It’s a random Monday at the end of summer, so let’s read a minicomic. I’ll be posting it page by page over the next week or so, with creator commentary. If you’re not already familiar with my work, this may make a good introduction. And even if you’ve read the story, you may find it interesting.
This is Moab, from 2012, and it is one of my favorites. One of the great advantages of doing Kekionga as a series of independent stories rather than issues of an ongoing title is being able to do an independent cover, with its own title, for each comic. I really like this one which is a combination of the basic “cast drawing” (or “portrait”) cover with a “scene from the story”. The characters are posing as if for a portrait, but the setting and props suggest that we are already in the middle of an adventure of some kind.
From left to right we have three members of the Kekionga core cast: Jack Swann, aka the superhero Foursquare (that is his “everyday” super costume he is wearing) Iowa Ginsberg, a lady and a scholar (and a Librarian’s Apprentice, which in this setting is a bit like being a sorcerer’s apprentice), and Professor Gideon Lykander, the Librarian. If the Professor appears to be wearing a long coat and very little else, there is a reason for that. You may already know what the reason is, and if you don’t, read on and you will soon find out.
The major prop, the Western saddle, was a bit hard to learn to draw. The simplification was the most difficult part– it was actually fairly easy to copy a photograph to make a detailed drawing, but this kind of simple brush outline and hatch inking means you have to get the shapes exactly right without depending on details as a distraction. Follow the saddle through the rest of the story and you may agree with me that this is the best version. If you have to get it close to right once, the cover is a good place to do it. I particularly like the brushwork on the cinch.
The inking on this cover (and throughout this comic) features what I am pretty sure is the first comics appearance of the stub pen, which I really love for inking foliage and for certain kinds of lettering. And of course for outline character work, as in the mysterious bird figure at the upper right. This cover actually tells you a lot about the story if you read the symbols carefully.