Rest For The Wicked chapter 2
I wanted to experiment with a different type of shading, and this flashback scene seemed like the ideal opportunity for it. Not that I made it particularly clear at first that it was a flashback scene; I had people giving me comments like "What happened to Perrault??? Did she kill him???", all worried-like. ^^;;
The title should be familiar to most anyone who's taken English class in high school. Cheesy, but I couldn't resist.
After this page, a few people asked me if I read Sandman, thanks to that "throw them on the fire" line. It was an allusion to an old version of Red Riding Hood where the disguised wolf told the girl to throw her clothes in the fire, since she wouldn't need them anymore. And (like many others, it seems) I first heard of this version of the story when it was briefly described in the Doll's House story arc of Sandman.
There's this little anime series called Akazukin Chacha which is very dear to me. One of the funniest episodes in the entire show was one where the cast (a bunch of students at an elementary school for magic users) go to a spooky campground and end up spending the entire time fleeing in terror from an ax-wielding, hockey-mask-clad, Jason Voorhees lookalike. Towards the end of the episode, the kids manage to lose him, and take refuge inside a secluded cabin in the woods. When they go inside, they see that the wall on one side of the cabin is decorated all over with masks of various types. "Whoever lives here must really like masks", says one kid. Then, with dawning horror, they turn around and see that the other wall is mounted with dozens and dozens of axes...
...So when I first envisioned this scene in my head, it was a rather more direct homage to that scene. I pictured Red's cottage having dozens of wolf pelts hanging on one side, and dozens of axes on the other. I guess I eventually decided that was too silly. :P Where would she have gotten all those axes, anyway? Red's the type who would only need one.
Speaking of axes, Red is sharpening this one because I needed her to have some kind of menial task to be busy with during this entire sequence. Originally, my idea was that she would be patching up her red cloak. That would have been good inasmuch as it would have kept the color red onscreen all throughout. But then at some point I thought, "Hold on, that cloak's soaking wet from the rain in the prior scene; wouldn't it be a bad idea to put stitches in something that was still wet?" (I don't know exactly why it would be a bad idea, but it just seemed that way to me.) "Plus, unless she'd been running around in thornbushes or something, patching it up shouldn't take that much time! And anyway, from all the tattered bits at the bottom, it's obvious she doesn't spend a whole lot of time on cloak maintenance! I need something else for her to do."
Of all the things people ask me about this comic, they never ask what happened to the wolves.
I actually went digging for reference pictures to draw the wolf's head on this page. Do you know how difficult it is to find photographs of wolves actually looking scary? Type "wolf" into Google Image Search and you mostly get pages and pages of photos of big adorable frolicking puppies. Why were our ancestors so freaked out by wolves, anyway? Sure, they can kill you, but they're just so darned cute!
The third and fourth panels here are the first -- and so far the only -- use of cut-and-paste in this comic; though I edited the handle of the axe so the picture wouldn't look completely static. When I first started out I was very anal about doing as much of the comic as possible by hand -- for instance, I still fill in almost all the black areas with a marker, instead of using the fill tool in Photoshop. But for this scene I was doing so much CG work already, I figured, why not.
We never do see Red actually introduce herself. I guess it can be assumed that it happened sometime later? Except that I have a hard time even imagining Red going, "hi, I'm ____," or, "call me ____". Heck, for all we know, maybe it was November who just decided to call her "Red".
It sure takes Red a loooooong time to sharpen that axe.
The little stars are meant to signify pain. Not that she's shooting off sparks.
Although I was fairly pleased with how the soft shading worked out, it was a lot more time-consuming. So I was extremely happy to end that flashback and go back to the old flat shading.
Hmm... come to think of it, Puss had a bag or something with him when they left the Marquis' castle, didn't he? He dropped it on page 44 of Chapter 1. I guess he never went back to pick it up? Well, I doubt he had anything important in there. In hindsight, I think I only gave him a bag so he would look more like he was setting out on a journey, and not just going for a stroll.
If you thought you saw a bit of Monty Python and the Holy Grail influence in those bottom three panels, you'd be absolutely right.
The "rumors" she's talking about are the ones Perrault mentions on page 16 of Chapter 1.
Man, Puss really likes to hear himself talk, doesn't he? His character actually makes it easier to write dialogue, since he naturally keeps the conversation moving and smooths over any awkward segues; but he also makes it extremely hard to layout pages, since his speech balloons take up so much space. X__x
Why yes, drawing all of those roses in perspective was absolutely excruciating! Thanks for asking.
