Amy Chu and her interns write a writers commentary on Dejah Thoris #8, out last week from Dynamite.
They’re back! I sent this issue to the dynamic duo, my interns Spenser and Alexa, for their thoughts. Here are their questions, etc. about each page, along with my responses.
Cover: Cover is great! Love the framing and the dust-swept Mars landscape, really conveys the motion of it, with Dejah looking off to the distance. The colors are fantastic as well.
Amy: That’s Spanish artist Diego Galindo! I’m also pleased to see that Stephane Roux (my table neighbor at Cincinnati Comic Expo this weekend) and Pasquale Qualano also have their own covers in this issue. I think it’s always nice when an interior artist gets to do the cover. (A little plug for Pasquale — he will be at New York Comic Con next month with Vincenzo Visko Federici and me. A rare moment for you to get your comics TRIPLE signed!)
Page 1: How was it playing with the lore of John Carter and using the Black Martians?
Amy: I really enjoy going back to the Edgar Rice Burroughs original books for inspiration. I think most people know this story from the 2012 Disney movie but it’s really worth it to read the source material from 1917. The Black Martians in the original books were really terrifying pirates, but the lore of being the First Born, the ancestors to all the other Martians, made it really interesting. I was thinking about the Engineers in another controversial movie the same year as John Carter, called Prometheus.
Page 2: Beautiful shot of the ship, you can really get a feel for the size and scope of it.
Amy: Pasquale has a great imagination for this sort of thing. I think you are also reacting to the beautiful colors by Valentina Pinto. I would love to wear this design on a skirt… cough, cough, hint, hint, cosplayers…
Page 3: Very interesting military tactics, says a lot about their strategic know-how.
Amy: Yes, this doesn’t come from the Burroughs books so much, but the product of all my years of watching Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica.
Page 4: Really nice splash shot, it’s like the flyers are popping out at us.
Amy: Again kudos to Pasquale and Valentina. As always, we’re on a tight deadline, so I thought Pasquale would take the easy way out and not draw any Martians in the flyers but he did!
Page 5: You can get a feel for Jeddak’s duty to his people in this page.
Amy: This was an important page to establish Tardos Mors’ character and also his complicated relationship with Dekana Lors. It also goes back to the responsibility of leadership that Dejah needs to learn.
Page 6: Great turn, the fact that their ship can fit into the larger ship is insane.
Amy: Right? It wasn’t that way in the original script. The books treated the Black Martian ships very much like 19th century pirate vessels. But the way Pasquale drew the first Black Martian ship made me think — what if they swallowed them up instead of just pulling up and fighting? How crazy would that be?!
Page 7: The black background really helps pull focus towards the facial expressions.
Amy: I agree. I usually only see the inked pages without colors before it goes to press. I am stunned how well this really works. *blows kisses to Valentina*
Page 8: Even the inner architecture of the ship is massive!
Amy: I am so glad that comes across. This is comics, not TV or movies so it’s really tricky! We can’t pan across or pull back to show the expansiveness of the ship.
Page 9: Bringing up the idea of Black Martians as fairy tales add to their menace.
Amy: This is the great part of adapting original stuff and the lore.
Pages 10 and 11: A ship graveyard INSIDE another ship is wild.
Amy: Again, super tricky to pull off in comics. It’s the IDEA of it that makes it so compelling.
Page 12: This scene helps raise the stakes and further cement the Jeddak’s loyalty. The fact that the Black Martians know their true mission adds even more to their menace, they’re ten steps ahead.
Amy: It’s not just loyalty, but the idea of a leader’s duty and sacrifice for his people. In this day and age, it may seem old-fashioned, sadly…
Page 13-14: The political intrigue thickens! Also great moment to moment action on this page.
Amy: I really wish we had more pages to work with. We could have put in so many layers.
Page 15: Dejah is really coming into her own as a political leader.
Amy: Sudden reality and responsibility in crisis will do that to you. #princesslife
Page 16: The upward angle in the last panel helps convey the importance of the architect.
Amy: Again, I wish I had more pages to explore his character. What we see here is a traitor with a lot of hate towards Helium and the royal family. It will get a little more complicated in the next issue, I promise you.
Page 17: Seeing how Dejah and company plan to get out of these insurmountable odds is interesting, especially after you’ve built them up this whole issue.
Amy: Truthfully there were many moments in the script when I wasn’t sure how to get them out… so aspiring writers, when you build up those odds, be careful what you wish for!
Page 18: Seeing that plan then activate is an exciting climax to the issue.
Amy: Thanks! The problem with these kinds of plans in the plot is that it takes extra time and thought, but the payoff is better than a bunch of mindless action scenes.
Page 19: Action is very fluid and gives Dejah a very righteous moment.
Amy: A cathartic moment for me as writer, to be sure!
Page 20: Great action pose to end it on! Almost looks like a poster!
Amy: Would love to see it as a poster. What a great idea!
This was a difficult issue, one where I almost wrote Dejah into an impossible corner. If you read this issue, I would love to hear what you think. I’ll be at Cincinnati, Edmonton, Baltimore and New York Comic Con in this next several weeks. It’s a crazy schedule for me, but I’ll get to see a lot of you on the road, hopefully. Cheers! Don’t forget to order issues #9 and #10 because the story is about to get a lot crazier!