Crimson Dynamo #3
As with all my “production notes,” consider a “Spoiler Warning” attached. Please read the books first.
is the only issue Tom
Brevoort's office handled in its entirety. Stephanie Moore
would be back on #4,
coinciding with Marvel's paring down of the Epic line. This issue also
featured an artist change, midstream.
Steve Ellis, our artist since day one, informed us that his commitments at home weren't going to allow him the time to do a monthly series any more. We were sorry to hear that - but fortunately, packager Marc Patten's magic Rolodex met the news with a quick answer: Joe Corroney, an artist who'd done several licensed Star Wars projects.
Marvel approved of Joe's portfolio, but even so, we were going to have to hurry to get this issue out. Steve was able to pencil some early pages (and would continue doing covers straight through to the end) and to ease the transition between the two artists, Marc called upon Mark McKenna, an experienced inker, to fill in.
And Joe softened his realistic style to mesh better with Steve's pencils. Many readers remarked they didn't notice (or mind) the change, which is wonderful, as it's what we were shooting for. Joe's style grew more realistic as the series went on — matching the change in mood, as things got more serious. (If you're not sure of the difference, compare Steve's Vladimir Putin, this issue, with Joe's in #5.)
Still, this is the issue I'm most ambivalent toward, in part because of these and other production issues. A font problem screwed up some of the joke captions on the "recap page," and balloon placement in the "embassy row" scenes wasn't optimal - all the sort of stuff we'd have customarily dealt with had we not used up our cushion in the change.
I also felt I'd written a scene, in the railway station, that was, in retrospect, too complicated to stage. (I actually wrote it while riding on the Empire Builder from Seattle to Wisconsin, so I had railway stations in the tundra on the brain.)
Still, there was a lot of fun to be had in crafting this issue. Reality hits Gennady like a ton of armor, and we enjoy torturing him here. There's the transition from the "embassy row" flags to the McDonald's flag — what's a restaurant doing with its own flag, anyway? And we meet Jourdain, the good guy counterpoint to Devereaux, just in case anyone thought we were Franco-bashing around here...
- That's the real Moscow MakDonald's depicted here — sketched in late in the game by the ever-helpful Thomas Mason.
- We leaned a lot on the International Herald Tribune, the overseas New York Times publication, in this series, just to give us some headlines that didn't have to be in Russian. Gennady reads English fluently, so that was convenient.
- North of Lake Ponchartrain, Angel's home of Abita Springs, Louisiana, produces a lot of beer and was the site of the most expensive wedding chapel I've ever seen. (I don't know the name of the place, but there was a reflecting pool between the bride's side and the groom's side. Or maybe they consider it a moat...)