This is page 32 of my ongoing graphic novel project. I’m particularly pleased at how the outline for the “SWAT” text and motion lines came out. It’s hard to reflect motion against such a dark background, but since this comic takes place in the evening from here on out and I’ll be drawing it with a “day for night” look, it’s good to be able to highlight black text and so on. I may go through the rest of the book when I’m done and add similar outlines retroactively, since it’s so easy to do.
This is one additional page from my graphic novel project (Page 31), plus a re-working of a previous page (Page 29).
Page 31 shows the NCO, whom you may recognize from several previous pages by his distinctive mustache, among other things, squaring his guys away with maximum piss and vinegar, as God intended. This guy, along with the officer, is supposed to be one of the two main viewpoint characters in the book.
Page 29 is the “universal translator” joke (the joke being that the universal translator is a handgun). Reader feedback suggested that the joke was not clear in the way that I had originally drawn the page. In the earlier version, the character was patting the pistol, which was strapped to the front of his body armor. His hand obscured the outline of the weapon and the “patting” motion wasn’t as clear as I had intended. I redrew it so that he is just pointing at the pistol, so it’s more visible. Just to pile it on, I referred to it as a “Beretta universal translator.” Beretta, of course, makes the U.S. Military’s service pistols.
Anyway, there’s an exhausting explanation of a joke that wasn’t all that funny in the first place.
Here are two pages at once from my upcoming graphic novel project. I did them both in one day, so they go up in one post.
Page 29 is the end of the conversation between the protagonist and the XO. He is patting a pistol in reference to the “universal translator,” in case that isn’t clear. I’m sure I’m not the first person to make that joke. For the record, I personally know of no instance where US personnel shot someone due directly to lack of an interpreter, and a surprising number of people learned at least a few words of Arabic for when it became necessary. However, interpreters are a valuable resource. The local national ones have “code names,” in order to protect their identities. In this case, there was already a “John,” so the younger guy became “Johnny Bravo.”
Page 30 is to establish the next scene. These soldiers have loaded up the construction equipment needed to fix the road and are sitting on the side of the trailer, smoking, as the sun goes down.
Here is some artwork from page 28 of my ongoing graphic novel project. This won’t be up on my Tumblr or other sites, but I’m posting it here to show that I did indeed draw it. Later on, I may have to exclude entire pages where the artwork itself will have to be cleared. Not for a while, though.
For those of you just tuning in, read the post marked “OPSEC Note” or the “About” page on the website. The short answer is that some of this book, by law and by common sense, needs to be cleared by the DoD prior to publication. I’m posting artwork as a way of generating interest, but the final product won’t be available until it comes out in book form, sometime in mid-2013.
In this case, as a follow-on from page 27, the XO (on the right) is explaining what has happened in Mosul since the protagonist (on the left) went to sleep that morning. The take-away, for those of you following the plot, is that this is an extensive list of insurgent activities, meant to emphasize the hazards that these people are dealing with on a daily basis. So, it’s an important plot point that’s hard to work around. Naturally, the list is based on my own recollections of actual events that happened, not all of which were well-publicized at the time, although I’d like to emphasize that none of them is outrageously secret in the “faked moon landing” sense. The DoD needs to clear this for publication in the same way that they would a press release or whatnot, and I fully support this policy.