The Return of Hangman ("Behind The Art")
Oh, you didn't know? There's this wonderful comic book that Telikor produced--funded through her Patreon (in hibernation so I won't link, but easy enough to find) and now in public. So as a Spider-Woman enthusiast, I took it upon myself to promote this project throughout (many pages of it are dedicated on my blog) and I was honored to have a 'behind-the-scenes' throughout its journey. With the comic book now for everyone to see, I got even more privileged to get some commentary from Telk and even got to ask her about some thoughts on certain pages.
With that said, let's go over the questions I asked Telikor and after that, going to drop some of my "favorite" pages along with commentary from Telk (if applicable) and myself. Enjoy!
The Three Simple Questions
1.) What is the worst page for you? Explain.
"Ugh... Worst page."
-Telikor *(And every quoted sentence under this 'quote-unquote' banner is Telikor's verbatim answer/commentary)
Suppose let's get this out of the way. Starting off with the 'negative' and the page that sprouted my want to find out 'more' about Telk's thoughts. I asked her to "explain" why she thought pg. 14 is the worst.
"Hangman looks like a sketchbook doodle. There isn't enough line of action. Not enough tension in his pose. It looks weightless."
I am not an artist by any means in this department (it's why I #commission!). I know what I like and I can point out some odd things here and there, but I am by no means a good judge to give that kind of opinion the way Telk DiD. Having her say it that way, I can definitely see what she means, and in this case, perhaps Jessica's expression isn't fitting for her shock/dread at the situation. Still, the picture is good. It does the job, that's for sure.
2.) Favorite page? And why?
"If you asked me on two different days you would proobably get two different answers, but for now I'll go with page 20."
"I feel like panel 4 became sort of the calling card of this project. On every page there are things I feel like I'd do differently if I tried again, but there's very little on this page I think needs refinement. Everything pops. The vibes are intense."
I have used panel #4 a couple of times before. I can more than say that it has become the calling card in so many ways and it's great. The scared eyes, half the mask, the close-up of the gagged face, the ropes showing ever-so-slightly to tell the world that she is in real danger. Amazing stuff.
3.) Hardest page to execute and are you happy with the final result?
"hm... Page 10. when through the most iterations. There was a lot I was trying to squeeze into one page."
"The passage of time needs to be conveyed by the introduction of a night time sky in the first panel, Spider-Woman's sneaky presence needs to be established. We needed a good view of what kind of new environment this next scene would take place in. And I needed to show as clearly as possible who all these sudden new characters were relying mostly on known visual types like gloves, ski masks, and guns, so you'd immediately they were up to no good and probably the reason Spider-Woman is here, but also that they're criminals, however, organized - not special forces or anything - owed to their purposeful but thrown together and non-matching attire and equipment. I redrafted this page several times to make it all fit together."
You know, it's easy to say that getting this page was 'easy' compared to the rest, but clearly, this is a strategy and care going on without Telk's mind as she was carving out this comic book.
My favorite pages and Commentary
Now, I had spammed EVERY page on the Discord Server I co-run. Every page got a moment and Telikor was kind enough to give her quick thoughts as I copied and pasted. Now, I'm not going to post every page here but I will definitely put some of my personal favorites--which is hard because I love the entire thing. But there were definitely some stand-out pages. Now, let's get to them, shall we?
Many have done it, so few can pull off sexiness as Jessica Drew can with spandex under the outfit under the civilian clothes. It is intimate, sexy, and just downright service-y and I love Telikor for it!
The action sequence is amazing. Reminds me of the opening scene in Batman the Animated Series. It shows Spider-Woman's agility, her venom blasts, and her fighting prowess, it's all on display--meanwhile, there is Hangman with his rope. Truly a great action page and one has to appreciate it because Jessica doesn't get to fight a whole lot. Well, not with this same amount of freedom, anyways.
"I probably could have drawn that sequence out a bit more... but I could say that about any one moment. it's an easy trap to fall into."
Definitely! I wouldn't have minded seeing more of Hangman's puppeteering--but honestly, this page is still perfect the way it is. It DiD what it was meant to do and it definitely tied into the next sequence just fine.
