Just a little update on the bio pictures for the site update, all of them now inked and ready for color. I’m trying to juggle a few projects at a time right now especially since I’ve hit a few snags on some other work, including the next cover image. Since I’m working a full time job, I try to take care of the heavy lifting on days off and do bits of the work on regular nights. I’ll be working on color for these and hopefully get moving on serious site updates later this week.
I’m preparing for a bit of a site overhaul, part of which involves updating the biography section of the website. Especially now that Zack has officially joined the main cast, we need a revamp. However, I’m also looking to get some new artwork up of the characters, more of a midshot kinda look. So here’s some sketch previews of whats coming up for our three protagonists.
So we now come to chapter 17, the second part of the Whitechapel arch. I would honestly say that this chapter was more of the mystery moment of the arch, as the next chapter would answer the mystery and the following chapter would conclude the story. This was actually the chapter that where most of the research was put into as it contains many, many references to the real life Whitechapel murders.
This chapter mentions in the beginning the night of the double homicide, as well as the mention of the Ripper’s primary targets being women. One other reference that was brought up in this chapter is Gerald Butler himself carrying around his bloody butcher knife. While this was intended to mostly be a fake out on his identity as the killer, in real life butchers often roamed around the streets of London with blood on their apron, in fact one possible murder case of ripper was reported to have taken place around the streets where many butchers lived, thus the killer was able to blend into the background whether he had blood or not.
This chapter also introduced the first guest appearance of a real historical character, that being Mary Kelly, the Ripper’s real life final victim (in London anyway). Of all the suspects I researched, Mary Kelly has the most backstory on her and a number of them were worked into the dialogue. The hooker that Kalwa meets in the alley mentions that Mary loves pup hopping and she’s really “found her voice.” This is actually a reference to Mary’s real life, in which she was said to be “quiet” in real life, and quite “loud” when drunk, even said to have been singing songs in a “irish tougue.”
I actually wanted the reader and Kalwa both to feel upset about Mary meeting her ultimate fate, and this actually became a bit of a challenge at first. Originally Kalwa and Mary were supposed to have more of a conversation, with Mary even suggesting that prostitution wasn’t fully a choice after Kalwa tells her how much the profession sickens her. This was ultimately scrapped as page limitations wouldn’t allow this conversation to carry on, or make it meaningful. Also it would require writing an entire plot as to why Kalwa really hates hookers, as being a hooker doesn’t make some one a bad person. So I decided to put great emphasis on Mary’s design, making her out to look sweet kind and innocent the very opposite of the profession she was in. Also she was brave and tough at the same time, giving her a little appeal to reader. As very little definitive descriptions of Mary Kelly exist (other than her curly red hair), there was plenty of room to freely design her.
Finally the last worthwhile note to this chapter is than this chapter allowed the comic to incorporate a very real and adult subject: Racism. This is of course brought up in the form of Thomas’s tragedy in which he was not only taken off the case, but he was simply put on because of his Jewish heritage. This plot line developed from my research as I had read that London was full of anti-semitism as it was being flooded by waves of Jewish immigrants who had fled Eastern Europe at the time. In fact one actual suspect for Jack the Ripper was a polish immigrant named John Pizer, whose paper articles often focused on the fact he was Jewish. Further more, racism grew at the very fact that a foreigner was killing ENGLISH prostitutes in their own land. This fact would actually play a major role in the actual story and further cement why the case was never solved. It’s very appropriate for this particular arch as this arch is the jumping off point in which the overall Kalwa story gets darker and more mature going forward. Stay tuned for more information chapter 18.
CLICK ANY OF THE IMAGES BELOW TO READ THE ACTUAL COMIC!
It’s finally time to look back on the Whitechapel saga, which I’ve been holding back on. Of all the story’s done in this story so far, this arch has the most backstory thus far. From the moment the story had begun, Whitechapel was always planned from the start and there was a LOT of research put into it. All the facts presented in the story such as the murder of Martha Tabram are all real life facts, and perhaps the hardest part of all it was taking the real life facts and steering them to work in the fictional story I wanted to tell. There is so much information here that it will all have to be told in spoonfuls which will all be attached to each look back on the Whitechapel chapters.
In addition to the research this chapter also allowed me to pour my passion and love for horror and suspense into the pages of a comic book, most notably chapter 16 has this in the first few pages where Kalwa encounters the Ripper. The dreaded suspense and build up with the creaking was a drawn out moment to get the audience disturbed and on the edge of their seat.
Even the very design of arch (namely the night scenes) were modeled after the IDW mini series the Fly Outbreak, which featured heavy amounts of shadow in the panels to convey it’s frightinging and suspenseful atmosphere. The first time I actually read this series I was filled with dread and the thought of what was lurking around the corner and what would leap out. Despite is only be a still comic book, its art style alone was very dreadful and very creepy. As soon as I finished the story, I knew I wanted to incorporate these elements into this story.
In addition, this story arch would serve as the conclusion of the “free adventuring” storyline set in since chapter 1 as Kalwa encounters something she hadn’t faced before… an opponent that she could not defeat. Kalwa’s self defense abilities had been getting her by on the grounds that she had been a girl in time, and most opponents would not expect a girl to know how to fight. This plot line comes crashing down this chapter as Kalwa actually encounters an opponent who is actually skilled in combat and can even hurt her very badly. This would make the audience fear the ripper as much as Kalwa would in the story.
More information will come out in future chapters, and feel free to click any of the images below read this chapter for yourself.
Happy Monday everyone, lets talk it’s time for some more behind the scenes work once again turning to Whitechapel. Illustrated below are some potential designs for the “Jack the Ripper.” In particular the idea of a mask. The idea of a mask did arise during writing as it would be pretty hard for Kalwa to have multiple encounters with the Ripper and not at least get a glimpse of his face, and of course we couldn’t just rely on shadow the whole time (even though in the actual story the first ripper does hide in shadow). So it was only natural to want to hide the ripper’s face, which actually turned out to be quite the challenge. Part of the idea behind the Whitechapel story was for it to be a mystery, to see if readers could figure out who the Ripper was, and thus I was afraid to have any part of the face visible as I feared it would be too big of a clue as to his identity.
The idea for the finalized mask came from the video game series Assasin’s Creed which featured it’s own version of the ripper wearing a bag mask, the sketch in the lower left corner takes great inspiration from this. To make our version unique and further adding questions (as well as keeping consistent with appearences), the final design was given long flowing hair, ultimately revealed to be a wig. He was also given hollow emotionless eyes and my own personal touch of having blood smeared on the mask. Somehow I’ve always found it more frighting to have physical blood on a mask, as a means of some sick pride to the killer.
The first published volume of the Kalwa Graphic Novel is upon us soon. So it’s full speed ahead on the the cover. This little break from chapters has given me the time I need to hone my drawing style, and now I’m now experimenting with angles and adding more motion into my work, so hopefully when I come back to doing actual chapters, I can better enhance the artwork. The first volume will be hitting digital in June and hardcopy in July. More updates on progress will be coming along!