Monday 31 January 2011

One Nation under CCTV...

So one would imagine must be the thought that was going through Sterankos mind - when he drafted the top panel from this page...

I mean, seriously could that camera be any bigger?

As well as the usual statement it is (forgive the expression) foreshadowing, as CCTV and its use will go on to be a major plot point in the not too distant future

It's enough for now to notice that O'neil is purposely facing out of sight of the camera - now why would that be?

The beginning of a answer starts - tomorrow...

Thursday 27 January 2011

There's a whole word out there waiting for you..

Well, okay - some pretty extensive loading areas with cranes, silos, gantry and what looks like a massive refinery or chemical plant in the far background...

All of this to give the reader some idea of the size of the mine that O'Neil has to patrol, how many workers there are and how much work is done - all like I said to give depth and scope to the hero.

This stylistic scene replaces several in the movie which all serve to give an similar idea of surroundings in terms of depth and definition

But it wont be the only time the story ventures outside - as we will eventually see

Next time - I will start on the right hand page and again find that's where all the action is - and a explanation for the long panel below on this page as well...

Wednesday 26 January 2011

Adding Depth and texture to the Shadowlands...

Its a long standing part of fiction to define the hero in part by his surroundings, the place he has to perform his heroic acts

With that place adding to the difficulties facing the hero

Essentially Io and its shadowy nature exist to task O' Neil...

But this scene also serves to take the place of several in the movie

Find out why and what - Tomorrow

Tuesday 25 January 2011

"But it's only a model"…

So here we start off another two page spread, with the left hand page (this one) once again devoted to a pure stylistic statement…

This time it is of (in the movie) a non existent view of the loading area complete with all kinds of cranes and machinery…

But why was this necessary  or what is this saying…

Find out tomorrow

Monday 24 January 2011

I'm unpleasant , not stupid…

So says Lazarus in conclusion to our current two page spread:-

Which on the page before (in the dialogue) she reveals a large increase to the causality statistics on io, up from 2 in a six month period to 24 in the next month period and 28 in the most recent six month period.

Something, is most definitely rotten in Denmark….

What could it be? 

Time for O' Neil to find out…

Thursday 20 January 2011

Take that look off your face…

Is it me or is O'neil kind of almost smirking in this picture?

Which is kind of a bit off-putting as both he and Lazarus are literally right over - well you know the rest - and lazarus is being literally hands on - like I said very different from the movie where the prostitute is enclosed in a scanner at a distance

One could almost think O'neil was leering at the poor woman - who has been through enough already

but no, I don't think that's it…

What it is - is a indication that O' Neil is in "comedy routine" again…

Remember when he and Lazarus first met - how when O'neil made  "A Marshall joke" and shot her back a distinctive smirk

Well this is much less of a smirk but still there it is..

O' Neil feels the need to "Joke" whenever Lazarus is around  - maybe she wishes she stayed dead?

Time will tell...

Wednesday 19 January 2011

Cut down one - and another takes its place

So here we go with the right hand side of the page - where all the action is again..

There is a quite a lot happening here - but I wanted to focus today on another possible Steranko Cliche - This time with the deliberately added surgeons (none in the movie - in fact the dialogue from Lazarus explaining its just her is on the previous two page spread -) who look identical and...

Rather like the medical wing of Hydra - those evil agents as featured in Sternako's "Agent of Shield".. It was with these agents that Steranko started to develop his stylistic take on costumes and fabric in his first comics (working over kirby layouts) which expanded into everything he did and is featured very heavily in all of Outland

So I wonder if the inclusion of these surgeons is a nod and wink to the fans paying attention...

Hey! I was talking to you

Oh yes I did some pencils as well.. unfortunately...

Tomorrow we examine O'Neil and Lazarus - just what is going on here?!

Tuesday 18 January 2011

Up close and personal

So continuing on from the previous double page spread - this time we are treated to a half a page of the naked prostitute being put through a medical scanner....

As before this is a departure from the movie, in which yes the prostitute is naked but shes put into a cylinder type scanner (completley enclosed) much like modern MRI scanners in hospitals - and she is at a distance from either O Neil or Lazarus and as before remains mostly out of shot and only there to remind everyone what is being scanned

Where as Steranko has once again gone for more "sexualisation" - which does become a bit clearer when the next page comes along..

But, wait there is a brand new stylistic decision being made right here, the two panels below.  Up until now, it's nearly always been at least 4 if not 5 tiny panels, and what is surprising is that there could easily be a solid black line (making more panels) between O' Neil and Lazarus...

So this must be leading up to something, right? Find what that is in a few days...

Tomorrow, I will start on the next page - and once again find, all the "action" happens on the right hand side...

