JIGSAW WORLD SCENE TWO (PAGES 4 though 10)
Pages 4-10 introduce our hero and unpacks a ton of exposition. Backstory is key if you are going to have a lead character with baggage. Character depth comes from a history. The two quickest ways address exposition is either to have a news anchor deliver it in a news broadcast (a trick I pulled with the first issue of Destined a story I hope we get to put up soon at Adventures in Pulp) or to have two people get in an argument. Yup, when two people fight everything you ever did wrong will come out in the heat of the exchange. You can watch how it snowballs.
Without a word we can see right off the bat on page four that Dan is a farmer, and not a very good one. On page five we bring in Cassandra and quickly establish that this is his soon to be ex-wife but Dan is resisting the divorce (however he is still very angry). On page six things heat up. We confirm his farm is failing. He was not always a farmer but inherited the farm from his dad who never expected him to keep it. He was an athlete and has issues with gambling. On page seven, we start to give some info about Cass. She's an alcoholic. We restate the gambling issues before we establish that Dan is smart and well educated with multiple degrees and his life is stagnate. I thought by making Dan a gambling addict it could lead to some interesting future dilemmas. Would someone like that take chances that are too big? What if lives instead of money are on the line? Psychologically, how does that play out long term? It's a fascinating character trait for a pulp action hero.
Page seven also had an interesting editorial history. In our first "mature readers" draft, a panel was somehow missed. Instead of re-working the whole page, we added a line to page six and rotated some of the balloons. It worked great. But when revising the dialogue for the web version, I had completely forgotten about it so I was surprised to see how cleverly Matt re-edited the page to get everything to fit. Sadly, it was at the expense of a beautiful shot of Cass. The original colored art is pictured above. On page eight we slow it down and go emotion. Matt really nails the expression. We build on the mystery of what changed, but clearly it had a big emotional impact for Cass (I would give it a proper reveal on page 12).
On page nine we get our first "action" beat. Who guessed it would be a battered husband? We amp up the emotion and reiterate Cass' drinking problem. We hit the drinking problem again on page ten (gee, will that some into play at some point?) but also established the duality of Dan. He's not a quitter even though he appears to have given up on his marriage by finally signing the papers and his farm life is stagnate. Cass literally drives off into the sunset, but it's hardly a happy ending for her.