Newsletter #6 Now Eisner Flavored!
I know we said Tuesday...but Friday is like the new Tuesday amirite?!
Here we are again. Thanks for coming back. I’ve got an extra special treat for you…well, actually two. Let’s get into it!
First things first. BLACK WIDOW got nominated for an Eisner for best new continuing series! WOOOO! There are a lot of terrific books nominated this year, so if you’re eligible to vote (it’s open to comics professionals of all stripes) voting is now open - and it closes June 30th so don’t delay!
What I’m Doing!
Nothing to report as far as new books. Let’s move on to Other Times!
Next week (6/23/21) we’ve got the long awaited return of Captain Marvel with issue #29. There’s a great preview up on Multiversity. Make sure to pick it up as Carol continues her ill-advised magical journey.
And the last week in June (6/30/21) please look for Black Widow #8! And add it to your pull list - we’re an Eisner nominee now, you’re not gonna wanna miss out!
And in early July (7/14/21) look for the new edition of of Heart In A Box by me and Meredith McClaren. <3
So this is a special section this week. I’ll try to do it from time to time if you dig it, but it won’t be a weekly thing. In honor of Elena Casagrande being an absolute badass, our Eisner Nomination, and people’s real excitement over the spectacular action spreads we’ve been doing in Black Widow since issue #1, I thought I’d show you a peek behind that process.
The style we use for these spreads might be best called a version of The De Luca Effect (named after Gianni De Luca) which includes repeated images (typically characters) depicting movement through time/space within the same scene or background. The De Luca Effect would use no panels/borders. So Elena’s spread in Black Widow 3 is a great example of this, while the spread in Black Widow 4, though similar stylistically to issue 3’s spread, TECHNICALLY would not be considered De Luca Effect as it uses more traditional panels to break up the action.
I love this stuff!
Anyway, the De Luca Effect is a technique that I love and I write it into A LOT of my books. If you look back at my work, you can see examples of it as far back as Hawkeye #2 (Leonardo Romero & Jordie Bellaire). I continued writing it into Hawkeye - big spreads in this style definitely appear in both Hawkeye #7 (Leonardo Romero and Jordie Bellaire) and Hawkeye #12 (Michael Walsh and Jordie Bellaire). I also wrote it into Mr. and Mrs. X, Captain Marvel, Deadpool, and even Spider-Man (Spider-Man Full Circle).
I kept writing it into my books because I love the technique, but also because I became fascinated by different artist interpretations of the technique. It was so exciting to see how different artists approached it. That said, while I have loved all the takes I have seen from the terrific artists I’ve worked with, nobody has leaned into it as much as Elena - what she did with that first hallway scene spread in Black Widow #1 told me she was going to absolutely excel at this - and so I began writing at least one spread into every issue - and it became part of the book’s identity.
My only concern at this point is that Elena’s going to hurt herself by outdoing herself every time! Anyway, let’s take a look, shall we? Starting with the script.
What you have below is the script for the DPS action scene in Black Widow #3. You may find it differs slightly from the final text you read on the page, because this is what Elena gets. THEN she works her magic, and when she’s finished it comes back to me and I do a lettering pass on the script, adjusting the script for the letterer so that it reflects the final artwork correctly. And then after all of it is put together I do a proofing pass, where things might change a bit again (although hopefully only slightly at that point).
As Elena and I have worked together more and more, I tend to be less specific in the actions — I’ll make suggestions of what the actions could or should be, and I’ll note if there’s anything that HAS to happen on the page, but largely Elena’s instincts for the pages are magnificent — she GETS IT. Below are her process pages from layouts to final colors for the spread from Black Widow #3:
When I decided to do this process section for this week, I asked Elena if she’d be into doing a bit of a back and forth between us about some of her process in a future installment, and she was into it, so look for that in a future newsletter!
I don’t know that this belongs here…but it makes the most sense to me of all our options without creating a new category, so here goes.
