As Matt illustrated "Dick Ruby" I started breaking "Hawk and A Handsaw" and while "Dick Ruby" pretty much turned out the way I originally envisioned it, "Hawk and a Handsaw" took a lot of twists and turns. When I started, I wanted to change the style from our previous story. While I went with a mix of dialogue and first person narration with "Dick Ruby," I knew I wanted to have the dialogue alone drive the narrative in "Hawk and A Handsaw." It was a technique I used with "Jigsaw World," and I feel like it gives the reader a more cinematic experience. There would be no glimpses inside the heads of our characters, everything would have to be said or shown. Initially it would be a dark homage to Superman and Batman. Two characters, that would obviously be stand-ins for the two most famous of super heroes, would be locked in an insane asylum. We would witness the sessions with the doctor and by the end, with no proof one way or the other, only the reader would decide if they were actually super heroes or delusional. That was the plan at least. When I started breaking it, it worked. I still think it would make a great story. But I feared it would be too static, too slow, and too talky for a weekly-pulp-cliffhanger serialized story. It would make a great done-in-one for one of the big companies, but for our format... I'll be honest, I just didn't think it would work. I chickened out.
However, the nucleus was still there, and another story took form. This form. Once I made the decision as to the direction, I hammered out the plot which became a parody. A delicious mix of bronze age superheroes with a mix of exploitation films from the 70's. "Hard Traveling Heroes" meets "Shock Corridor" or Blaxploitation meets Batman. I started with a serious but fun tale then threw in the obvious satirical elements. When I gave it to Matt, I told him to "draw it straight and to reign me in where I might have gone too far with the parody. The mix worked in the end. My only complaint is that I wish I had more room for humor. Sure the parody is there, the satire is there, but actually funny is missing (although I did get in a funny sequence in the bonus pages that would be in the print version). Again, character and humor are the first to get chucked overboard when trying to hit that cliffhanger every 4-7 panels. Overall, I think this "world" of heroes would work better in a longer form with a sense of humor like the Giffen-DeMatteis-Maguire version of the "Justice League" of the late 80's. But I'm pretty happy with what we did, it just never jelled like "Dick Ruby" did. I am very proud of the fun twists and turns along the way. At the very least Matt and I showed we can do super-heroes. I just hope we did not alienate any readers who turn to online sites as an alternative to costumed crime fighters. I really do think we managed to put out something different from the standard costumes and capes book.
So to start: We introduce two doctors, the traditional stuffy old guy and the wide-eyed ingenue. Pretty much as scripted. Matt gives us a great establishing shot of the facility echoing a haunted house from a classic horror film and gives the old guy a monocle. Both of which are just inspired choices. I did go a little far with my description of Dr. Peters suggesting a "Hitler-stash," but Matt reigned me in and went goatee (and monocle). Thank goodness. If this ever gets made into a movie, I want Felicia Day to play Dr. Felicity. Maybe we could find a way to put her in a monocle as well...