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3 November 2017

Bad Moon Part 10 - Day of the Dead

Today I'm going to talk about the release of the latest episode in my long-running Bad Moon comic saga: Day of the Dead.

"Day of the Dead" was only ever meant to be the working title for this project. It grew on me to the point that it stuck ;-)

What's the new comic all about? A big clue is given away on the cover with that silver star...

This story is all about Northern Rangers! Woohoo!

Before I go too much further, let me remind you of what has gone before. I can see now (I've doubled-checked and I'm a little shocked) that my journey started in January of 2014 when I published my first ever comic.

"Bad Moon" grew out of a musical collaboration I had been working on at the time with the hugely talented and inspirational "El Pancho". By the way, Daniel is still doing his thing today, performing with his band "BFolky" on the beautiful island of Sardinia. I almost got the chance to meet him in the flesh a couple of months back, but sadly we couldn't make it happen. One for the future!

But wait... I have a picture...

Daniel is the one with the beard... ;-)

"Bad Moon" started to add pictures to the story that we were singing about in our songs. The setting was a bygone location, the time: a bygone age. With a few rough pictures, I aimed to transport us back to the Wild West; A place of few laws and even fewer lawmen. Ever since then the story has been forming and evolving. Little by little the pieces of the jigsaw have begun to slot into place.

This first comic tracks the events that unravel when two brothers head to the west coast of America in search of adventure. Things don't go according to plan and the brothers find themselves separated and on the run. And so begins my epic task to explain what happened and why.

Bad Moon lays the groundwork for everything that follows. In that simple opening comic I planted the seeds from which the saga has blossomed.

After "Bad Moon" I wondered whether there was more to tell. I was pleased to discover that there most certainly was!

"Black Pirate" and "Dead Hand" came next. They created an arc that I was to come back to with "Gold Mountain". This is the story of Mexicali Rose (AKA The Black Pirate) and her legacy. Don't worry, I won't reveal any spoilers here. Go read the comics if you want to know exactly what happens.

Next came another two-parter and perhaps my personal favourites with "Lost Man" and "Damned". This is where things really started to get weird. In these comics I started to do some time traveling and told the story out of order. I even jumped continents and spoke in a foreign tongue.

This was the start of an ongoing arc that tracks the gradual decline of Mr King into madness. Along the way I introduced us to Hans, a man of almost superhuman abilities, and we spent many a cold night high (sometimes literally) in the mountains.

At the time of writing these comics I remember that more music was being produced and more ideas were being woven in. This was a wonderfully creative time for me and these two comics capture a little of the excitement and the madness. I think you'll find that I am growing in confidence and capability here as an artist, and feeling ready to tackle the impossible!

Isn't this typically where things go horribly wrong?

"Skylark" followed and marks a watershed. I had fallen in love with Mexico of the 1800s and took the opportunity to return there with the enigmatic El Pancho. More of his story needed to be told. Questions needed to be answered. For example: How on earth had he managed to thrive in such turbulent times?

In this comic the artwork is completely different to anything that came before. These were my first tentative steps into using colour. Being colour-blind, I found this leap a little bit scary.

I love this story! I loved the story so much so in fact, that I produced an edition in Italian so that Daniel could read it and understand it too. Unfortunately that version is currently only available on Lulu if you want to get your hands on it.

"Gold Mountain" came next as a prequel to "Black Pirate".

It's a reminder of past events, but also a warning of trouble brewing on the horizon.

In this comic I had great fun bringing back the Wild Rover for another outing. He's the only man yet to get one over El Pancho! Isn't it great when old friends reappear. I can do things like this... it's my story ;-)

"Locus Solus" fast-forwards us back to a time after "Damned". Something has gone terribly wrong and Mr King seems to be at the heart of it. Although the story is purposely at its vaguest here, the mood is thoughtful and the artwork is precise with, at times, a photographic quality. This is a scene-setter for a blockbuster ending if ever I saw one!

...the lull before the storm.

Next, I broke my stride and mixed things up a little bit. I wanted to reflect on what had been and perhaps even give you a few hints on what might come. I called the 9th comic a "Factfile" and created a tarot of Bad Moon experimenting with artwork created completely on my iPad. Up until this point, I'd been using my PC, but I found this limiting; I wanted to be able to capture my ideas on the run. It worked out well. I would do more...

And so we find ourselves bang up-to-date with the release of Day of the Dead. Above is the chapter artwork. You may remember this symbolism from the very first comic; Where I told of a battle between El Pancho and three Northern Rangers. You'll be pleased to learn that I have travelled back to this time to explain exactly what happened on that fateful day. You think you already know... but as you've come to expect, nothing is ever quite what it seems.

This is my longest comic yet with an extra chapter thrown in to catch out the unwary. I hope you enjoy the tale. The styling is different to what has come before, but I think it works with the story that I'm trying to tell. All the while I was creating this I kept imagining the comic as a film. At times I was Sergio Leone calling out the angles. At times I was Ennio Morricone tapping out an uplifting melody. At times I was Oliver Reed pissing on best-laid plans and getting into all sorts of mischief. What a film it would make! One day, my friends, one day!

One last thing before I head off into the sunset...

This comic was born in music and this is surely how it needs to end. I am currently considering releasing a number of the tunes referenced in the comics as an album. Watch this space. 

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