When putting together a comic book, an editor hopes that every step will run smoothly, and that each phase involves a creator turning in work that is absolutely perfect. Mind you, in the “real world”, that perfection part doesn’t happen too often. Since every creator’s vision is a little different, tweaks must often be made along the way to keep the creative vision intact from starting point to finished product. As one might imagine, the earlier in the process that revisions can be made, the better. That way, the original creator can usually make the changes themselves; the finished product comes out best, and all parties involved (editors, creators and readers) end up happy. Sometimes- for a variety of reasons (usually related to time, cost, or logistics in general) editorial changes have to be made later on along
the process, and the industrious editor must do the best he can. Such was the case involving the artwork for “Shakedown”, a SHE-CAT story that ran back in FEMFORCE #148. We had the pencils (from artist Antonio Gerardo Ceglia) in hand, but they were not 100% of what we wanted for the story, and Antonio was not available for revisions. We at AC Comics typically prefer to work with VERY strong inkers like Jeff Austin. Jeff is a consummate illustrator, and has the all-around skills and judgement to know where to limit his contribution to adding lineweights and a bit of shading, and where to punch-up the artwork and take over as more of a finish artist. In most cases, I
can hand almost anything to Jeff without needing to give him ANY direction, and the finished product is perfection. In the case of “Shakedown”, the amount of revision it needed varied wildly from page to page, even panel to panel, so I felt that this project might be a little too much to ask of Jeff. And, he was also already working on a number of other stories for the same issue- so I decided to handle the finish-off and inking on “Shakedown” myself. It’s always an interesting challenge to go through a penciler’s work when a job has been rushed or completed under difficult circumstances, and see what can stand on it’s own and what needs a little help. On the first intro/prologue page for “Shakedown” the storytelling was really quite solid; everything that was there worked good. In the inking, all it
needed was some crisping-up of the linework, adding solid black areas and making the likenessess of the “bad guys” different enough from each other to be distinctive. When moving onto the second page (which was actually the “splash page” for this story) , I felt that the angle of SHE-CAT’s leap into the room was too static, and her placement in relation to the villains didn’t play up the feeling of violent motion, so I went back to “the drawing board”, as it were, for a re-imagining of Antonio’s original idea, but from a different angle. I change SC’s pose and lunge, and added lots of breaking glass to convey the feeling that she was really barreling into the bad guy’s hideout and posed a major
threat to them. If you want to see how the rest of the story comes out, check out FF #148, available from our web store. This sort of “on-the-fly” alteration and revision is just part of the normal day-to-day work involved in putting out a comic book. An editor is always trying to craft the best stoty experience possible.