The Letters Page: Episode 239
Writers' Room: Dark Watch Vol. 1 #47
Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!
Run Time: 1:48:47
We start off with a discussion of a particular cookie. We really get into it. This is the Il Alimento episode, if we were just talking about cookies as ourselves instead of in some weird chef character. Sorry about that / you're welcome?
Then! We finally get into this accursed topic! And we craft a story that... we're ultimately pretty happy with? And yet also follows the prompt of "make a romance the fans hate". Enjoy?
At the end of the episode, we talk a bunch about a Kickstarter that we have nothing to do with — we're just into it! We highly recommend you go check out the AEGIS 2 Kickstarter! The game is awesome, and we love it.
Join us next week for an Editor's Note! Join the Patreon to be part of the live recording!
- The goal here is somewhat cursed. Even if they do a good job with the storytelling, the goal is to come up with a romance that the mere pairing is something that would elicit a fan backlash.
- Christopher thinks that they may have already done this. The Firestarter story is kind of an example of this kind of thing, although it’s hard to call it a “romance”. There are also attempted Legacy/Wraith things here or there that are pretty terrible. They agree that to fulfill the prompt of this episode, they have to create something new.
- An important aspect of this might not only be “these two aren’t right for one another”, but for there to also be an angle of “this other person is right for someone else” to annoy the readers. Like, it’s hard to think of a situation where there would be this problem with K.N.Y.F.E. since there isn’t some singular other person people ship her with. As such, the “best” option is probably to do something with Setback or Expatriette, but the wrinkle there is that Kismet is already interfering there. Wraith/Bunker happens too late for it to really have room to be messed with. Fanatic/Ra is an option? Maybe some good Christian guy for her to be in a relationship with and the readership just finds it so boring. Boredom isn’t hate, though. Another way to do it is to go “ethically dubious” which they might want to steer clear of. What they need to aim for is “offensive on a character level” - something where on-paper there’s nothing wrong with the pairing, it just shows a deep lack of understanding of the characters involved. Like, “Tachyon dates a man in the ’80s” is the right vibe (but wouldn’t be right here because it would only be a problem after she was out).
- It’s better if it’s not Hero/Hero. It could be Villain/Villain, but the best choice is probably Hero/Villain. Christopher has an idea for something that will fall apart immediately: during the Setback/Kismet weirdness, Expatriette/Ambuscade. It falls apart because the fans would not hate that. Sure, it won’t last and she and Setback will get back together, but while it’s going on it’s awesome! Wraith/Valentine is already a thing that happened as “the bad Wraith romance” and so using her is difficult. Legacy is similarly off the table. Legacy/Baron Blade is the right level of misunderstanding, but it’s the realm of silly slash-fic.
- Maybe we run with that angle, though. Something weird that somehow slipped through editorial and then had to get retconned immediately. Argent Adept/Akash'Bhuta kinds of things. Oh… how about somebody who is not Fanatic and Apostate? Somebody who is convinced that he’s being genuine as he “tries” to turn over a new leaf. He works for our purposes here - everybody else can see that this is a bad idea.
- Adam has three suggestions: Visionary (the wrench here is that Dark Visionary muddles the waters on how “wrong” it is/how serious to take the attempt), Unity (kind of a bland choice and feels very much like the heroes acting as parents who don’t like their daughter’s new boyfriend), and the one that he thinks is it, Harpy. Christopher’s on board. It has a little of the same “You’re not my real dad!” energy as Unity with regards to NightMist, but they can go super goth-y and she wants to “fix” him. She also has the villain-turned-hero/“you all gave me a chance” thing.
- The big concern here is that some people definitely like this. They already see how this could be a good story, but hopefully we hit the mark on people hating the romance. Taking some inspiration from X-Men stories from their youth, we just have it go on way too long. We just have Apostate hanging around the periphery of Dark Watch stories in this “is he actually for real this time?” status for months. It’s all overwrought, Wuthering Heights kinds of stuff. And the thing is, he does betray them regularly and it’s always played off by him and Harpy that he didn’t mean it and that it’s just really hard for him to not due to his nature, etc. The readers, meanwhile, are just tired of it since they’re not buying it.
