Monday, October 19, 2009

From the Archives: Loyalties

This week, the second of three 1980s-era Rob Hanes Adventures stories begins serializing at my webcomics site, New pages from the 12-page story will be posted three times a week on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with the third story commencing on November 16th.

As noted in my previous posts, these stories were the first I completed that were intended for publication as a comic-book series. Though not representative of my current abilities or drawing style (nor part of current series continuity), they are being released at as webcomics to give readers a sense of how far the series and me have come since these early days.

As will become clear once all three stories are posted, the stories form a mini-arc for the character: the debut story introduced the character and defined his place within the Justice International detective agency and his relationship with the other private eyes; the second, "Loyalties," which commences this week, builds on that foundation and by the end propels the character onto a more international setting, which always has been my main intent with the series; and the final story in the trilogy, "Koman," is the first that features Rob caught up in overseas intrigue.

My goal in these early stories was to show Rob at odds with an agency made up of Cold War-era warriors, and the product of a generation less doctrinaire and absolute in its view of the world. That attitude would be put to the test as he moved to a global stage and confronted real-world dilemmas and situations.

This second story, "Loyalties," is another fairly tightly-written story. I was obviously still finding my way as an artist and a storyteller—for the most part, the storytelling and layout is fairly functional and straightforward, with not a lot of vibrancy. In re-reading it, I can see how I should have used the layout more to pace the story a little better.

Though the character is "done in one," at the time, I did like the character design of the story's main antagonist, Marty Hexam. The female lead, Audrey Hollister, is another character I had developed quite a while before beginning work on these stories as a possible love interest within the detective agency, but she has yet to appear again in the current series.

With its focus on Middle East unrest, "Loyalties" sadly remains somewhat prescient today—suicide bombing was already a feature of the Middle East conflict in the 1980s, though not as predominant, I believe, as it is today. This aspect of the story also offers a preview of what's to come in the series, which I will touch on when I discuss the third stories in the series, "Koman," which begins November 16th.

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