Monday 17 January 2011

How many artists does it take to change a lightbulb?

Well, there are more than a few lights here...

And if you look, you will see one of these lights is inked "bolder" than the others..

Now this was a mistake - for some reason I had a "mad minute" and decided to try using the handwriting pen with a thicker nib... (I later realised that was down to the fine line pen I am using running low on ink) and quickly realised that was wrong - a bit too late..

But - will I change it - well it depends on if anyone notices it?  I mean if I had not pointed it out?

Anyway - We will find out what is actually going on in this page - tomorrow

Thursday 13 January 2011

Mountains out of molehills

Well there is not much I can say about the next page, that wouldn't be possibly misinterpreted as being a bit smutty - possibly a "return to form" for someone who previously "did" "George and Lynne"...? (in "Glamour, not!" for those keeping track)

You tell me!

so here it is... maybe I am just making mountains out of molehills...

and my pencils of the same...

Wednesday 12 January 2011

"The first cut wont hurt at all"

So here we go..

In the movie and in the comic adaptation we have a prostitute under attack by a nameless worker with a knife...

The knife a lot clearer in the movie..

So montone goes up a air shaft (unshown in the art) while o'neil talks his way through the situation and (in the movie) manages to talk the guy into dropping the knife altogether at which point Monotone drops to the ground and just shoots the guy point blank

and then the door opens at the same second and in comes o'neil asking why..

But in the comic as with the graphically different depiction in the top panel, it is only revealed in the last panel that the man Monotone just shot did not have a knife at all, and is shown on the previous page still clearly holding it

In the movie it is absolutely clear that Monotone had no real reason to shoot (other than a knee jerk reaction) while in the comic its less clear cut or more likely to be a mistake...

This is worth mentioning as this is one of the examples of Steranko writing around the unnecessary explanation of the already fairly thin plot to the audience

In the movie there are scenes shown consistently with someone passing on some substance - just before the guy stepped in the elevator and just before this guy decided to go with a prostitute - in the comic there are no such scenes and for the time being in the comic the reason behind it all remains a mystery and all the more interesting for it

It also makes for a more interesting definition of Montone, who in the movie suddenly does something completely out of character clearly pointing the way to something rotten going on - while in the comic - no such thing..

The next sequence deals with the examination of the prostitute by our friendly Doctor Lazarus... 

Tuesday 11 January 2011

Love is not for sale?

So here we go with a look at the top most panel here - the actual focus of the entire two page spread...

Where we have a man who is quite clearly assaulting a woman, seriously enough to get the police outside - You have to look closely (and this a fairly important plot point) but the man is actually holding a knife.

There are quite a number of statements made here and possibly the most tangible reason for the perpetual shadow seen to date, there is no love in Outland (only by remote video call) - but sex is for sale

And not just casual sex, but sex of all kinds of varieties, the video screen behind the man showing for all the depth of depravity available and possibly even acceptable within the shadow soaked corridors...

Which almost makes one wonder quite how things had to get out of order before the alarm went off.. remember Shepherds earlier "they work hard and they play hard.."statement?

The layout of the two pages designed to instantly draw the eye towards the twisted embrace between the "couple" in question...

Now hold for a moment - and look at the movie, This does not go as far as the drawing, the movie clearly shows a naked prostitute but the entire scene is made by the acting of Steven Berkoff who plays it completely crazed...

and the woman just moans to herself in the corner (mostly)...

Apart from making a much more overt statement about the disposability of sex in Outland, Steranko possibly goes a bit further as the guy in the drawing does not even look vaguely like Berkoff  - which is one thing - but then gives him a moustache which is quite another...

With the shadow and the cut angular style it could almost be mistaken for Monotone - except the trademark cigar is missing - and Monotone is elsewhere in this scene...

Doing what? Find out tomorrow

Monday 10 January 2011

Contains items of a sexually explicit nature

Well, depending on your point of view - this page does, so I have kept it small:-

This page also presented itself with a dilemma - should I just put it up here or not and if so how?

By keeping it small and making the subject a warning I am making a statement regarding censorship, be it right or wrong

From what I remember (and I could be wrong) Frank Miller would most definitely say I was wrong doing anything other than just presenting the page as it was intended....

And possibly not quite so nicely either..!

The main problem with offence is there is no realistic way to judge it, unless your the person who has been offended.

I personally think it a lot more than reasonable to say the picture is not suitable for children - hence the warning...

Anyway having set that precedent - where to go to next, as I have obviously been leading up to a study of this page... hmmm find out starting tomorrow...

Thursday 6 January 2011

A shot in the dark?

Well, let's face it - everything's "in the dark here" - I think I will invoke a Pet Shop Boys song next time around... anyway

The shot in question, is part of the 5 small panels, which I haven't focused on so far...

