…With that, all is right once again between Cally and Blake! And yes, Blake is still totally clueless with exactly how much Cally could help. Also, if you’re figuring that this page might be setting up something for Vol.2 and beyond, you’re right– let’s just say that Cally “letting” Blake continue on with his Foucault’s research might have some dire consequences down the road.

This page came out pretty great in my opinion– lots of talk-y back and forth, which is always fun for me to write. Basically the crux of this page is the resolution of Cally and Blake’s schism, which I’m actually pretty stoked about since it’s been carrying on for about 2 issues now– it’s time to get back to some FUN Blake again!

 PROCESS!

*One of the cool things about rocking through 4 issues is going back and seeing how much progress DJ has made as an artist– Even just looking at his panel layouts, you can clearly see how much he’s grown as a storyteller.
Check out this page from Issue 1, which is another 6-panel layout, and compare it to this page. One of the biggest things to note is how DJ is varying and overlaying individual panels now– whereas, back in Issue 1, the structure was a little more uniform.
I see it as a level of artistic confidence that he’s gained over the course of the last 3 issues– And that can really only be attained by putting in the time and work between these pages.

* Something else that I really notice going back and looking at Issue one is seeing exactly how comfortable he’s gotten with drawing Cally– I said it back in Issue 2, the moment that I thought DJ “met” Cally– Whereas these days, I really feel like DJ “knows” Cally– Similarly with Blake, Conrad, and the rest of the crew.
Which makes sense, after all, there’s no one on the planet who has spent as much time drawing these characters as Mr. Keawekane.

* Stellar Lisa Moore Colored page once again– The one thing that stood out to me is the highlighting of Blake’s hair in Panel 2.
Lisa has been playing around with a cel-style/animated look on some Spy6teen pages, and I think this is one of the more noticeable moments.
If you compare the lineart to the final colors, you can see how much more depth and highlight Blake’s mane has.

 

One of Lisa’s greatest strengths as a colorist is that she always motivates her Highlights and Shadows– When Lisa colors a page, she always figures out where the light source is coming from– In the case of the above example: The lights in Blake’s house behind him.
Although we’re in a fairly well-lit scene, you can see that her highlights are always consistent with the primary light.

The end result of which is always a dynamic page!

* Fun Brant lettering layout for this page! I did initially worry a bit about the text in Panel 1– after all, Cally throws out a mouthful in the smallest panel of the page. Luckily, Brant had a brilliant solution for it: A double balloon.
Big word-y pages are always a bit hair-raising for me. On the one hand, I really like those “grace-note” trade offs between character dialogues– the “ums, uh, but…, I mean’s” and so ons. In particular, I tend to script Cally/Blake sequences in this style– because, frankly, that’s how sixteen year olds talk to one another.
The danger, of course, is that you can eat up a lot of page real-estate with start/stop dialogue…but man, Brant ALWAYS figures out a way.

 WRAP UP!

There was an interesting write up by Kneon over at Shadowbinders this week– a piece on the voting system at Top Web Comics, that basically explains the mechanics of getting into the Top 10 and exposing the usage of bots and scripts.
It’s a pretty interesting article– and confirmed some suspicions I’ve held for quite some time.

I actually like Top Web Comics– I think it’s a very useful tool for us in terms of new readers finding us, and we’ll continue to use it as such. As I mentioned in the comments section of the write up, I’ve had a few interactions with Richard, TWC’s owner, and I find him to be a pretty swell guy as well.

It is a little unfortunate that some web savvy individuals feel the need to juke their rankings via unfair methods– but hey, what can you do? The way that I see it, you can have a million fake votes to propel you to the number one spot, but if your comic isn’t any good, no one is going to be reading it. So what’s the point? I’d much rather hover in the middle of the list with legitimate and awesome readers who are actually enjoying our work, than have 20,000 robots who DON’T read, voting away.

And at the end of the day, Kneon’s report just made me that much more proud of the fact that we once did this:

And we did it legitimately.

WE BEAT THE ROBOTS, GUYS!!! HUMANS ALWAYS WIN!!

So please, if you have a moment, do drop us a click/vote at Top Web Comics– we really do see a good amount of real/human readers who discover us through the site!

Ok that’s a wrap for this week, gang!! Seeya next week for…

 

PROM ARRIVAL!!!