I spent far more time laboring over the shade and shadow on this page than I had predicted, but in the end I think it was worth it.  This page more than any others so far sets the tone I’ve been wanting to strike with this project.  I wanted to draw a very heavy distinction between the UNA environments, which are gadget-prone, brightly-colored and well-lit, and the FSR environments, which are drab, dark, and primitive (their possession of advanced technology for warfare notwithstanding).  Unfortunately all of this time spent on the comic means that the upgrades I’d intended to make to the site are still in the testing phase.  I hope to have them up by the middle of this week.  They include a less-obtrusive navigation bar and a revamped menu above.

There’s also something I want to touch on artistically.  Probably the most noticeable thing on this page is that the characters are speaking untranslated Russian.  That was something I debated, whether to subtitle or translate the text (which is probably not perfect Russian, but is the best I can do with a dictionary and what limited knowledge I have of the language).  However, I asked a fellow artist of my acquaintance, and he was of the opinion, which I eventually came to share, that a translation wasn’t really necessary.  His rationale was that Maj. Bronniford doesn’t speak Russian, so she wouldn’t understand what they’re saying.  And since it’s her perspective we’re concerned with here, the subtitles went away.  This also touches on another element, that a great deal of conflict is caused by a lack of understanding – inscrutable enemies, as it were.  And if anyone can speak Russian, you’ll probably see, as the story develops, that they don’t understand the protagonists any more than the reverse.  My hope is that this contributes to the story on a meaningful level, rather than simply making it a jumble (or being artistically self-indulgent of me).

Anyhow, we’re back on track, here.  I’d like to note, as an aside, that this page marks my first introduction of actual brush-inking to this particular story.  I think the results were quite worthwhile and I’ll be adding that element in fairly regularly.  Brush is still not my strongest skill, however – probably why I want to use it more.  It may be hesitant at first but the practice will be good for me.

The fellow artist, by the way, is Derek Power.  He’s an experimental musician, and a genuine intellectual whose advice I have relied on many times.  He is also, like me, a great fan of Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb (he’s Mandrake to my General Ripper!).  Check out his livejournal, and also his work with The Spangle Maker.