Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #5
"commencement" PART 5
As with all my “production notes,” consider a “Spoiler Warning” attached. Please read the books first.
issue featured the work of fill-in artist Travel Foreman, helping us to
keep the series on schedule (and, indeed, the issue came out as
planned). The scheduling problem that cropped up was my doing,
essentially – in that I came up with the suggestion to do a
promotional comic Knights of the Old
after we were already midstream into the production of the monthly
series. Brian Ching very quickly shifted gears from the middle of
“Commencement” to work on “Crossroads,” but the time involved
necessitated bringing a guest artist in for #5.
Fill-in art is a fact of life in comics, going back to the beginning. To the date of this posting, in fact, I haven’t yet done a six-issue stretch with an artist that didn’t need at least a fill-in inker (as in the case of Jorge Lucas in Iron Man #76) to help out for one reason or another. Again, this time, the reason can be traced back to me! Thanks again to Travel for the save – again, this issue came out right on time!
The vision sequence is the heart of the issue, of course, and Travel took my advice to head into a serious Steve Ditko direction with it. (The spiral staircase looks like something out of an old Doctor Strange story!) It’s quite different from the usual sort of vision or dream sequence – in part, because what we’re seeing is a vision experienced in gestalt, by more than one mind at once. Note especially the white-on-black imagery from the Force-sighted Q’Anilia, concluding with the color from the “Red Menace.”
I toyed with depicting exactly what Elbee would see – and what Gryph referred to seeing in the hologram: namely, the Masters running around swinging at the air, responding to what they were seeing in their vision. But we had already done a POV trick going from the hologram to the flashback – and I figured going in one more level would give readers a chance to see something of what the Masters were concerned about. (Now, you all get to try to interpret it! Heh, heh, heh!)
Seeing the final scene of this issue in print reminded me of a comics scene I hadn’t looked a quarter of a century. Way back in X-Men #114, Storm accuses Cyclops of not having really loved Jean Grey because of his inability to mourn for her; she turns her back on him and walks away, leaving him speechless. The dialogue and contexts here are completely different – and of course, this scene ends differently – but I have to say I learned a lot about comics drama from reading Chris Claremont, so if there’s a little subconscious inspiration there, so be it. I’m pleased to have any kind of nod to him in my work.
- There’s no one on board the Taris police carrier when it’s shot down; as the lieutenant says, it’s in hover mode, waiting for them. (As Zayne says, “I didn’t kill anyone before, and I’m not going to now.”) I figure with the gravities involved, it's probably easier not to make landfall on the Rogue Moon.
- That’s a magnetic suction tube – as seen in Episodes IV and VI -- that the Last Resort uses to grab the Elbee parts from the surface – and to quickly re-embark Zayne and Jarael. I figured if there was ever any piece of equipment a junk-hauler would have, it’s that!
- Camper doesn’t do much mad-mumbling, as I call it, this issue – he’s pretty focused on the task at hand. For him, that is!
- While Elbee’s name directly refers to the “loader, bulk” classification – there’s another, very trivial, link. I’m waiting for the first person to get it to post the answer…
- Raana Tey has to have an extra-large helmet for those horns of hers, doesn’t she?
- Camper’s explanation of Elbee’s mental functioning suggests his original programmers knew a little bit of Asimov’s Laws of robotics. Are the laws in the same order in the Star Wars universe? Inquiring droids would like to know...
- People have been waiting to see a little trademark Snivvian moodiness from Gryph; here's their chance!
- While this issue went on sale in the United States in June, it's actually considered a May-shipping issue. Memorial Day shifted new comic-book day one day later in the States.