Dead Heat – Process

The rough plan for the comic.

Dead Heat was the first complete comic I have created in about eight years.  I’m not sure what caused me to pick up the pencil again, but I am determined to be more creative this year and for better or for worse, comics are in my blood.  Here are a few thoughts on the process involved:

  • The idea was to create a simple, brutal story about death. Page layout would be simple – six pages w/ two panels on each page and a double page spread.
  • This was designed to cut the story and the narrative down to the bone. In this regard, the finalised piece fails – too often there are panels that are only there to tell the next part of the story.  These are the most boring panels I drew.  I think it’s one of my major failings in art – I like narrative too much.
  • The comic was in part meant to be a piece of criticism about Alien (1979 – Ridley Scott). The death drive being presented in a sexualised monster.  And astronauts.  The themes were meant to be redefined and represented.
  • The central image of a man in an old fashioned diving suit dead in a swimming pool full of fossils and bones is from a nightmare I had when I was three years old. I would have barely had the faintest clue about death, diving and fossils, but the nightmare was real and I screamed out to my dad.  Obviously, the image I drew fails to capture the horror of my dream and the impression it had on me over the years.  I will return to it again.
  • Originally, the astronaut would have called the creature “Mum” or the creature would have called the astronaut “Son”. I couldn’t decide which, and felt it was a little too on-the-nose and decided to keep the comic dialogue free.  I’m not sure if this was the correct choice.
  • Art-wise, the comic holds a deep debt to Frank Miller. If you’re going to steal, steal from the best… I was determined to use a more detailed style of drawing than I had ever done before, and in this respect I was successful; however I felt I slipped into a lazy use of dry-brush that affects previous work I have produced.  I wanted a cleaner, more defined line.  I make no apology for the use of ink splash and spray.

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