"And so she ran from the path into the wood to look for flowers. And whenever she had picked one, she fancied that she saw a still prettier one farther on, and ran after it, and so got deeper and deeper into the wood." ~ Little Red-Cap, by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
And no, this scene was not the by-product of watching too much Maria-sama ga Miteru. Not at all. Honest! (Later, Red went and stared blankly at some cherry blossoms for about three hours.)
Puss loves to talk so much that he keeps talking even when he's all by himself! Actually it's because, for some reason, I felt less comfortable sticking big clumps of monologue into thought balloons.
Apparently, you check for magic the same way you check if something is real gold -- by biting into it. Actually, I never understood the logic behind that whole deal with biting things to see if they're gold. If it was actually gold-plated lead, wouldn't biting into it be a fairly bad idea? Not that I've ever seen anybody in real life biting coins or jewelry to check their authenticity. But I've seen them do it in cartoons, so it must be true!!!
"The next room was a library, and she saw everything she had ever wanted to read, as well as everything she had read, and it seemed to her that a whole lifetime would not be enough to even read the names of the books, there were so many." ~Beauty and the Beast (Andrew Lang version) The library I've drawn here looks pretty paltry in comparison. Maybe it's, uh... a wing to the main library? Yeah, that's it.
I wonder if the Beast actually reads that book about Eros and Psyche?
"Then there was an aviary full of rare birds, which were so tame that they flew to Beauty as soon as they saw her, and perched upon her shoulders and her head. 'Pretty little creatures,' she said, 'how I wish that your cage was nearer to my room, that I might often hear you sing!'" ~Beauty and the Beast (Andrew Lang version) What, you think I'm going to draw a whole aviary, when I had enough trouble with a library? Besides, a birdcage is funnier.
Designing the Beast was tough. Part of it was because the Disney version is such a great design, I had to make a conscious effort not to shamelessly ape it. I wanted him to look a bit wolf-like (perhaps to make it a little more palatable, later on, when Red just up and assaults him ^^;; ). On the other hand, I didn't want him to just look like a werewolf; I tried to throw in a few other beastly features, like the lion tail and the weird dinosaur legs (those legs gave me such trouble, let me tell you). I was tempted to give him horns, but to me that made him look too herbivorous, and I wanted him to look really predatory.
"'My name is not My Lord,' replied the monster, 'but Beast; I don't love compliments, not I. I like people to speak as they think; and so do not imagine I am to be moved by any of your flattering speeches.'" ~Beauty and the Beast, by Jeanne-Marie LePrince de Beaumont.
And so the
truth comes out -- the Beast likes to talk big and bad, but he's actually
And the Beast doesn't seem to notice that Puss is still calling him "my Lord". I guess he has a selective attention span.
I repeat: those legs of the Beast's gave me so much trouble. What was I thinking? He also seems to keep changing size.
"'You shall be there tomorrow morning,' said the Beast, 'but remember your promise. You need only lay your ring on a table before you go to bed, when you have a mind to come back. Farewell Beauty.'" ~Beauty and the Beast (de Beaumont version).
"'You will not need any chariot to bring you back. Only say good-by to all your brothers and sisters the night before you come away, and when you have gone to bed turn this ring round upon your finger and say firmly: 'I wish to go back to my palace and see my Beast again.' Good-night, Beauty. Fear nothing, sleep peacefully, and before long you shall see your father once more.'" ~Beauty and the Beast (Andrew Lang version).
It was quite some time after I came up with the idea of doing a Beauty and the Beast storyline that I remembered that in the story, Beauty was able to magically travel instantaneously between the Beast's castle and her father's house, and that there was a ring involved. It's not really directly stated in either of the above versions whether the ring was magical in itself, or just part of the overall magic of the Beast's castle. For the purposes of this comic, I decided that the ring itself was magical, because it occurred to me that an item that can transport a character to certain locations over great distances would be an extremely useful plot device later on. Maybe. We'll see.
I'd intended for Perrault's vision of "Beauty" to have those creepy glassy eyes like 1970's shoujo manga heroines, but I didn't get them quite right. I think she turned out rather cute, actually. You can, of course, tell that she's a she because of the eyelashes. (And the ribbon.)
Just so you know, I wrestled with myself for quite a while over whether the Beast would call Puss something a bit ruder. ^^;;
Before this, I also used "Marquis de Carabas" in a short story about Puss in Boots (not at all related to this comic's story); and both times, people have asked me if it was a Neverwhere reference. I am ashamed to admit that I am a terrible Neil Gaiman fan who has never actually read Neverwhere (or Stardust, for that matter); but at any rate, I thought it was well known that this was the name the cat gave his master in the original Charles Perrault Puss in Boots. That's where I got it.
