SDCC ’17: The Image Panel With Scott, Grace, Fletcher, Howard, Semahn, Cates, Bederman

by Hannah Means Shannon

The Image Comics Panel at San Diego Comic Con 2017 promised to cover a range of topics including making comics and staying healthy in making comics.
Nicola Scott, Sina Grace, Brenden Fletcher, Tini Howard, Jacob Semahn, Donny Cates and X joined the panel.
Fletcher spoke about upcoming Isola as a “thoughtful” and “gorgeous” book in a Miyazaki style that’ll break your heart. The audience were treated to the first ever reveal of art work on Isola.
The audience also saw a reveal of the covers on the upcoming new arc of Motor Crush.
Grace spoke about Nothing Lasts Forever as a book that encapsulates some of his bad times and “feeling lost in all ways, shapes, and forms”.
Cates is wrapping up work on God Country, and spoke about Red Neck, a story about vampires who have been in Texas since before Texas was Texas. Things going “catastrophically awry” in that book prompts you to consider rooting for the vampires. The fourth issue is out, but he’s written 15, and the book is scheduled for 50 issues so far. He’s going “to stretch this thing out until I burn it to the ground”, he laughed, to applause.
Atomohawk by Cates and Ian Bederman is coming up at Image. Bederman is a tattoo artist and brings a unique art style to the comics. A collection of the comics, as well as a gallery of Bederman’s tattoos, is coming up this autumn. Cates said that since the two of them are in Austin, Texas, they write the story together, and then Bederman starts painting. Then Cates goes back and tries to “make it make sense”. There’s also going to be more Atomohawk as backups in Image + Magazine.
Grace said that working on books like Nothing Lasts Forever balances out the work he’s also doing at Marvel in Iceman. Grace did his own lettering on Nothing Lasts Forever, having been challenged by a retailer to do so. He brings “intentionally rough” elements to the artwork to look sketchy.
Semhann is working with Jen Hickman on colors, and they are very specific in “amping the emotions” he said. Her color schemes on the book are very striking.
Scott spoke about Black Magic, saying coming from penciling at DC for a long time, she stretched her muscles on the book, “playing around with styles”. She came to the conclusion that she really wanted it to be black and white and pitched to use colors as an insight into “what the witches might be able to see that no one else can”.
It takes her twice as long as working on other books to do each issue since she’s painting the whole thing. The colors are digital. Each different spell has a different color and a “different energy”, and Scott’s assistant is really patient with she and Rucka about this. They often don’t know what they want “until they see it”. Scott talked about creating very rough drafts, with no texture, just “shape” and she goes in later to fully paint it. She wants to give the art an “artefact feel to it”.
Howard spoke about The Magdalena, which has a trade edition coming up. Ryan Cady and Howard have been friends for a number of years, and asked her to team up with him on writing Magdalena, she said. They both brought their “pasts” to the comic, Howard said. They “brought back” a traditional property, and they didn’t want to “throw out” the old character, Patience, and just introduce another one. Though this is pretty common in superhero comics.
With Patience approaching the Biblical age of 33, she decides to find and train a new Magdalena in case anything happens to her, since former Magdalenas have died young. Howard wanted to present an aging woman and also one capable of being mentor to another woman rather than having an archetypal male mentor figure. Artist Christian DiBari helped the goals of the team to break with a classic Top Cow style to create something that looked more like Hellblazer.
Fletcher said that the process on creating Motor Crush is similar to their process in working on Batgirl together. Cameron Stewart does the rough comic and Babs Tarr puts her “special sauce on it”, she says. Stewart takes the script pages that Fletcher writes, which are loose, and Stewart then does his version of the script over it. Tarr does a print out of that version and then starts drawing on top of it. Then she adds colors. Letters are added last. It’s an “experiment” that changes as they go. It’s “tightening up” over time.
Cates finished up the panel talking about Red Necks and said that a couple years ago he had a “health event” that really gave him a lot to talk about when he came out the other side. It included a lot of family elements, realizing his role as a son and provider. God Country and Red Neck came out of those experiences. “Monsters don’t have to be assholes”, he concluded, with a laugh.
Hilton Bayfront Bar 2:30-3:30 Saturday Fletcher and the Motor Crush team will be having a “hangout” and selling exclusive merch.

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