Obviously X-Men is a superhero genre book, but it's always had a sci-fi edge to it and it was that aspect that I wanted to emphasize. And with this story taking place in space, emphasizing it as a space sci-fi was a natural.
You might be wondering what I mean when I say that I wanted to emphasize the space sci-fi aspect of the story. Isn't the story just what it is? If the writer writes a sci-fi then it's a sci-fi? Well, yeah, but sci-fi's, especially space and futuristic sci-fi's, have a particular way of depicting things and telling story. Think of Star Wars, or Blade Runner, or Alien and think of the big moments that you are meant to pause and soak in, the big impact moments. Those moments are giant amazing space ships, flying cars zooming over expansive cities, strange ship interiors, they're settings, they're things you've never seen, they're the world. Now think of the big moments in the Superhero genre. They're one guy punching another, the villain once thought dead has returned, the hero is facing death at the hands of the villain, the big moments are characters, they're action. One genre emphasizes the world and the other emphasizes characters and not just characters, but the power and violence of characters. Not to be confused with emphasizing character, which is something the better superhero comics do a bit of. But over all, with some exceptions, the world superheroes inhabit isn't made to be very important... I wanted to make the world in Kingbreaker important, emphasize places and things... On the other hand, I also wanted to definitely have those superhero moments... It was a constant balancing act.
When an issue that I've drawn comes out I've always liked to keep up with the message boards and see what people think. When people like something I've done it gets me pumped and excited to hit the drawing board and produce more. For Kingbreaker issue 1 the reaction was overall favorable. But when Issue 2 came out it was a different story. It wasn't the message boards that were so bad. It was the review CBR did. It was not a good review. I read the review the morning on the day the issue came out without having seen the issue yet. It kind of killed me. I hadn't read a review like that for any of my previous work. It really knocked the wind out of my sails. At that time I was just starting issue 4 and it took me a few pages to get my confidence back. I don't really like the first few pages of that issue, but once I recovered from that I started to like drawing again.
Here are a few pages from issue 4.
Over all, Kingbreaker was a lot of fun. It was exciting to do my first work in the X-Men universe, the universe that got me into reading comics. And despite my spirits getting killed and the regret of not being able to finish all of issues 3 and 4, I like it. And I like issue 2.
Here are some more sketches. Also, the piece at the top of this post was a commission I did at the Emerald City Convention last month. Thanks to Eduardo for e-mailing me a copy.