As these give more of a clue as to what might await us in the next page - The most interesting thing about the top panel taken on its own its is complete dichotomy with its other half on the next page, There is not very much overlapping here at all, so again a whole panel making a purely stylistic point about darkness and duct filled compartments.

But in the 5 panels below we have by stark contrast almost a full on action sequence - which ends in a shot being fired - but why

Find out - on the next page 

Wednesday 5 January 2011

"which actually makes absolutely no sense"...

That's what I said yesterday about the inclusion of the large emergency sign in the large top panel on the page I am working on..

But in hindsight was I right?

Well - Let's look at why I thought that..

It can't really be the oversized nature of the sign (on it's own) as there have been a few examples of those before , though its worth noting the size of the clock or the words above the time (if you can see them) by comparison

It's more that I wondered if the absolute last place you would have a flashing emergency sign flashing is right inside the compartment where the emergency is happening - I mean its a fairly safe bet the person inside the compartment either already knows they are in a predicament (take the guy from the airlock) or in this case would actually be pushed into more of a panicked frenzy knowing that the "police" are on their way..

As the sign is inside a room which has a hostage situation - anyone will tell you it takes delicate handling and consideration in those situations not huge great big red flashing signs in your face... but hey, what do I know?

The thing that occurred to me is that Steranko is using this as a story telling device, but that only makes sense if he was expecting the reader to assume that the one page splash was the end of the scene in question..?

Maybe having a complete scene per two page spread and no further beforehand made this go in?

You tell me!

Best get on with blacking this all in... tomorrow

Tuesday 4 January 2011

Just another Bedroom?

So here we go with the next page, which as normal is half of a two page spread:-

At first glance there is not much to overly differentiate the big panel from a similar drawing of O'neil's room as featured earlier - a page devoted to a bed, and various room features.. the only clue in this panel is the admittedly large emergency sign shown... which actually makes absolutely no sense

Why? Find out tomorrow

Monday 3 January 2011

A page a day?

I am going to try an experiment today, as it's a day off work..

So I thought I would try and pretend for just one day that I was a illustrator and had to do one page a day..

To get a feel what doing this as a paying career would be like

So that's what I have been doing so far - Its taken about 3 hours to get the fine line into place on top of the pencils…
But the amount of blacking in to do is rather large, so let's get on and see how far I can get!

UPDATE:- I now only have another 2 of the 8 hours I allocated to draw a page and it looks like I will be lucky to do all the black in - so I best get drawing..!

FINAL UPDATE:- I went way over the 2 hours to finish the blacking in, no time left to pencil the next page, so I did not complete a entire page from scratch in a day
Lessons Learned:-
  1. I seem to get slower and slower as the day went on, this is the longest amount of time I have spent consecutively drawing, even though I had a break once every two hours to try and pace myself and reduce the offset of cramp. It's a bit like just deciding to run a Marathon without any training or preparation - or gradual warm up to the ultimate destination.  What I should I have done is built up the amount of time I draw over a period of time, however this was not possible, as all I had was one day - but a word to the wise I would never just work through, It's difficult to type right now!
  2. The axiom of "first you get good, then you get fast" obviously applies in spades to yours truly - I have not got good yet, so I can hardly expect to be fast - and yes I am still on my 2000 bad drawings!
Tomorrow we are back to normal and about 3-4 hours a day spent on drawing..!

Sunday 2 January 2011

"We can still work it out"?

Let's start 2011 off with a bang, straight onto the first page of the 2nd instalment of Outland

And it's a rather jarring bang as well…

For starters a whole 2-3 minutes have just been lost from the movie with no explanation, There was a entire scene where Montone tries to console O'Neil following the departure of his wife and child gone…

But more telling is that in this one page there is probably more story packed in than any two page spread to date 

The speed and action pace this page sets up, definitely drops off as soon as the two page spreads are returned to on the next page

A lot of urgency and even fluidity in terms of standard comic book story telling happens on this page, but there is still half a page dedicated to locked in cold hard master shot as Steranko seems to be the absolute master of, you can almost imagine a poster book of each of these big panels without any dialogue..

Well the balloons are still there I guess...

But the coldness and the commodity of the io is about to be put into very sharp relief, we have already seen that the air and food is recycled (probably endlessly) and that the whole place is a contusion of a ducting nightmare almost on the level of Terry Gilliam's Brazil and we have just seen the only expression of love seen by the person its supposed to be effecting at such a distance that it makes no discernible impact at all, completely lost within a stylistic statement of utter form over function

So if there is no real love on io (only via video message after leaving it behind) what is left?…

stay tuned to find out...