Monday, December 08, 2008

SK8! Page One!



I did the bulk of SK8 on duo-shade board. It's a thick paper that has two tones, hidden, that you can expose by using 2 separate chemicals, each attuned to the separate hidden patterns. When you brush on the developer, the patterns show up. However, time is not kind to the chemical reaction and it was a few years before the book was collected into print and it faded. It still looks OK on the statue, and even adds a little texture to the whole thing. it's hit and miss- in some spots it helped, in others it made the image more confusing.

I wanted the architecture to be a mix of modern, slum and old Roman architecture. Most skateboarders congregate around public governmental buildings- they like stairs, stark inclines and grounds with multiple levels. The best spot for that sort of thing were government courthouses like 60 Centre Street in New York, and skateboarding was actively frowned upon there. It seemed more than a little cruel to me that the design function of Roman architecture would so closely mirror the design sought by skateboarders, and the tension between authority and illegal behavior would be so stark. I've always been a little confused about the adherence to Roman architecture by the American government, it seems like an odd style to drag across the ocean and if I'm not mistaken, it arrived late as an American style, although Montecello comes to mind. I also thought Roman aqueducts would be an excellent thing to skateboard on and they reminded me a bit of the L.A. river in the dry season. Same concept.

I threw Athena in to reinforce the Roman aesthetic. I wanted to show Bucky (the narrator) and Hal jumping off the head of Athena, but I'm afraid that some people read it as they were flying instead of jumping. My first lesson in the book, first page - because there is no movement in comic books (the images are static), the reader is saddled with trying to figure out what the action is in reference to the position of the elements. Hal and Bucky are in the sky. They are not touching anything. It read as flying. It works slightly - it gives the whole thing a fantasy-like quality, but fails at describing what I wanted to get across.

I also used separate vanishing points for the upper city and the lower slums. I wanted to imply that the rich and poor are separated by more than money, by a deeply cracked reality, and anchored by that staircase to the right. Who knows if it works that way or not, it was worth a shot - nobody ever complained about it.

I still like the movement of elements in the first panel - the sweep of the clouds, the curve of the staircase, the giant statue anchoring the 4 panel grid underneath.

I really like Dave's lettering. Matt's script works very well: the broad sweep of words that compliments the establishing of place in the first panel, staccato sentence rhythm for the last 4 panels. "Your Board. Your Best Friend. And the Universe." It helps to set up the major themes of the work too - skateboarding, friendship, aliens (to come).

Matt had a friend of his color a few panels of the book. They look very fun, I'll add them where I can. I wish I had more. I don't know who colored them. In the color version I wish the last panel only had one "lens flare," as SK8 was supposed to be coming down within a single meteor, and having two flares throws it a bit.

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