- It’s only now that they come around to the whole “he has wings/feathers” part of this whole deal and what that brings to the table in terms of terrible lines because of Harpy’s association with birds.
- They need to establish when this starts, when it ends, and when did people (i.e. Dark Watch) find out that the person Harpy was dating was Apostate? The last is probably the issue for today. Christopher is imagining a period of at least three issues where Harpy is dating somebody, but it’s just this side thing that we don’t really see much of.
- It should end before late 2004 where they have Tome of the Bizarre vol. 3 #200 where Apostate does the plot in the Ruins of Atlantis [see DE “Leaking Room” and “Atlantean Font of Power” which cite that issue]. It also can’t (well, more accurately shouldn’t) start before 2000 when Harpy joins the team.
- Christopher suggests having it run absurdly long. Like late 2002/early 2003 through early 2004 which also overlaps with some notable Fey-Court events and having this Apostate thing overlapping with that is delightful since we can have the Morrigan tempting Harpy with power and whatnot and then have Apostate give her genuinely good advice. He can be a good boyfriend who listens to her problems and tries to steer her in the actual right direction - Apostate as “good for her” is somehow worse!
- Looking at timeline stuff, we have Apostate breaking the Spear of Longinus is August 2002 (Prime Wardens vol. 1 #200 - the final issue of that volume). The important thing to remember is that the Fall of the Prime Wardens was orchestrated by Apostate, but not through his usual deceptive ways. He just saw the cracks that were already there and set them up to defeat themselves by revealing truths. This can be a follow-up to that story. He could even have been dating Harpy already during that.
- So, we can have “Harpy has a new boyfriend” as like a D-plot story around the start of the Fey-Touched Setback era (shortly after the first appearance of the Fey-Court in June 2002 - which was the point at which a bunch of Fey-related stuff from the history of Sentinel Comics got formalized like the Dagda and the Morrigan in Dark Watch Annual #3). They drop this new boyfriend’s first appearance into issue #38 in August (the same month that Prime Wardens ended).
- How long does this go before it’s found out? Adam thinks it actually winds up longer than even the writers originally intended. Like, the original writer who throws in this new boyfriend just had it as a plot point that Harpy was dating somebody in secret but didn’t have an actual plan. Then they change writers who immediately decides that the boyfriend is Apostate.
- Okay, so more timeline options. Issue #37 through #54 pretty much has to be a set creative team because that’s the whole Fey-Court story arc (or at least the former is where Setback gets the curse and the last is where it’s lifted). The whole run isn’t “Dark Watch deals with the Fey-Court”, but they are a frequent and notable presence throughout that run. Okay, so while they’re dealing with all of that because of Setback’s curse and they complain about Harpy dating Apostate she can throw the “Pete literally has a piece of Fey-enchanted gold stuck to his hand!” thing back at them.
- Do we just tell the story of where the relationship falls apart? No, we should do an issue that highlights the romance so we can see just how cursed it is. Oh! This sets up the “Harpy goes into the Realm of Discord to mess with Apostate’s relics” thing even better.
- How do we position this around the Mr. Jitters “Bump in the Night” arc in 2004? Oh, duh, we have to do it before that anyway for the Atlantis reason given above [“Harpy Hex” has Mr. Jitters on it and is in November 2004, as is the Atlantis issue]. Let’s say it’s the same team as the Fey-Court stuff. They happen to be doing one story that everybody is into while simultaneously doing this subplot that flops. Christopher doesn’t mind letting this thing linger, though. It can run through August 2004. We can have these two date for two years. Eh, let’s leave a little space between this and the previously place Agitator stuff in September (and Mr. Jitters after that), so put it in June and issue #60.
