been having some fun but he still very much dresses like a boy, especially when he’s not thinking about it. Boxer briefs are a visual reminder for the casual and a clue for the new. Without context, the fact that they’re purple is a minor detail. In context, it’s a not-so-subtle thematic cue. While Thad definitely isn’t in a leadership role, this entire situation is ultimately his doing. The actions of a number of people have been and will continue to be directly influenced by his decisions and actions whether he’s aware of that fact or not, and in that context his influence is up there with Greymalkin and James. He’s earned some purple but not enough to qualify for a shirt or a suit.
Panel three is also a very oblique homage to The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress. At one point in the novel Manuel opens a door (I think, I haven’t read it since, like, tenth grade) or comes to a door or otherwise greets another character with his prosthetic hand literally in hand. It’s a detail that left a lasting impression, put to practical use! I had to go back to 2003 for proper reference… and I don’t know if the built in gun is currently loaded or not. I’ll leave that detail as an exercise for the reader.
Mastering notes, 2016.12.07 – Removed the logo from Thad’s shirt.