A Betrayer’s Smile

So, there you have it. The honest to gosh, no kidding origin story of Giant Girl, complete with a genuine core understanding of the power she commands, while trying to use it in a manner that won’t shatter all reality as we know it. Now you know why she always lies about the origins of her power- because she stole it and she’s afraid the rightful owner will return to reclaim it, and his revenge.

For panel 8, I asked Dee to create the ‘proto-Giant Girl’ uniform- the very first iteration of the costume that looks quite a bit like her grandfather’s Mr. Big costume, but with Darkwing Duck’s hat in red. Yes, I AM aware of any and all Carmen Sandiego jokes you are going to make. Trust me, by the time we were done with it we’d established that you can’t even have a character in a red coat, forget about a red hat, because you’ll get Carmen Sandiego references immediately and eternally. Which is why her new costume at the end of this issue will be different, to finally and definitively distance her from all those comparisons.

Meanwhile, naive Ronni Kane didn’t consider this back in 2007 when she empowered herself, and she is boldly striding out to the world in her new identity feeling confident and full of IDGAF. Me, I love the look Dee designed- it’s perfect for what it is supposed to be. I think it is telling, as Dee pointed out, that one of Ronni’s first few choices with her abilities was to empower herself with an idealized version of her grandfather’s powers. As if subconsciously she was trying to salvage the family legacy.

But in the retelling, it’s clear this is the first time Ronni is being honest about who and what she really is, owning up to her misdeeds of the past that fuel her issues today.

DEE’S NOTES

Each new page has been a case study in me thinking “I can’t WAIT to draw that!” and this is no exception. After all, I started on this book in the middle of an admittedly awesome ‘fantasy’ arc, so FINALLY getting to draw Ronni in something akin to her classic outfit was a HUGE deal for me.

 

COMMENTS

Reality Strikes Back

I think Steampunk Rock, Edison & Wells, the Moai and the students at Satan’s School for Girls are the the only immediate GG villains that didn’t make the cut on this page, and that’s primarily because we wanted it to be a bit more of a showcase than a collage. With the crackling flames of the lamptern dividing the images, I’m very pleased with how this came out.

For you longtime fans, you will see echoes of this in conversations previous, such as issue 12 when she is explaining some of the hazards of the power to Little Big Girl, or issue 13 when S8N is monologuing as they descend into his lair. I know, working on getting those back issues in place- we nearly have it licked, we think, and the galleries with images should be up by the time this page sees print.

Basically, this is why Everybody Hates Giant Girl. It is literally reality trying to wipe her out because she is a thorn in its side. So while I will admit she’s definitely been treated poorly through the years, this is the reason why. Currently she is in another reality, with different rules, and she has had much less of a hard time here, you’ll note.

More on that to come. But as you may have gathered, we tell our tale slowly. So bear with us…

DEE’S NOTES

Welllll, another reason that the characters pictured are the ones we used for this WAS partially inspired by a very important storytelling metric: who I REALLY, REALLY wanted to draw. Lol

I’d done a Badonkasarus for a pin up on the PATREON but didn’t feel like I had done her proper justice yet, and she’s totally my favorite secondary character in the comic, so this was a fun opportunity to try and get her right.

Prom Queen has such a distorted, cartoony design that was a blast to try and find in my style, and I am really happy with how she and the rest came out.

This is another example of why this ‘100-page giant’ will probably be closer to 120 some-odd pages when it’s done, because this was SCRIPTED as the last panel of the previous page, and I pushed Sabrina for the opportunity to make it a splash page.

COMMENTS

Let’s Make A Deal

This was a page of writes and rewrites. Dee had the artwork figured out right from the start, and this was a relatively quick and easy page for her in that regard. The issue was my obsessive rewriting of it, because I was determined to have economy of verbiage for the best possible impact storytelling-wise. After all, this is kind of a big moment for the series, and I wanted it to read like an appropriately epic moment in retelling. So what that translated to was Dee enduring about 30 revisions on this page along in the narration, long after she was finished with the artwork.

Thanks for the patience, Dee!

DEE’S NOTES

Staggering the panels with the slow zoom on Ronni’s eyes was a very calculated design decision to showcase the shift in her expression. I wanted it to really read that she was working out exactly what she wanted and was leaning more and more into the decision as she went.

