About Nailbat: Final Journey #110
You can see this page at its permanent location at http://www.antibunny.com/d/20140922.html. From the very beginning of the Nailbat saga this event was going to happen one way or another. I subverted traditional narrative structure by informing the audience, and even the protagonist ahead of time how things were going to end. This makes the story much less about the ending, as it is about the journey there, and with the question of "what" answered up front, the remaining question that everyone was asking is "how." I'm going to take a moment and talk about what lead up to this page, and how this page came out like it did. To be honest, even I was unsure exactly how events here would play out, and I went over a wide number of scenarios before I decided on just how Nailbat would meet his end. Here are the major contenders. On a hospital bed of cancer: This was actually the original concept. I threw out the cancer sub-plot idea before ever going to paper with this idea, but it was originally planned to be a running part of the story that would always have been there. The main reason I didn't go with this, is because I opted to work in more supernatural elements to make it mesh with the Gritty City Stories, and build elements that would become part of that story later on. This would have been the way I went if Nailbat had been a stand alone story, but ultimately it's an entry that expands a bigger world. Unexplained heart failure: This was the second idea. That Nailbat would simply drop dead when his time ran out. Ultimately I thought this was a weak choice and quickly abandoned it, since it didn't really have a pay off. Killed by Knell: Though his eventual team up with Knell was inevitable, there was a plan I considered for some time where Knell is the one who does it. In this scenario Knell's psychological conditioning would have been touched on more. In this in a final desperate act Malphas makes use of post hypnotic conditioning to order Knell to shoot Nailbat in the back. This idea I didn't go with because it simply was too cruel to Knell. Gunned down by a swarm of robots: In this scenario Nailbat charges a final army of robots and is gunned down in a big final battle. Obviously this would result in Malphas winning, so it couldn't mesh with the rest of the story. Death by exhaustion: The last version I would have gone with was that Nailbat simply pushes his body beyond the breaking point and drops dead after the final battle. This simply didn't work in the medium of comics. Perhaps in animation, but comics make use of an abbreviated timescale collapsing sequences of events into single images to imply motion in an image that is its self motionless. I just couldn't think of a way to depict this in a comic and not have it be confusing. Ultimately having Malphas deliver a desperate sneak attack after having his plans crushed and having been defeated was the way I went. How this will wrap up, you'll see in the next few pages. Now in page 110 I wanted to mention a few things. When it comes to comics, one has to consider that there are lots of ways you can portray the same event. Without actually changing any of the events of this page, I redrew two panels in order to better present this concept. The center panel was the first to be changed. The original drawing had a front view of maskless Nailbat from the waist up glancing down to see something sticking out of his chest. The object he was stabbed with was also changed. Originally it was the nail from the bat that broke during their fight. The reason for this change was that the nail was too small to be convincing as a fatal blow, so I went with the bigger piece of debris, that is implied to be a larger fragment of the broken bat. The reason for the change from a front perspective, to a side silhouette is simply to add a greater feeling of force. To be honest the original panel looked almost comical, and didn't evoke the emotional I wanted. Once again I mention that in comics you have to imply a lot of movement in a single image. With something like this I have to compress both the action of being stabbed, and the result of it into a single image that feels like it's moving even though it's standing still. When making comics, this is pretty much how every action has to be portrayed combining both event and result into one image, and sometimes even things leading up to the event, or even multiple events depending on how compressed or decompressed you want things to be. This is how comics are fundamentally different from animation. No matter how far you decompress a comic, it still must portray actions that are actually a sequence of movements in a single image. The final panel had a more minor change. First of all in the original Malphas is stabbing with one hand. I changed that to a two handed stab to imply he's putting more desperation and effort into it. Second his facial expression has been changed from a maniacal laugh, to a a wide eyed psychotic appearance to show that he's a broken man now. Lastly the original background was his laugh, much as how he took out Deus. I changed the background to Darkness looking on in order to offer some explanation as to how Malphas survived (still protected by Darkness), and imply that Darkness is present in the scene so he won't come out of nowhere later. Taking out the laughter makes Malphas' sneak attack seem a lot less of a victory, and more like a dirty final attack. Did I make the best choice for how to answer the question that's been asked since the beginning? I leave that up to the fans.