The story of Beauty and the Beast tells us, "Don't be fooled by beastly appearances; what's important is his kindness." The story of Little Red Riding Hood tells us, "Don't be fooled by that nice-guy act; check out those teeth." I guess it's not difficult to see how conflict and misunderstanding could arise...
I'm quite hopeless when it comes to blocking scenes. It's probably related to my trouble with backgrounds in general and interiors/architecture in particular. Most of the time I only have a vague idea of the layout of the room a scene takes place in. So by the time I got to this part, I realized that it would be more dramatic if Red appeared on the second level of the library. But how did she get up there? I decided that there was probably another library entrance on the second level. Somewhere, in a spot which conveniently wasn't visible in the establishing shot on page 29. -__-
Like I said, not so good at blocking. For this whole scene, I needed to draw myself a little diagram to keep track of where everybody was standing, where they would move to, etc. I thought I had it all straight. I got up to about two-thirds through the inking of this page, when I realized that they were facing the wrong direction in panel 3. >____< Fortunately, I managed to fix it using the magic of Photoshop! You can see the original page scan here.
Red obviously plays too much Dead or Alive 3.
This was originally going to be page 42, and this page was going to be 41. See, I really didn't want to draw a fight scene between Red and the Beast -- partly because it was difficult, but mostly because I felt sorry for the Beast. -__- So I planned that the fight would be very short and mostly offscreen. But in earlier versions of the script (I say "script" as if I actually write scripts for this thing) I needed a conversation between November and Perrault at this point. As I worked on the chapter, though, I ended up adjusting it so that whatever important information or payoff I had originally intended to put there was handled elsewhere, so the scene became extraneous. So, it occured to me right as I was inking what was then page 41 -- if the only point of that page was to mention how quickly the fight would be over... wouldn't it be simpler and punchier to just cut right to the fight being over?
See, maybe if I did write write actual scripts, I wouldn't have to waste time drawing pages that would never be used. >__<
Before drawing this chapter, I would never have suspected that designing Beauty would be even more difficult than designing the Beast. I'm still not satisfied with the hairdo I eventually settled on. The problem, of course, is that this whole comic features far too many female characters! Particularly young and attractive ones. Coming up with different designs for all of them is a HUGE pain.
It's time to confess. This entire chapter was basically born out of this one gag. One day, while still in the planning stages for the comic, I happened to be rereading Beauty and the Beast when the idle thought occurred to me -- "Wouldn't it be funny if the reason Beauty finds the Beast half-dead is not because he was pining away, but because Red got there first and beat the tar out of him?" It just sort of grew from there. ^^
Beauty doesn't seem to catch on that there was foul play involved. You'd think she'd notice all the broken glass around him. Unless she thinks that his losing the will to live prompted him to hurl himself from the window (yeah, hurl himself backwards through a glass window).
I actually had an idea for an omake comic in which Beauty looks away for a moment, and when she turns back the Beast is in human form. She screams and starts flipping out about this total stranger and possible psychopath trespassing on the Beast's property, and she kicks him out. I never got around to drawing that, partly because I was lazy, but mostly because I felt the Beast's day had already been bad enough. -__-
Even if Perrault was chivalrous enough to offer November the ring for her own benefit (which he isn't), she wouldn't be able to use it anyway, since it requires the person using it to go to sleep.
Remember that bit in Chapter 1 with November looking through the atlas after Perrault steps out of the room? I'd originally planned for that to be the book she takes with her, which would have led to this scene here, which I'd originally thought would be somewhere in Chapter 1; but I couldn't find any place where it fit, and I ultimately decided that it fit much better in Chapter 2. Good thing the Beast had that big old library, eh? Of course, that left us with a rather extraneous scene in Chapter 1... ^^;;
The reappearance of August and September, last seen on the very first page. I hope to have more bits with the sisters. Though I realize now that August is probably a boy's name, isn't it? D'oh. -__-
At least November's mother is two arms for a change.
The dark parts on the map are not oceans, they're forests. In case you haven't noticed, this world has a LOT of forest.
As I mentioned above, the title of this chapter was taken from the first line of the Robert Frost poem "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening".
You may not believe me, but it absolutely did NOT occur to me until I was inking this last page that the final line from that same poem is "And miles to go before I sleep".
Like I said, I don't plan these things. ^^;;;
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