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Bzik would have his protocols hardbound.

I tried a couple things in this comic. The background is one continuous drawing, with a fisheye perspective; each panel uses only one section of the whole drawing. So, if this were animated, the different shots could be transitioned with panning.

I tried to maintain a tighter color scheme in the backgrounds, as well. Everything is a tint or shade of only two different hues.

Finally, I tried to shade quickly, by cutting away from a mask with a soft eraser. The mask darkens only the figures; cutting away creates highlights. I’ve used similar methods before for shading, but this time I wanted to see if the effect read well with very quick, simple cuts. I’m not sure it does. Maybe I just have to further refine the technique.

12 Responses

  1. Typical military protocols.

    The reason I don’t comment more on your techniques is that I don’t feel I’m qualified to do so, since your skill is so much more advanced than mine.

    • “The reason I don’t comment more on your techniques is that I don’t feel I’m qualified to do so, since your skill is so much more advanced than mine.”

      Agreed. The only criticism I can offer is my subjective perception of the comic as a reader.

      1) My favorite coloring methods thus far are in “Mashed Potatoes”, “Friendly Advice”, “Slow Business”, “Changing of the Guard”, “Order Form”, “Forbidden”, “The Next Morning”, “Shop Talk”, “Recipes”, and “Tactics”. “Recipes” may be my absolute favorite.

      2) Also, maybe it’s just my monitor, but this comic looks better if you calibrate its saturation and lightness a wee bit:

  2. Perfesser_Bear

    It’s true, it’s true; it’s all too true.

    I was a U.S. Department of Defense contractor for about 1-1/2 years, providing physical security at a Secret-level Navy research base. All of which sounds more impressive than it really was — it was just a job, but it paid pretty well — I bought a new car and had a new house built during that time.

    Nobody ever said it was going to make any sense, though. The first year wasn’t too bad — since I had already worked similar high-security jobs — but as soon as I realized the rules and regulations were just so much eyewash, I was a lot happier.

  3. Kinda interesting how Szpadel is portrayed a bit differently than Rudek on this one. Rudek sees the issue as an illogical waste of time, Szpadel does care to some extent. A little bit like back in “Filing System”.

    I don’t think that the concern is too unreasonable, imho. If the cranky salamander guy is not a naturalized citizen, he’s going to run into problems sooner or later. Better to fix the issue here and now.

    I wonder if Szpadel’s idealism is going to wash away by the time he reaches Rudek’s age. …striking deals with smugglers would be a rather telltale milestone in that transformation.

    I am also surprised by Czerep not being directly antagonistic towards Rudek yet. I can’t imagine that those two get along. And Czerep has the rank to get away with it. Maybe Rudek is Bzik’s favorite?

    • Interesting observations. I think the key difference between Szpadel and Rudek might be that Szpadel has yet to be personally hurt or damaged by “the system”. So yes, given time, the kapral may develop a personality and cynicism like Rudek’s.

      And yes, I’d venture to say that Czerep is smart enough not to give Rudek (a favorite
      of the captain) a hard time…at least not directly.

      • Intriguing. If the reverse holds true, then a younger Rudek may have been a little bit like Szpadel.

        Also, I may be overthinking it, but re: the Czerep – Rudek thing… Rudek seems to be a lot more assertive in this conversation. He is almost outraged, and adopts a rather commanding tone (would you say “Just give him an entry visa!” to your direct superior?). Czerep on the other hand seems more submissive, he never maintains eye contact, even though Rudek is speaking directly to him. It’s as if he is actively avoiding the conflict. Rudek cools off by abandoning the conversation entirely, and lighting the old man’s cigarette, another small act of rebeliousness.

        Probably another bit of overanalysis, but eh, it just speaks to the comic’s quality.

  4. Karen Carr

    The concept and content are very unique and interesting.

    I like the color scheme, but I think the darkness of it makes it a bit hard to read. The black cat, for example, draws my eyes to him so much that it is hard for me to focus on the print. Understand, however, that I do have vision problems and I’m not in any way an expert on graphic novels.

    You have our blessings on the project!

  5. If we may over-analyze content, then I have to ask (just out of curiosity): in panel 4, in the pile of contraband … isn’t that a typewriter case? Are typewriters “kontrabanda”?

    • Hm… in my mind it was just a small suitcase, with contraband contents. Though typewriters can be dangerous weapons to insecure regimes!

  6. I’m only just know picking up on/realizing the Hawkeye influence on Rudek. Which definitely means that Czerep is Frank.

    Frank Burns eats worms.

  7. I know the time frame is 1929, but, I’d like to think that Poland is different from America during our time of expansion. I’d like to think that, since the old guy never moved, the border did, he’d be granted automatic citizenship. But, what do I know? LOL.

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