With the blurring of the flame effects in the foreground, I was trying to get a kind of a “dolly zoom” effect, like the shot in Jaws where the camera gets closer while the lens zooms out. It’s often used to be disorienting in films, but HERE it was my inspiration to bring the camera in close while flattening the distance between Ronni and the ‘genie’.

COMMENTS

You got the touch! You got the powaaaaah

In the direction for this page, I asked Dee to insure that as the Lamptern of the Ages opens, it transforms. It always bugged me that the Matrix of Leadership, which opens up not unlike this device, by two side-mounted handles, just… came apart.

That was it’s big thing. It came apart.

Why would it not… transform?

Neither here nor there for this page, of course, save that as Dee had handed me the design possibilities for what became our artifact here, I indicated that as it unleashed the entity inside, it would transform as it did so.

Voila.

Also, I specifically asked for some classic P. Craig Russell magic sparkles and swirls here, and I feel I got exactly what I asked for. This very much has the appearance of an ancient and powerful entity being released from their prison.

DEE’S NOTES

I rarely break out of a standard grid for panel layouts, preferring the storytelling to be very clean and readable, but this page NEEDED something more extreme and dynamic, so the staggered lead ins hopefully help this have the epic reveal it needed. Plus, any excuse to do an extreme close-up of EYES, and I WILL take it. Heh heh.

COMMENTS

To flit

With the size and mass of the citadel established, I asked for a travelogue of the girls flying their way in, penetrating the giant’s fortress unseen. We get our first glimpses of the frost giants, and a comedy act about the fae and the flit. The script called for ‘moody and ominous’ and the end product is a rather distinctly Latverian edifice.

DEE’S NOTES

The travelogue was a great idea and I love that it gave me the opportunity to have more fun drawing some fun acting with the teeny tiny figures that pushed the humor of their interaction. It also allowed us to show both how big and winding the city is and run a visual path throughout the page. HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY, CLICK HERE?

You feel me

Once up in the air, the sheer scope and scale of the frost giant citadel is laid out for the reader. While a crack in the glacier would have been more appropriate a locale for the seat of their empire, I wanted some grandeur to the frost giants with their cold, frozen hearts. This is a large, obviously painstakingly planned and constructed citadel that shows the strength of these mighty beings. This is the frost giants at the height of their power, before they became creatures of legend. When they were, instead, simply legendary.

That’s what I asked for out of this page. I got what I asked for, and I am impressed.

Plus boob joke. Here’s that the line art looked like for that piece, because it lost a lot of the charm in the ‘invisibility’ effect.

 

Well, okay, that’s a production drawing, because of the bluelines. But you get the idea. THAT DERP FACE OF LUST.

DEE’S NOTES

For the city, I took my idea for the concentric rings working out from the center and built the structure in basic shapes in the 3-D program, Sketch-Up, which allowed me to really set up the more intricate perspectives I wanted and tweak it before going into the actual art, which made this far easier than it would have been otherwise.

This was also a splash page in the script, but I pitched the two inset panels to really sell that boob joke, and it’s really good example of how well Sabrina and I work together. It’s always about what’s best for the page and what tells the story the way we want. Humor is a huge part of GGA, and I really loved getting to play with the visuals of this boob gag.

Land of the Giants The big reveal, where we get to see the giants in their entirety. After seeing this I thought perhaps the page order should have been reversed, with this preceding page 58. But while we got the heavily shadowed version on the last page, this is eyes adjusting to the limited lighting and us really getting the good look at just who’s down here, with some scale that is still not entirely the focus, given the camera angle

This is where Ronni gets clued in on what her mercy at the giant encampment produced, and how it has been perceived by the giants. This might be a bit confusing from a moral compass standpoint, but stay with us, gang. This sequence takes a few pages to play out, but I promise you we are going somewhere with it and it isn’t just about rubbing Kane’s nose in it.

DEE’S NOTES:

We don’t do splash pages all that often, but when we do, it’s usually pretty epic. This big reveal of the giants from the shadows, I decided to set from a low-angle shot where Ali Kazam and a normal-sized Ronni are large in the shot, but in perspective to hopefully reinforce just how big our new arrivals here are in proportion. It’s much the same trick I like to use to emphasize Ronni’s size when she grows and I think it’s effective and hopefully, a bit imposing here.

North she bade I am in love with this page. We get the giants looming out of the shadows while King Lars of the Hillbilly giants negotiates- remember, Ronni stole his maul? He’s even in Dirk Swann’s report to the Imperial Overlord, holding his crown in his hands and looking back at the camera.

