Friday 22 December 2006

Alan Moore's London. part 2

The Hawksmoor churches, as seen in FROM HELL.
I enjoyed composing a couple of pages around the St. George Bloomsbury , using Alan's ground-level shots plus the higher points of view from Downes' book on the architect. Alan gave me enough shots of each church that I was able to tape together big composite images.

St Luke's was actually the first one up, and I hadn't quite got my act together for that one, or felt uninspired by it or something. Also I didn't want the chapter to turn into just a series of architectural studies. Anyway, I've mostly hidden it behind the trees.

St John's Horsleydown was a problem on account of it doesn't exist any more, having been bombed during the war. A new building sits on its foundations. That's Alan at the site, in the red jacket. I used a very coarse old photo from the book for the big shot. It's a good job it was raining in this scene is all I can say.

Alan took enough shots of Christ Church to draw it from every conceivable angle (we were able even to logic some convincing aerial views from the combined information.) Alan has written on these polaroids. Note the one in the middle: "The Portico- See me and Amber on the left for scale." (Amber's his daughter.)

The problem with using photo reference for backgrounds is in making sure everything is in the same key, to make a musical analogy. With From Hell I wanted figures and backgrounds to be in a comparable shorthand. On another book, say Bacchus: Earth Water Air and Fire, I established at the outset that pasted on photographs for backgrounds were part of the style of that one. Within the terms that you establish at the beginning, events are more or less real. I did actually get exasperated from drawing Christ Church so many times that on one page I pasted on a photocopy of a photograph. Then I had to rough up and 'freehand' its outline to bring it into the same key as the rest of the book. I don't think anybody noticed.
(ps. Steve Stamatiadis worked with me as a background assistant on chapter 4, from which all of the above pictures come.)
* * * *
Having mentioned yetserday that the From hell Scripts book is another story, I thought if I do that I'll end up having to tell it. Sure enough, Ron Swintek asked in Comments. I really don't know what the state of play is on that one. The book comprised the scripts for the first four chapters and was published by Borderlands, with most of the running and organizing done by Steve Bissette. It came out in '94, same year as the movie deal was done. It was supposed to be an ongoing series but KItchen Sink Press got all protective and greedy and their lawyer put the heavy word on Borderlands, and told them to stop immediately. It was something to do with compromising a book deal made with Hyperion, who in the end didn't bring out a bookstore edition of From Hell, undoubtedly because the whole thing started spreading into months and years and the hope of it coming out right got lost in the mist between '94 and '99 when KSP went bust. Borderlands were pissed off big time and the implication was that if anybody else tried to do the same book at a later date they would be on it like a ton of bricks. Whether they still feel that way twelve years later I couldn't say. Looking back, what I should have done was lay down the law with KSP, tell them they had behaved badly and if they didn't put things right I'd walk. Either that or go over and tear their heads off. I realized some time back that there is no room for being wishy washy in this game. On the brighter side, I couldn't help reading a page or two while the scripts were in my hand, and it really is a great piece of writing. Sombody should look into it. Soon, though. Some of what I have is on temporary fax paper; we can't depend on Alan having kept it all, and those pages are already lost I'd say.



Blogger Andrew Hawthorn said...

I've got to pick up that hardcover edition that's out somewhere. I don't think my copy can stand another reading.

I love how you translated the shadows in these pictures. Tell me, as someone who took a week to draw a single sad page of his webcomic, how long would it take you to do a detailed panel like that first one?

22 December 2006 at 01:18:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should scan those fax pages quick smart or get Cal or Erin to re-type them.


22 December 2006 at 01:26:00 GMT-5  
Blogger drjon said...

Stop it. You're starting to make me dwell and ponder over the fact that I'm a Bona Fide Legit Publisher now, and that way lies madness... unless...

22 December 2006 at 01:34:00 GMT-5  
Blogger spacedlaw said...

Riveting stuff that, how you gathered all that information and how you brought it together for the story.
Thanks for sharing all this.

22 December 2006 at 01:59:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

In the heyday of Eddie Campbell Comics we absolutely could not be doing less than four pages in a five day week. (writing would need to be done in the evening and weekends). In those days I always worked with an assistant who was more thorough and detailed than myself. We had to stick to schedule and not a minute could be wasted. When Pete wasn't available I brought another fellow in who was very professional but couldn't believe the speed I expected him to work at (he wasn't a comics guy). (so he didn't last long).
Nowadays I can afford to take more time over things.


22 December 2006 at 02:04:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

just remembered. When I drew those two issues of Captain America in 2004, I suddenly had to produce 22 pages per month and it was a while since I'd forced myself to do that. (I'd taken on both pencils and inks, because i just can't ink for somebody else. I need to produce the whole job in house with a helper on hand). First order of the day was to get myself an assistant, and I looked at a few portfolios and oh for the days when Pete Mullins or Steve Stam were available. I found Stewart McKinney, but i think he too was a bit bamboozled by my working methods. But he came through and it went well.

I don't think i could ever face that again though.

(and through the last six volumes of From Hell I was running my own publishing operatiion at the same time, putting out the monthly Bacchus etc.).!!!)

madness I tells ya. madness.

22 December 2006 at 02:18:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

I should have said 'can't pencil for somebody else above there. I noticed the error when my pal Evans sent me an email mocking my idea of hard work:
'We had to stick to schedule and not a minute could be wasted (after the bitterly early start of 9.00am except on morning tea, an extended lunch, afternoon tea when the kids came home and a quick beer or six up at the cafe, you poor wee thing.)"

" for somebody else (or more accurately can't be inked by somebody else, what are all these messy lines that don't look like anything, have I got this upside down)."

22 December 2006 at 15:51:00 GMT-5  
Blogger refoworld said...

Es usted el puto amo, amigo Campbell.

Enhorabuena por su trabajo.

23 December 2006 at 14:47:00 GMT-5  
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