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Steamroller Man
Issue Three
Issue Three, Page Fifteen

Steamroller Man

Starting from Comic #67: Issue Three, Page Fifteen
Issue Three, Page Fifteen
Surprise! It's another subplot!

As I said in a previous Creator Commentary, I have so many ideas for stories and supporting characters that I feel like I'm not going to get to them all, unless I start dropping seeds for them into the current storyline. So here we are. A spaceship carries a baby towards Earth - I'm sure you can all tell which particular superhero I'm parodying here! Hopefully you're wondering what this particular page will mean for Steamroller Man - that's my intention! A few of you regular commenters have made pretty good guesses regarding earlier story developments, so feel free to make some guesses! Of course, I will confirm or deny NOTHING!!

The plot outline for this page was very simple - a ship flies through space. I was a bit stuck for how to add jokes to that. It's challenging to add comedy to something which is essentially just connective story tissue - like getting a character from point A to point B. In this case there wasn't even a character on the page until the last panel! So I fell back on something I've seen the writers of The Simpsons do in similar kinds of scenarios - sign gags!

Adding signs floating in space didn't occur to me at first because I think I was not thinking "loose" enough, putting mental restrictions and rules on what would "make sense" in space. Thankfully I remembered that I could make this comic whatever I wanted it to be - I was the one making the rules!

The first sign hopefully requires little explanation. The second sign is a reference to a real street intersection in Los Angeles, whose street names seemed quite a propos here. The third sign sprang from the same train of thought - once upon a time, tourists in Hollywood would pass at least one sign advertising street maps of the area with the addresses of famous stars' homes. I'm not sure if this is still happening in this post-pandemic world, but it was once "a thing", and it also fit in with the other two astronomy-themed puns.

Reader Comments

Love this page.
is it Batman?!
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Issue Three, Page Sixteen
Hey there everybody!

When my wife saw me working on this page, she said "Wow! You're putting so much more detail into your pages these days!" I hadn't really thought about it, to be honest, but I suppose she's right in the case of this page! It wasn't a conscious decision - it never is. I just draw the page how I feel it needs to be drawn. It just comes out how it comes out.

With this page, I had to draw a city street scene, at night, and what I had in my head was David Mazzuchelli's phenomenal and definitive work on Batman: Year One. Of course, mine came out completely different, and I'm no Mazzuchelli, but I was at least trying to convey a sense of life in the city going on around Paige and Steamroller Man as they walked.

This meant adding some passers-by, all of whom I designed straight on the page. The challenge was not to have any of them upstage our main characters - the main focus of panel one had to be "Paige and Steamroller Man approach the opening of a dark alley". So I posed each bystander as though they were too busy in their own routines to notice a superhero with a humongous head walking right by them.

This page was similar to the previous one, in that it's also about moving from one point to another. The agenda here was really all about getting to the ominous reveal in the final panel. I realize now that I could have really just used two panels to convey the same information. Why use as many panels as I did? Upon reflection, I believe it was about the rhythm of the page. The British film critic Mark Kermode often uses the phrase "quiet, quiet, quiet, BANG!" to describe the way jump-scare moments are set up in horror movies. Comics can work in a similar way. To paraphrase Kermode, the panels on this page would go "banter, banter, banter, GUN!" which I think works better for that final payoff than would a two-panel "banter, GUN!" The build-up makes the payoff work... in this case. Ultimately I think every comic artist just has to go with what feels right for the moment they are trying to convey.

Hey, if you want to follow the comic on social media, check out the Facebook page, my Instagram or Twitter accounts!
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