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I love Will’s choice to do Panel One in silhouette, but to highlight the magical effects. Also, I had a lot of fun writing this scene, pulling out Bashan’s body-modification abilities. I wasn’t sure how the sudden appearance of gills was going to play, but Will made it work quite nicely.

Anyone that REALLY knows me knows that I’ve been dying to write a Martian Manhunter series for DC Comics, quite literally for decades. There are so many permutations of shapechanging as a superpower, I would have been able to tell ALL KINDS of stories. In any event, Brother Bashan provides me with an excellent opportunity to get some of that out of my system…but only SOME. (Bashan’s shapechanging is nowhere near as broadly capable as Martian Manhunter’s.)

Things I love about the PH #5(?): The smart use of at-will powers. 4th edition introduced at-will powers, to me, anyway. I liked that idea, but not much more about the way that they laid out powers and abilities. 5th edition takes that idea and really makes it work in the framework of table-top gaming. Plus, a lot of these powers are COOL and unique. It’s not a cookie-cutter version of ranged and melee attacks.

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This is a surprisingly appropriate page to post today. (Well, yesterday, as you’re reading this. But I’m setting this up on Thursday.) August 28th would have been Jack Kirby’s 97th birthday. It’s impossible to overstate Kirby’s impact on the medium of comics; he didn’t just rewrite the language that we use to tell stories, he created a whole new language with which to do so. He is the William Shakespeare of the comics medium. Only Will Eisner, Stan Lee, and Siegel and Schuster can claim to breathe the same air as Kirby, as far as I’m concerned. Will straight up researched Kirby’s Fantastic Four in order to get Bashan’s body modifications just right…and I wasn’t referring to the FF in my script. I was referring to Street Fighter. Happy Birthday, your Highness. Long May You Reign.

None of the above is meant to disparage any other creator, obviously, but they call Jack Kirby “the King” for a reason. Certainly, this isn’y MY first homage to Jack Kirby. The very first page of Rocket Queen and The Wrench #1:

Page 1

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I like this page A LOT. One of my favorite parts about it, and I know that Will is really proud of this little touch, is how in Panel One, Babydoll is looking all over the place with her myriad eyes, as she fights in a variety of directions, but in Panel Two, all of her eyes are focused on the one guy that she’s smashing. I also appreciate that this is the first time that we get to see how dangerous Babydoll actually is.

Speaking for myself, it was also nice to get back to some “noir”-style narration. I’ve been feeling like I’ve gotten away from that, and I’m making a conscious effort to do more of it.

New PH fact #3: Remember when I mentioned that there were more people of color in the new PH? I was talking to one of my players the other day and told him that I’d know we’d made it when there was a black demi-human illustrated into a D&D book, like a black elf or something. And then, lo and behold, I find a black dwarf in an illustration in the spells section of the book. Totally awesome.

Also, Rocket Queen and The Wrench #3 is now available for purchase on Comixology, and we just got reviewed by Newsarama! (You have to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the article.) Not a bad review, either, although I’d really prefer to be hitting perfect 10s. Lots of work ahead of us!

RQW_3_CVR

 

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A few weeks ago, when I wrote this page, I tweeted my confidence that this was going to be an awesome page. I feel completely validated. This is bit of a departure for Hunter lately…he’s been going into every combat fueled by rage, but here, he’s simply annoyed.

The above said, as I set up these pages, I find myself wondering: Do we overdo it with these splash pages? When you only get three pages a week, do the splash pages make you feel like you’re getting less story?

Speaking for myself, as I conceive things, this is a visual medium, and our trump card in this medium is the splash page. Sometimes, you want me pushing things forward through dialogue, but I always see dialogue as set up and action pieces as pay off. I also think that the biggest pay off comes in the form of splashes. But I could be wrong; I’m certainly not approaching this from the standpoint of a reader.

Also, I’m writing this with collected editions in mind, I have to admit. We’re slowly circling around the idea of a collected edition…but a part of our hesitation is that our readership isn’t really as big as we might hope for. We have a small group of dedicated readers, emphasis on the word “small.” I’d love to find out that there is a strong interest in a book, frankly, so if you really want one, now is a good time to speak up!

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You know, I look at what I wrote on this page and, taken out of context, it seems like Brother Bashan and The Human Divine are the good guys in this situation. Will absolutely MURDERED that last panel, it’s in the running for my favorite shot from the series thus far. Iosephus is a sinister-looking little dude.

New PH fact that I like: Feats are not gone from the game. During level advancement, each class has different points at which they can increase ability scores. As an optional rule, you can take a feat instead of an ability score increase.

New PH fact that I like even more: I have never seen so many illustrations of people of color in a D&D book before. That hit me right where I live. I’ve never really complained about the lack of them in the past, but I’m really glad that they’ve stepped up their game now.

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