Roll the dice- Snake eyes!

June 7, 2009

Ok so the latest issue of my work to hit the stands is the last movie prequel Rise of Cobra: Snake Eyes- and this was the most difficult of the four to do. Not because of the scenarios involved, but because of all the baggage that the character brings to it. Almost every comic fan has their own opinion about how SE should act, what he’s capable of, what he doesn’t do, etc… You really end up against the wall when dealing with that stuff, because you can’t/won’t please everyone. All you have to do is read the forums to see that fan-boys will always find something to complain about. The last issue was of Baroness, and I was expecting something of an onslaught over that, “Not the right face”, “Too busty”, “Not busty enough”- whatever- but nothing. Snake eyes however has gotten the “whine-squad” organized and back in motion. The only good thing about all that is I’m developing a nice shell, and a lack of caring. 

Personally though, drawing Snake Eyes is one of those childhood fantasies. I don’t know if I’m going to get any issues with Storm Shadow in them, but this one was still fun. The Snake Eyes origin issues in the original Marvel run, were a huge influence on me. I remember being very into ninjas at the time, reading all the Stephen K Hayes books, watching “The Master” with Sho Kosugi, and wishing I had half of the coolness that Snake Eyes had. Of course being a fat kid with glasses was a big hurdle to that. The only downside is that you’re often pressed for time, and this is a product, one that has a deadline- so you cut corners sometimes. It’s a fairly common practice, but I’m not fond of doing it. I do draw the line sometimes (no pun), but this time I had to for the sake of the page. What am I talking about? “Stat”-ing. Originally the term applied to the process of reproduction, where a high contrast picture was taken of art, reproduced, and pasted down onto the page as a new panel. It’s usually done when you have a repeat of an image where only a minor detail is changed. For example, when a character is staring at the viewer and then closes their eyes for an emotional zinger. Other times it’s done when you have an elaborate background drawing, something is happening, but the camera angle isn’t changing. To save the time of redrawing the background, and to maintain an accuracy in the details, an artist will “stat” the repeating information. In this page from the Snake Eyes book, that’s what I’ve done with the backgrounds. Of course now it’s a bit easier, as we can do it in the computer, simply scanning the multiple pieces and putting them together in the layout. The top tier of this page was pieced together by drawing the first panel, then drawing Snake Eyes on a separate sheet, and then placing him in panel via the computer. I don’t draw SE on the original page because where he lines up is so important, rather I draw it on vellum, scan him from that, then place him on the background in the computer.  The second & third tier were also done this way. The hope is that it’s seamless, to the point the reader doesn’t even think about it. Hope it worked. 

ayout 1

 

This following was my favorite page in the issue. A lot of fan boys might prefer the big splash page earlier on, or the fight scene later, but honestly I love the first panel and it’s the little moments you work for. It came out just as I wanted, with the environment and the stance of SE. The last panel isn’t perfect, and I’d have preferred it if the script had called for SE to swipe off their heads with a katana (sword); but my job is to draw the script, not change things willy-nilly. That goes back to what I mentioned before about everyone having their own viewpoint of a character. To me, I always hated the idea of SE having, or ever using, a gun. I’m a ninja purest, I want SE to only use a sword, or traditional ninjutsu gear. Even though he always carried an UZI in the comics, that’s how I see him. To a kid, a ninja is magical; they could do anything, disappear instantly, kill silently, and never been seen. That’s how I wanted my Snake Eyes… if you ever saw him, you never saw anything, or anyone else, again. 

Snake eyes goes ape.

 

As I said, this is the last of the movie prequels, so you won’t be seeing any new Joe art for a couple of months. Once issue 7 of the regular series comes out, I’ll be able to post some pages from that. I hope to talk about how there’s a subtle, but distinct difference in the way I treat/draw the characters for that book. It’s also when people can see me taking over the art chores from Robert Atkins, who has set the bar pretty high. A generous guy, who was very kind and helpful in making the switch over, but he’s on to bigger things. I wish him luck, and hope you all will enjoy the few posts I’ll make in between. 

Later.

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6 Responses to “Roll the dice- Snake eyes!”

  1. richard said

    Shannon,

    Your Snake Eyes in great looking! Good work on the pages. And yep, “stats” can be a great tool when the deadline is looming. Keep it up, man.

    Richard

  2. Joanie said

    Looks awesome! Where can I get my copy? Hope all is going good, hope to hear from you soon.

  3. Sean said

    Loved the Snake-Eyes issue. Maybe Chuck can emphasize more of ninja tactics / traits in the main series. 🙂 Looking forward to more from you.

  4. Melissa said

    OMG! Is this the reason why there was a ninja costume squirreled away in the closet? You know, you live with a guy. You think you know him, then one day BAM! Ninja costume!

  5. slgallant said

    My wife the smart @$$ everybody- thanks hun. Now why don’t you tell everyone something embarrassing about my childhood? No wait- don’t do that.

  6. Robbie said

    Don’t worry Shannon, I have your wife’s baby blue David Hasselhoff Knight Rider t-shirt!! She would never let me get rid of it!

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