My webstore has been updated. There are a few new floppies for Black Widow and Captain Marvel in there and a few new trades, as well as VERY cool Black Hammer floppies. I’m still trying to get more trades in stock but it’s been…an adventure. Also as promised, here’s a promo code for $5 off any order (valid through 6/25). Just enter it at checkout: NEWSLETTERSRULE
Unfortunately my sneak peek for Captain Marvel #29 ended up in the preview pages I linked to above, but I’ll put it here anyway because I love it. Such a wonderful example of the beauty of comics, how everything comes together to create a scene, even just a simple one like this. Special shout out to Clayton for the lettering in that second panel.
And here’s a snip of some art from Black Widow #9 by Rafael De Latorre. So gorgeous!
WHAT I’M DOING
So, I actually ingested a ton of great movies/TV last week…enough that I think I’ll save a couple for next time. I didn’t read enough comics (as usual) but before I started this newsletter I read the incredible MAGGY GARRISON by Trondheim and Oiry (SelfMadeHero). It’s absolutely wonderful. It’s about a woman (Maggy) that ends up sort of by accident/desperation working as a P.I.’s assistant to make ends meet, but then turns out to be quite good at being a P.I. herself. I won’t spoil anything here except to say that I was enjoying it immensely even before the excellent way everything draws together at the end. Landing the dismount is honestly one of the toughest things for any creator I think…and this does it and then some. Just elegant and so satisfying.
So I am a huge fan of this actor/writer/creator/etc named Paul W. Downs. You might know or recognize him as Trey Pucker from Broad City. Anyway, Adam and I were trying out a new show called HACKS (HBO) and the only thing I was disappointed about was that he wasn’t in it more (he plays Jean Smart’s agent Jimmy)…and then I looked into it and saw that he co-created the show…which is amazing. I still say MORE JIMMY, but I have accepted that a little Jimmy is enough. The show is terrific - funny, smart, emotional, moving - all the good things. And while we’re here can we just acknowledge that Jean Smart is KILLING IT. Who knew this was the age of Jean Smart?! Fargo, Legion, Watchmen, Mare of Easttown, and now Hacks…all in the last 6 years. An incredible run of monster performances.
We also watched, and were floored by BO BURNAM INSIDE (Netflix) which just released and…I don’t even know if I can explain the experience of watching it? It was somehow everything I needed after such a surreal and scary year. I really can’t even begin to express how much Adam and I loved it, and also how surprised I am that someone actually managed to make “quarantine content” that isn’t ridiculous or gross or dated or seen-it-all-before. This is wholly original and I don’t really want to say important…but I think maybe it is?
Thank you for your questions! I’ll answer one below, but I also decided, rather than threatening you guys with the erasure of the Q&A I’ll take a lighter approach (this is the new gentler me!) and just do the Q&A when we have questions…and when we don’t…I won’t. Cool, right?
FROM DAVID LOZANO: 1) since you’re writing both BW and CM will there ever be an arc/issue where they take over each other’s titles? 2) Or at least cameo in them? 3) [depending on how this next arc goes] is there any chance Amora shows up/gets invited to Carol’s next group hangout? and 4) Will Nat and Yelena’s new charge be a permanent addition to the cast or is this arc really it?
1) No, probably not.
2) Maybe? Would have to be the right fit and so far that fit hasn’t been right (well, except in CM 6 and CM 7 where Nat guest-starred).
3) There is definitely a chance Amora shows up…but ZERO chance she was invited.
4) Yes, expect to see more of Lucy (and Anya) as we press forward! It’s always going to be BLACK WIDOW first and foremost, but Lucy’s here to stay for the foreseeable future.
Since I’ve got roughly a billion photos of the boys from when they were babies, I thought we’d do a few more from the past before we catch up to now. This is from the first week we had them. Also, I heard Ed Brisson’s newsletter didn’t even HAVE a picture of Lasagna this week! SCANDALOUS.
Okay my lambs, that’s it for this week. Be good to each other and read more comics! <3