- So… Harpy breaks up with Apostate and he goes and sulks in the Ruins of Atlantis for a bit, gets Ra and Fanatic to question their beliefs a bit to make himself feel better. Good stuff. Is he actually shown as being invested in the relationship? Yes, right up until the end where he owns up to doing exactly what everybody accused him of doing - it was a plot of some kind. This coincided with a writer change - the people writing the story of the relationship were making it a thing he was really into and trying to change for. Then a new writer takes over the book and immediately “reveals” that it was a scheme the whole time. There’s a fight and it’s a really unsatisfying conclusion to this story that’d been going on for nearly 2 years.
- That’s a fun angle. Everybody besides Harpy and Apostate are insisting that he’s up to something the whole time, but the writers have the position that he’s not. They make it work so that even if the readers aren’t into it, the point is that things are written such that they’re making good points and trying something really interesting. Then somebody else comes along and upends all of that work.
- They shouldn’t do issue #49 since that’s “the big showdown between the Fey-Court and Dark Watch which is a super important Harpy story”. Apostate might still be around to advise her here, but he should very much be a minor presence in that issue, if at all. Adam brings up that he has a note involving a “minor Apostate appearance” in Virtuoso of the Void vol. 2 #21 that month - apparently in that issue Argent Adept recovers one of Apostate’s relics (the Runes of Malediction). While investigating it, he “unlocks” it and his mind is connected to Apostate’s. The issue largely takes place in “brain space” and the two have some real talk. This gives a chance for the Dark Watch writers to give some input so we can have some details about what Apostate’s actually doing and so we have some actual insight into Apostate feeling that this is a real relationship, so the rug-pull when the new writers take over is even worse as an ending.
- Okay, so the Fey-Curse thing is three 6-issue arcs in Dark Watch (after the inciting incident in Dark Watch Annual). The first is #37-42 and is where they get welcomed into the Court and whatnot, but eventually the Dagda changes the Court from Summer to Winter (in issue #41). Issue #42 has an encounter where Morrigan inspects Harpy’s mask and notes that it’s enchanted to bring doom to its wearer. Harpy also makes a deal with her to gain some knowledge. Somewhere in there Harpy starts dating this new guy.
- The third is #49-54 which starts with that important showdown and ends with Setback’s curse being lifted after a bunch of “fighting” with the Fey-Court (which might not actually involve combat). Notably, #49 involves the Grand Revel which results in everybody being more cursed than they were before.
- Between those we get the run from #43-48 which mainly involves Kismet. Issue #43 is actually where it is revealed/established that Setback’s original curse was due to Kismet. So now we’ve got this whole Kismet/Setback/Expatriette situation playing out at the same time that NightMist is mad at Harpy for dating Apostate. So much great/terrible ’00s drama! Anyway, if #48 is the finale of this arc, we should probably not have it focus on Harpy/Apostate, so let’s do #47 instead as a bit of “what’s the rest of the team up to?” place setting before we resolves the Kismet/Setback/Expat drama. So we will be getting a little bit of NightMist and Mr. Fixer here and a lot of Harpy and her misunderstood boyfriend.
- So now that we’ve got the places set, what actually happens in this issue? Do they just go up into the mountains and have dumb romantic dialogue? Given that it’s in the middle of this story, it should be where we get Apostate being that good/supportive boyfriend. They can even mess with the readers a bit where we can have him doing an aside and everybody expects that the heel turn is coming, but nope, he just doubles down on “Lillian Corvus, you mean so much to me.”
- We’re in the middle of this story that threatens to tear the team apart because Setback and Expatriette are the heart and soul of the team (NightMist is a bit too otherworldly, Mr. Fixer is a mess, and Harpy is a different kind of mess). Something messing with the Setback/Expat dynamic is really bad for the team’s stability. What if instead of an interlude away from Pete and Amanda, this one has the two of them individually interacting with the others with regards to their relationship problems? So, maybe they fight Kismet in #46, but she gets away. Then Amanda is still mad at Pete because “it’s obvious that he still has feelings for her.” Setback counters that he’s with her and if she can’t get over her own insecurities/family issues then maybe they shouldn’t be together. Fine! They break up.
