UPDATE: 1.18.10

And now, color.

You might notice that there’s a significantly different style to the coloring on this page.  Well, this whole project being something of an artistic experiment for me, I decided to try a slightly different tack this time, and I have to say I like the results.  Granted, it took significantly longer to do the textured shadows, but I think in the end it adds a kind of smoothness to the whole thing that’s been lackung up till now – the sharp edges on all the shadows, regardless of the surface material or density, has been something I was never really satisfied with – it made the thing seem a little too hard, particularly faces and curved surfaces.  Doing patterned shadows like this makes the look a little bit grittier, and smooths out the curved surfaces a lot.  I’m going to keep playing with it, and if it works out I’ll go back and add it in to the earlier pages when I go to edit the proofs when I get to the end of this chapter.

On that point, actually, I had a couple of hardware mishaps this week.  My computer is still generally stable, but it is starting to show its age a little bit.  That combined with a little bit of personal clumsiness on my part (a hard drive I was using for backup slipped out of my hand – no damage it seems, but it was a close call) caused some file problems for me, and I nearly lost several proofs from this chapter due to a serious disk error.  Fortunately, some fast work and a few data DVD burns later, I managed to save the files and we’re back in business.  For now.

Anyway, it all adds into the mix.  We’re just plugging along, here, so stay tuned!

[Original Post: 1.11.10]  Things are starting to get out of hand in the world of 6-Commando, it seems!  Fortunately, they’re starting to get a little more under control for me in the real world.  Now, granted, this is still another black-and-white update, but I’m pretty happy how it turned out, and frankly, given the excitement of the past week, I’m surprised I cranked it out (albeit a few hours late, as I’m posting Monday night!)

I won’t go into details but suffice it to say that my car finally gasped its last, and I had to go about finding a replacement.  In addition, I also found myself on a deadline at work, helping to build a very intricate architectural model, as well as finalizing plans for a trip to Europe in a few weeks, which has to be done on the cheap, since I had to lay out for a car and all.  These stresses are not the most conducive to a focussed artistic endeavor, but somehow I managed to pull this page together, and I think it worked pretty well, withal.

Finally, we see Mike-One-Echo in his direct combat debut, and what I like best about this page is that it gives a full sense of his scale, first of all, as well as his robotic inexorability.  He got his orders, and by God, he’s going to carry them out!  It’s also representative of another aspect of the story, that of the fog of war, which even in the Information Age, is a very real thing – very often, orders can be garbled, situations can become confused, and things on the battlefield can get out of hand very fast.  Add to the mix men in suits of armor that give them superhuman strength, and robotic superheavy tanks the size of small buildings, and you have a real situation on your hands.  This is where the story starts getting good!

Incidentally, the profanity in panel two was something I turned over in my mind, but I couldn’t make Haulley’s dialogue sound natural any other way, so I let it stand.  With the sanitized substitutes, it just felt too scripted, and given the strain he’s under, I think Colonel Haulley can be forgiven the momentary slip.

I want to mention, in closing, that I received some very kind notes of encouragement from readers in the U.S. and the U.K. (thanks Simon, Peter and, as always, Joost!), and to top it, this past week saw a record number of visitors to the site so far!  I feel guilty that they had no special page to greet you, but I appreciate the support very much, and getting little notes here and there helps boost my confidence a lot!  This project is a labor of love, and I have no illusions about that.  But to know that it is at least entertaining a small but dedicated group of readers is very good to know, and I thank you all for your visits and your support!