According to the way giant society works, he would be the least among them, so him being the spokesman is because he’s the one they deemed expendable. I love Britomart’s restraining hand to the party, and that she’s willing to talk. Lawful, yes, but good.

So for those of you who could not understand why there was a giant black widow spider back in the Hillbilly Giant palisade? Now you know. The Witch did say the giants were moved by another force, and a darker force beyond that. Say what you will about the Witch of Washington, she was very economical about what she said, but none of it was inaccurate whatsoever.

I will freely admit, I am very proud of King Lars’ speech here, and Dee’s artwork really brought it home.

 

DEE’S NOTES:

 

With this page, there’s another visual and tonal shift in the style of the art. Going full-bore into the intensely deep, highly-rendered shadows on our giant here was just sooo much fun to draw. I really went a little overboard on the rendering, but I’m glad I did.

Using some radial line glowing from the sword also helped to separate the visual planes of the artwork here.

As you fall through the ice (cue David Gilmour guitar riff)

Of course, Ronni first tries to get big enough to get a grip and not fall, which just makes more of the ice give way. The Lexii reaction with the breaking of the 4th wall was all me, and Dee was of course down with it, and the shot of her diving after the party was way better than I had hoped for. Falling like feathers- what a concept, right? Then looming shadows as Halder gets in a rare line. He’s one of those characters who just never has anything to say until it’s relevant, so I try to make sure his lines count.

DEE’S NOTES:


In discussions with Sabrina, the primary creative direction here and in the next chunk of pages to come is that Britomart’s sword is the primary light source while they’re in the caves. It’s a great artistic challenge and has been fun to play with the dense shadows. Also, like the last page, that straight-up cartoon character shrug from Lexii was a lot of fun to draw.

DISQUS

We’re still wrestling with this, so bear with us. You can comment if you go check 2/3 of the way down the gold rectangle on the very bottom of the site, and look for ‘recent comments’. OR if you navigate to the previous page, you can see the comments there, and then if you navigate back to the current page the Disqus will be visible. If any of you out there have experience and a solution for this, we’re all ears.

Meanwhile, this is our workaraound. Feedback from the fans is what tells us how our work is received, and it’s an important part of the process, particularly in a longflow story like this. We look forward to hearing from you, and your perspectives, whether you think we are going great or off the mark on something, we love to hear.

In short, we’ve got a pain in the butt comments section, and we apologize. Under construction, please excuse our mess.

It’s A Trap!

DISQUS

We’re still wrestling with this, so bear with us. You can comment if you go check 2/3 of the way down the gold rectangle on the very bottom of the site, and look for ‘recent comments’. OR if you navigate to the previous page, you can see the comments there, and then if you navigate back to the current page the Disqus will be visible. If any of you out there have experience and a solution for this, we’re all ears.

Meanwhile, this is our workaraound. Feedback from the fans is what tells us how our work is received, and it’s an important part of the process, particularly in a longflow story like this. We look forward to hearing from you, and your perspectives, whether you think we are going great or off the mark on something, we love to hear.

In short, we’ve got a pain in the butt comments section, and we apologize. Under construction, please excuse our mess.

Also, is center aligned text irritating to read for you? Because I’m testing that with this post. Comment on this as well if you don’t mind. Again, feedback.

As for the page…

I dug the shrinking effect, as Dee explains below- it gives the impression without having to overclutter the page, yet it adds animation, motion and action to a page that is basically the same camera angle as a daily three-panel strip. I adore Britomart’s pontificating pose- as our webmaster pointed out, she’s literally doing the ‘Well, actually…’ pose here

Flynna. Cheeky!

Swann figures out the cycle while Flynna intuitively knows it’s a trap, and she’s right, as we see by the end of the page. Never argue with the expert padfoot, Ronni.

I insisted on panels 4 and 5 just being the change in Ronni’s posture and expression, because I love these comedic bits where the artwork sells the gag.

DEE’S NOTES:

While action sequences are a lot of fun to draw, I really love pages like this where I get to dig into the characters, do a little “acting” and play to the personalities and humor. I loved also, getting to play to my background in humor comic strips with Ronni’s gag where the ice cracks.

With this page, I’m also changing up how I render Ronni’s growing and shrinking. Rather than drawing the individual elements, I’ve decided to play with the software and do some selective radial blurring for growth panels where she’s not MOVING specifically in the effect.