Well this is almost back on track.  Only slightly overtime.  But as it’s backdated to midnight, who’ll know the difference?

Everyone.  And me.  Oh, well.

I have to admit that I did not enjoy drawing this page.  Not really at all.  I actually recomposed more than half of it at the very last minute.  The opener on this page was originally an elaborate overhead shot of a three-dimensional hologram-like projection of the battlefield, with various officers milling around and looking at little tanks and soldiers walking around and shooting at each other.  It wasn’t until I’d drawn it, though, that I realized that it did not in any way match the feel of what I was trying to convey.  It felt too much like Star Trek or something – too elaborate and crystalline and high-tech, when what I’m going for is somewhat grittier.  I mean, I make exceptions technologically, of course – big video screens, radar and map graphics, etc. which are standard fare for military (and, recently, police) dramas these days.  But I wanted the command post to feel more claustrophobic and detatched, for dramatic reasons, and also to empahzise the division of command and execution in a military setting such as I’m working out here.

So I completely redrew that scene.  Overall, I think the page worked out okay in the end, and got the crowded, busy feel across, but the page is really wordy, too, and I’m not entirely satisfied.  Though I feel it’s passable, it just took too long to do and was too talky.  But there were some critical relationships and character points I had to start developing (in particular, establishing Zaballa as the foil to Haulley, which I fear I did with too heavy a hand).  I may also have relied a little too much on the Dr. Strangelove homages.  Meat for the deitorial process later on, at any rate.

In the end, though, it’s done now, and though it may not be my best, I think I can live with it and move on.

I also want to apologize for all the confused updates and missed deadlines recently.  I hope it’s not alienating my readership, such as it is.  I have a couple more foreseeable delays in the near future, as well, though, so I’ll state them up front.

First, one week from this Thursday is Thanksgiving Day in the United States.  After that comes Christmas, then New Years, though the latter is not really a big deal to me so I will probably work through it.  To compensate, however, I sketched up a few pieces of pinup and placeholder art on my lunch break today, and so I’ll likely try to put them in around the edges content-wise, while I’m travelling for the holidays.  Once New Years is past, though, the next foreseeable week off won’t be until late February, so we should have a little smooth sailing if all goes well.

In any case, I appreciate everyone’s patience, and thanks to all the readers who’ve been posting and dropping me the odd email.  It helps to know that there’s an audience for this little bit of work, and I thank you all for reading, and being so forgiving of these little “service interruptions.”

Back to the drawing board, for now!  Literally!