- Can we push on this team even more? Of course! Adam wants the story to be Harpy and Apostate getting the team back together, so can we find reasons for NightMist and Mr. Fixer to also be mad? Absolutely! Man. We’re only like a year after the Fall of the Prime Wardens and were we go messing with another hero team only this time instead of being destroyed by Apostate, it’s getting fixed by Apostate!
- Hmm… we actually need to name Apostate for this story/era. He wouldn’t want to be “Apostate” or “Bezaliel” for this stuff. We could go Biblical here and just go with Matthew. They like that. Done. That’s also fun since everybody else keeps calling him Apostate and Harpy angrily corrects them (“His name is Matthew!”).
- Anyway, the first half of #47 is catching up with what has been going on with the rest of the team. Maybe we have NightMist and Setback are mad at each other and Expat and Fixer are mad at each other. Fixer is actually easy to have mad at everybody in a “you’re all acting like children and I’m done with you” kind of way. That’s easy but we can probably figure something out that’s more personal.
- How about this? NightMist sides with Expatriette. Harpy sides with Setback. The four of them are fighting about Kistmet stuff and Matthew stuff. Setback is leaving and when NightMist gives Harpy grief about Matthew she decides that she’ll leave too. She’s got a big “you think you’re so much better than me/us” angle to her diatribe. As a result, both sides of the fight basically simultaneously get to a “Fine, we’re out. Slim, you’re with us” point - they both think that it’s obvious that Fixer will go with them. He just gives a “No” and walks off from all of them. He thinks they’re all acting like children and are also all taking his presence/support for granted. Of course, this version of Mr. Fixer doesn’t actually say that. But Matthew does - he sees everybody talking over/past one another and he’s going to use his powers of observation and knowledge of human psyches that are normally turned to the purpose of deception to smooth all of this over by revealing some truths. Apostate does couples/group therapy for everybody. And everybody in the comic and reading the comic has that “oh no…” moment when they realize he’s legit.
- Now the reconciliation between everybody is a better thing to happen in #48, but we can end #47 with Matthew’s speech and stunned silence from the four heroes (they have to go get Fixer later since he stormed off already). Oh, so the fight (which doesn’t have any violence) is a big part of the issue and then as Fixer walks away we have Matthew step out from the shadows doing a golf clap, which is such a villain move. Of course he’s engineered this whole team implosion! Just like he did with the Prime Wardens! He starts off with a bit congratulating them on driving wedges between some of the most genuinely connected people he’s had the pleasure of getting to know. Listen to yourselves… It goes on and we get a big splash page with him in a pose that the readers are expecting him to be classic Apostate, but then he gives the actual good advice trying to reconcile everybody.
- They consider moving the Setback/Expat breakup to the beginning of this issue, but it works better as a cliffhanger.
- So, #47 starts with two scenes where they each come back to team HQ to talk to other members. We open with Setback coming to get his stuff and talk to Harpy (and Matthew). Then he leaves and the action stays with the couple. Hard break to Expat talking to NightMist about things and Faye shares her own concerns about Harpy/Apostate. Their conversation includes a bit where NightMist notes that Expat talks about Pete in a way very similar to how she talks about her student.
- The Harpy/Apostate talk is probably a “my whole world is falling apart” kind of thing, like a kid worried about their parents’ relationship. Oh! When Setback leaves Matthew says “my whole world is falling apart” which prompts a question from Harpy - you see, she’s his whole world. Anyway, Matthew starts this off pointing out that she’s worrying so much about these other people and asking how she is doing. She goes into a bit about her having such a tenuous grasp on her life as it is.
- Sitting in the safehouse isn’t right for this, so what do they do during this talk? How about he takes her flying? Absolutely! They do a spell thing that gives her big ol’ magical wings too. They fly around, land on a rooftop somewhere, get some gelato, etc. A good romance scene. We cut from there to the Expat/NightMist “airing of grievances” scene.