How can this one not be one of my favorites? Telikor harkens back to the (in)famous panels and comic books that ignited the millions and millions' #DiD love and definitely introduced Jessica Drew to many fans. I also love the fact that she gave us different angles of Jess' moments within Vol. 1 Issue 4 and 5. Great stuff. Couldn't leave this page out of the shout-out department!
"Embrace the smoosh! you know how I like my face touching. So domineering."
Gagging by the panel isn't impossible to find in comic books, but it definitely is rare. Also, can we just adore Telikor's genuine Hangman dialogue? Can we? Also, I can agree with the face smooshing.
"The panel of Jess being carried off into the night is one of my low-key faves."
The entire page is just a spiral realization for Jessica that she is not getting away from this reunion anytime soon--or at all. Also, butt grabbing. I love it.
"That's a fun visual trope. A carried damsel twisting around trying to see where she's being taken."
I'm going to talk about it more but Telikor also makes sure to use color as a means to tell the story and key moments of the story. As far as the trope goes within the DiD realm, yeah, this is definitely a fun visual. Something that Telk does well yet again. Rocketeer anyone?
"Fun fact: the direction of the floorboards rotates by 90 degrees after this page... twas the right decision given how it frames some of the future panels and how it might have framed this one..."
I remember when Telk was working on this page; the sneak peek and being asked for some perspective is always humbling and an honor. Obviously, while I adore art as it is, clearly the DiD moment was part of the focus. And even with the finished page now, the 'on-screen-tying' is also a big-time attention stealer. But to have a perspective as simple as the floorboards and how they helped her frame the panels, it's definitely a fun thing to find out about. Still, a fun page.
"This was originally just going to be one big panel, but I couldn't help myself.
I can't help myself from staring.
Gah, Jessica, I wanna squeeze you!
I echo that statement.
Live with me, Jessica. I'll brush your hair!"
This is an artist who shows her passion through how much distress she put her main gal in. Amazing.
"This page was SUCH A PAIN!"
Really? The Special Effects?
"I wanted a big empty space on the page for that last panel, but i really wanted to include the other two, which were perpendicular in orientation which means there was no way to cram them into together. So in the end I settled for fitting Jess into that L-shaped space."
Regardless of the painstaking process, the end result is just beautiful.
"Sudden vibrancy to match the sudden escalation in panic and intense motion."
And rightfully so! Again, using colors to really drive the point! Not only was Telikor able to draw such dynamics into the comic, but using colors to compliment really allows the viewer to really take in the visuals for what they are meant to be. I love this page. You don't see this as often, that's for sure.
"That was me struggling to fill in his dialogue. He doesn't have... range."
That's Marvel's fault.
"But I also didn't want there to be a disconnect between the events and the reader. So I dropped in a little dialogue so it's clear that -No no, Hangman totally has the hots for her, even if he thinks he's being dignified about it."
First and foremost, and the most obvious, how does anyone not have the hots for Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew)? She's just meant to be gawked at and drooled at. Second, while she was limited, Telikor does a fine job in extending Hangman just a little bit more. And face smooshing.
There are plenty of kinks pressed here. Speaking of mine, it's the main DiD idea and, of course, Spider-Woman in it. Of course, the dialogue alone drops a plot point and a kink, then the scene of her getting chloroformed, and the whole nine yards. The whole comic to be honest (there are even some pages that I left alone, that I'm sure, pushed some kink moments). But from Telikor's words:
"The press against the glass was just for me, it was XD"
"You've gotta treat yourself, sometimes."
Lady's got a point!
Well, that went on for a bit longer. I included more pages than I initially thought! If it wasn't obvious before, I am enamored with this project. But I am also very fond of the behind-the-scenes and the thought process of the artist responsible for this amazing project (a common thing for me, actually since I like keeping sketches from commissions). It was a fun ride during the early days and it's definitely neat to see the masses' reaction to it. All in all, I just have to thank Telikor for all her hard work and willingness to give her thoughts and time to me in regard to this. I'm sure Jessica Drew feels the exact same way! Can't wait for Return of Hangman 2!
Until Next Time!