Monday, March 7, 2016
Entry 281: Blast From the Past- Part 21
This blog hasn't become exclusively about my older work. I swear I'm working on new things. I've got like three projects that I'll be able to talk about real soon. There are exciting times for any fans of my work right around the corner. But while we wait, let's get another Blast from the Past entry done.
At the San Diego Comic Con in 2004 I was back to spending some amount of my time there trying to get work. I stopped by Lee Bermejo's table to say hi and he told me that there was a new editor named Jeremy Barlow at Dark Horse working on Star Wars Tales and that he was looking for artists. He suggested I show my work to him. So I did.
I soon wrapped up my work on The Tenth Circle. I had also moved out of my Grandparents house and was now living with a girlfriend. I was working on my Wildcats pitch and issue 4 Assassins Guild pages. I was out of money. I started drawing pieces to sell (I'll show that stuff next time).
But just then Jeremy Barlow and Dark Horse came through for me. I'm not sure how much my connection to Chris Warner and my having done a little fill-in on Alien Vs. Predator played into my getting a job through Jeremy, but I think it must have a little.
Jeremy offered me a 22 page story in Star Wars Tales. At first, I had no idea what the story would be, but in my excitement I started thinking a lot about Star Wars. In typical "Dustin" fashion, I started getting ambitious. I thought I soon would exploit this contact and try to pitch a Han Solo series. I stared drawing a bunch of Han Solo stuff.
But then I learned what my story was going to be. Jeremy sent me an outline or something and I immediately shifted to doing concept art for it.
I wanted to make the lead character a woman of color but I later learned that I couldn't because she was supposed to be related to a white character. I also wanted to have a four armed Jedi (this was before General Gievous) but I later learned that I couldn't because that characters species was already defined somewhere though he had never been seen. I created a ship design that I really liked but I found that the ship hardly appeared in the story, so I didn't use the design. (I later used the design in a different Star Wars comic.)
Also, in the story was a cave dwelling monster that sucked the force out of Jedi. I envisioned it as a giant bat like creature but later learned that it had an established look as well. Here is my original design.
I really loved this bat monster. I had always hoped to use him in a different Star Wars story but the opportunity never came.
I haven't even gotten to the actual comic yet. Let's get to that.
So Jeremy told me that they were hiring me for just pencils and that they'd go straight to color with out being inked. At that time I hadn't seen pencils to color look very good. I firmly believed that ink was the only way to go in comics. (It's ironic seeing as how I've been doing pencils with out ink for the last couple years) So I told Jeremy that I'd ink my own stuff for nothing extra and, because I was really digging working with markers, I asked if I could render the whole thing in grey tones. He was cool with that. I wanted to control the look of my work as much as I possibly could.
My marker rendered pages were colored by Mike Atiyeh and here are the results.
I actually really like this comic and the kind of painterly effect.
This story was published in Star Wars Tales #23 and also appears in Star Wars Tales Vol. 6.
And thus began my time working for Dark Horse.