- What’s the situation where all 5 team members are in the same place again? Harpy returns to find Setback arguing with Expatriette and NightMist (NightMist is trying to guilt him regarding giving up responsibilities and he counters with how he’s the one who takes responsibility to watch out for people - she’s often too busy with her magic to care). Fixer is just working on a car (okay, so the scene is happening at the shop - that’s sorted). The argument is happening out front, but the shop door is rolled up and we see him in the background so he’s within earshot of all of this.
- They won’t do this because it undercuts the gravity of the scene, but it would be hilarious if we get to the “come on, Slim” “No” part and he just gets in the car and drives off. They’re both sure that Slim probably could drive, but it’s too jokey for the scene.
- Anyway, he starts out in the background working on the car and over the course of the scene he moves closer and closer until when we get to the climax of the fight he’s just standing there. He leaves, Apostate enters with his big ol’ black wings and condescending golf clap. But wait! It’s actually Matthew with words of peace and wisdom.
- Man, they would like this if it was in earnest. And it was! The problem is that he’s inevitably going to be a villain again, so there’s no way for this to have ended cleanly. Like, maybe we could have him do a heroic sacrifice thing and upon his “reset” at death he comes back as his old self again, but that’s not how it happened.
- We end with the big “villain pose” splash page and the heroes looking on in stunned horror at themselves. #48 starts with getting the band back together, complete with resolutions to communicate better in the future, not take one another for granted, etc. Actual superhero stuff happens involving defeating Kismet.
- How are these for arguments that canonical couples have gotten into over the years:
- Dana Bertrand once made the mistake of trying to read Meredith Stinson’s horoscope to her out of a magazine, leading to a long lecture about astrology being pseudoscience nonsense; the lecture is met by cold silence and eventually Meredith has to accept that some people read such nonsense for fun? That checks out as possible.
- Amanda Cohen loves that Pete Riske is so positive, but wishes he would stand up for himself more often, including to her - don’t apologize when I yell at you because I’m stressed, yell back. Stop apologizing for apologizing? That sounds like an early fight. Pete isn’t the type to really yell but goes along with things. We did get to see him show a bit of spine today, later in their relationship.
- Cassandra Lilya was looking forward to introducing her college friends to her new scandalous, working-class boyfriend and expected to be the center of attention; then somebody asked him what he did for a living and he said something about working with trains, then they asked about trains and his ability to talk about them ad nauseam kicked in and his sheer enthusiasm drew people in so they talked to him all evening about his dumb trains instead of talking to her? That’s a fun one. They don’t think it’s something that would show up on the page, but it’s in-character as something that could happen for their dynamic.
- [During the next letter’s preamble they get into what they just made up again: they think that people didn’t like the pairing and thought it had gone on way too long and so was ended so abruptly partly just as a way to move on. The story is probably looked back on after the fact a bit better; sure it was a bad idea to start with, but because it was certainly trying something and was making its case well people could appreciate that aspect, but then it was “ruined” by the ending and so they hate it too on that basis - it didn’t get a satisfactory conclusion so it would be better if it hadn’t happened.]
- How did anyone care for K.N.Y.F.E. and Orbo to be a thing that happened? It helps that it’s just a thing that she mentioned to one-up Captain Cosmic. It wasn’t something on-the-page and so is left up to the imagination as a funny thing to consider.
- K.N.Y.F.E. and Tempest? She worked for F.I.L.T.E.R. and he can’t have good feelings about that, right? She rescued him from F.I.L.T.E.R. - he’s the inciting incident for her leaving.
- K.N.Y.F.E. and Haka? It seems weird to consider him in a relationship at all given that he’s often a fatherly/mentor figure like Scholar - speaking of which, was there some reader-backlash-inducing story where they tried to put Scholar in a relationship? Mentors and fatherly figures deserve love too! There’s also the point to consider that K.N.Y.F.E. being in a “romantic relationship” with anybody is kind of getting started on the wrong foot. That might actually be a good reason for Haka to get involved here: he knows her and what she’s like, so he doesn’t need to worry about forming a long-term relationship with someone that he’ll inevitably outlive. We know that he’s had relationships in the past and that he’s had children.
- Was the hated relationship the one where a writer tried to pair up Darkstrife and Painstake? Well, that was certainly a hated relationship, but they just wanted to make an entirely new one today.
- Did any writer ever try to set Argent Adept up with somebody? For sure. They could totally see the story where he had a mind-meld with Apostate used as an excuse to try to force one on him. The ’70s and ’80s likely had attempted relationships in his stories, but they just kind of fail off-panel since there’s just no room for such things in the types of stories he wound up in. The fact that nothing ever worked was the groundwork for the later decision that he was not interested in relationships at all.
- How about a Mr. Fixer romance, especially during Dark Watch (say, somebody who recognized him from his Black Fist days)? Did any writer try to pair him up with anyone following his reintroduction as Mr. Fixer? They can imagine an early Mr. Fixer story where some old flame shows up. It doesn’t result in a relationship, but comments about how he’s not the same person he used to be. And he agrees that’s true in many ways. It could even be somebody who shows up as a villain in the story.
- We see Maia Montgomery spending time with Mark Benedetto; was that just a one-time thing? Was there anything there other than her trying to get information out of him? How many romantic relationships has Wraith had (with civilians, heroes, or villains) before Bunker? She’s probably had the most relationships of anyone. She’s just been around for forever and the Bunker relationship starts so late. Mark Benedetto was never a “real” relationship, though. She was just trying to get information from him.
- Was there anything else like Bunker/Wraith that had a will they/won’t they thing for a while beforehand? The obvious one is Ra/Fanatic. Expatriette/Setback was as well for basically all of Terminal Ballistics, although with the intention of eventually leading to that (and thus frustrated the readers who could tell where it was going and just taking too long). Adam can think of at least one that they won’t talk about. Unity/Benchmark wasn’t - they just meet and hit it off pretty much immediately. That probably annoyed some people in the context of Benchmark’s whole problem of how he was introduced to the readers.
- Any examples of romances that the fandom (thought they) wanted, but rejected/hated once it actually happened on the page? Certainly not any of the major ones in the Multiverse era, but probably somewhere. Supporting cast member pairings are more likely.
- Were there any examples of writers who used a character as an obvious self-insert to pair up with an established character? Whoever wrote the Ra/Fanatic story. [The joke being that they themselves are the ones who did that. The Metaverse versions of Christopher and Adam were responsible for that story.] For real, though, that’s probably happened. Maybe Sky-Scraper and Theodore Cassell? Benchmark also really seems like a self-insert/editor pet project. That’s pretty quickly fixed, but having this new character show up everywhere and get everything would have been annoying. Having considered that, Benchmark probably is the best example of this sort of thing.
- [Letter praising the mechanical updates for the RCR versions of Harpy with really feeling the balance between control and just yelling “Birds!” and throwing all of her cards on the table] That’s definitely a thing that could happen.
- [Expatriette, especially how it’s obvious now that she’s the leader] That’s largely a function of the fact that “Dark Watch” wasn’t a thing until after she was already out in the pre-Definitive Edition form.
- [and GloomWeaver who seems much more dynamically and menacing now] Yeah, they wanted to improve how he played.
- [And art, especially the Chairman’s deck that just feels like a bunch of the comics in the back of a comic shop’s long boxes] Adam likes that one too. Thanks so much!
- Who’s style are you mimicking on the back of Dark Watch Mr. Fixer’s character card? David Mack.
- So, in Cosmic Contest we hear about Apostate being destroyed by Progeny but we also know that Jansa’s doing some preservation stuff and everybody but Progeny, Bugbear, and Baron Blade get basically “reset” after they lose a fight; but we also know that when Apostate “dies” he just moves on to possess a new body - did the dead person who’s body Apostate was using at the time resurrected at the Enclave? Were there 2 Apostates for a while (the “restored” on in the Enclave and the one created when the Host spirit had moved on)? Did he just return to the restored body? They love the idea that this wouldn’t have been answered in the Cosmic Contest book because it just wouldn’t have been (no time/page space to spare), but that some other book around that time has a shot of this guy waking up at the Enclave having no idea what happened to get him there. The real answer is that it’s probably just not discussed, but Christopher really loves the idea that it’s the first option.
- You said that Rook City doesn’t really have a tourist industry, but a city that size has to have something, so what does it have that might qualify? Historical buildings? Parks? Notable street art? There’s big skyscrapers and you can probably take a Rook City History Tour (and especially a Ghosts of Rook City haunted tour). It’s just such a dangerous place that there’s a lot of incentives to not go. Think about going to Detroit for tourist reasons - there are some things of interest, but it’s just not a big part of the city’s vibe. [They anticipate people writing in to tell them about how wonderful Detroit is as a tourist destination.] Let’s see. There’s probably an Overbook Family history thing. There’s got to be a museum because criminals need a place to steal things from. It’s not none, but it’s low on anybody’s list of destinations.
- Expatriette, Setback, and Mr. Fixer are more street-level heroes and NightMist and Harpy are focused more on the magical end of things; given that your approach to the Dark Watch Villains episode was to create a foe with a connection to a specific member rather than a foe for the whole team, is this split between mundane and magic sides of the team with the other side playing support in any given story how things usually go in their stories? Yeah, you’re pretty spot on there with the exception of the Fey-Court stuff. Sure, it’s a lot of magical nonsense, but Setback is heavily involved in the proceedings there. Plague Rat is another “everybody is involved” fights. Weird urban monsters are pretty unifying for them.
- If Biomancer made a flesh child of Apostate, how would Apostate react? Depends on how good a copy it is. In most cases he’d thing that this is great. There’s another option where Biomancer does a poor job intentionally to mess with Apostate.
- What goes into choosing a character’s color scheme? Are there more “heroic” or “villainous” colors? Is it more about the pattern? There are generally more heroic of villainous colors. You tend to skew towards more primary colors for heroes and secondaries for villains, but that’s not a hard and fast rule. You’ve also got to consider what you’re trying to convey with their look as well. Spite has a red mask because you want to evoke “blood”. Baron Blade uses purple and red or purple and green that just read (in our cultural visual language) as “villain colors”. They Fey-Court is also all purple and green. There’s nothing inherently villainous about those colors, but it’s just the way that our cultural background has coded them over the years. That being said, the exact shade chosen makes a difference too. Naturalist’s green costume isn’t particularly villainous, but GloomWeaver’s green fire is.
- While Baron Blade’s use of royal purple and Doctor Toxica’s toxic-spill green are fitting for their characters, Busybody’s purple and green just seems sort of… generic? What went into your decision for those colors for her? That kind of cliched “purple and green for villains” thing was something they hadn’t really just done for somebody yet. Sure, Baron Blade has purple, but he’s got other stuff going on too and the Cult of Goom has purple robes and green flames as their motif. Busybody is different all the time. Like, her cybernetics are constantly doing stuff and combining/separating so she can look pretty different panel-to-panel, not just between stories. She is trying to evoke a demonic feel. Something Adam did for the cover image was to first sort out which parts he wanted to be lighter or darker and then playing around with which actual hue to apply until he found one that looked “right” for her, and this was it. He took a similar approach to the Fey-Court (look at Lugh’s beard for an example of him trying things until he gets it right).
- Christopher’s idea: it should focus on Harpy and Matthew, but shouldn’t spoil the resolution (or even the conflict, really). The cover should just be a cool shot of the two of them flying together with “Birds of a Feather” on there.
- Adam’s idea: He has a specific Final Fantasy X art by Joe Mad in mind. He can kind of do a blend of the context (flying, etc.) with this composition as a basis. Really lean into the “romance novel cover” thing.