Saturday, 14 January 2017

A WH40K (old) comic. First pages

Hi there! I'm daring to bring chaos and mayhem upon you! Well, maybe not that much, but you may want to roll for sanity after this.
I briefly told you about this some time ago, let me elaborate before I show you anything. Long, long time ago (twelve years now!) I decided to begin a series of comics set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. I had been drawing, doodling and making some standalone amateur comics for a while, and I got the sting of taking it to the level of actually conducting a story told in a mini collection. Narratively that would be a challenge, planning the script for a determined number of pages per volume and a determined number of volumes. You know, art shit. Ahem.

I chose the 40K universe for a number of reasons. First -and more important- because I liked it! Nuff said. Well, some more explanation. I could have done a story of my own, but at that moment I was quite into 40K fluff, and it gave a strong point of start, with a whole universe created, in which I didn't need to take 'general background' decisions, as all the aesthetics and the main design decisions were made for me; that would make it easier, I just had to fit my story into it. It was going to be my first fanfic so, what the hell, let's go.
I wasn't doing it on a strict Rogue Trader basis. By 2005 I don't even think the Oldhammer movement was a thing, or at least I didn't know of it. I was happy to embrace the WH40K fluff as it was then (5th Edition was it?), but of course the imprint of how I conceive this universe was easy to see. Less grimdark (within its parameters) and more RPG/adventure/mixture of stuff. If I had to quote an inspiration, it would absolutely be the early Dan Abnett (not that much the current).

I took a graphic novel approach, kind of European comics take. 8 volumes 64 pages each, with some additional contents in the form of appendixes, with additional info about the whole background. I guess the Alan Moore influence was quite evident, hehe (I mean, when he still was a living genius, before quitting the comic world once and again and again, becoming a Chaos magician and that stuff, you know).

I guess I never hoped to see it finished, being such an ambitious project. In fact I only got to finish the first volume, the second one being left with roughly half of it done. The main reason, of course, was life itself, but it wasn't the only one. In fact I got several kind of harsh reviews from close people who didn't share at all my envisionment of the story. They didn't feel, for example, that xenos could play a role in the story as I was telling it, or that a human would even talk to one. I guess I hadn't noticed, but the then-current fluff had evolved quite a bit since my days, and some decisions that were natural to me in my RT set of mind (border planets without law, fugitives trading xenos tech-stuff, Eldar Craftworlds actually trading with human worlds...) seemed totally alien to people who had approached first to the grimdark nature of 40K in the later days. I believe that was the first time I realised 40K was leading towards a different direction from what I liked.
OK, long story short. When I was in the middle of the second volume, chaos, entropy and mayhem arrived to the story. Matt Ward wrote the Necron bullshit Codex. Then it all changed. The ten years of established background went all through the drain and the Necrons then had a totally different way of being understood; with them a big part of the whole 40K background. Some parts were acceptable, but some others changed the role Necrons and C'Tans were to play in my story in a way really hard to reconcile with the general direction I was heading to. I could save the obstacle, of course, but some time later, Matt Ward wrote that absurd Grey Knights Codex. And no one in GW said a word!!
 So well, I noticed that the whole background I was using for my work was out of my control, and that people like the ones I told earlier (some would call them fanboys, but that won't be me) were actually right, my story was increasingly diverting from the 'approved official background'. It all was highly disencouraging.

For me this was the point I declared myself out of the way GW was managing their own IP. I guess I was already an Oldhammerer then, though I didn't know there was a word for me! :D

OK, I quitted then. Maybe I should have done it all mine in the first place, with my own background and all, but on the whole I don't regret of what I did then. I was learning, and as a learning exercise it was a really good practice. The only thing I regret is not having drawn back again since then.

The fact is that I've decide to scan what I have and post it over here, on an irregular basis. Whenever I have a page scanned and translated (you know, I originally wrote this in my mother tongue) I'll be posting it. I'm posting the first four pages as a starter today. Please excuse the amateur style, the poor quality scan, the obvious binding, my mistakes in English and the looong etc you are about to discover...

What I present here is:
1. Cover.
2. Plain text of the inside cover.
3. Page 1.
4. Double splash, pages 2-3.
5. Page 4.

Issue #1 Cover
 The inside cover had this text:

[...] The events that have eventually given shape to what we currently call the Wars of the Hammer are still a matter of study and analysis. Though it is too early to extract any conclusions yet, the job of a good Historicus is compiling all the objective data available while the sources are still accesible. Everyone agrees to point out that the Wars of the Hammer are one of the most relevant events in the recent history of the Imperium. They were a number of events that, in a relatively short period of time, unraveled in very different places and involved extraordinary stories implicating whole planets, whole systems, whole races.
We could understand that the events that led into the Xenic Alliance are, in their own way, magnificent, exceptional, incredible. Scholars always present them that way. But the truth is that those things we afterwards call the big stories are always a sum of tiny matters that only draw the interest of a few.
Those actual stories are made of people. Specific, individual, real people. Prienne, Bajakian, Lords Calgar and Tu'Shan, General Grom, Eldar Ulthran and Ellinderelion... All of them had a larger or smaller role in the Wars, they got involved in one moment or anoher. Names. A lot of names revolving around one other single name. Beronis. Brenteus Beronis. His story is the story of these events, and without understanding the turmoil of his life, the Wars of the Hammer cannot be understood.
If we were to set a point of start, we could talk about when he was but a simple fugitive...

From 'A Study of the So Called Wars of the Hammer'
Historicus Naevius Maro.
Imperial Library. 982.M41



Well, you can see what I was talking about. For the moment it's just the introduction of the leading character and stablishing a setting. I love the concept of hive cities, it's one of the most distinctive elements of te whole 40K universe, it looked like a proper place where to start.

It's all pencils and acrylics. The double splash (an A3 size) took me about two months of sporadically dotting the tiny lights of the hive with the brush. Dot, dot, dot, dot, period. Unfortunately the dusk effect ruined the whole scene.

I believe I've written enough for a day, hehe. If you reached this point I hope to have caught part of your attention. All the comments (including, of course, harsh criticism) are most welcome :)

25 comments:

  1. What an ambitious project! And you got all the way through one book: that's some serious work. Looking forward to seeing more.

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    1. Thank you! I don't know, I regret quitting the comic and quitting drawing at all :(
      I don't see myself taking it back again, 'official' fluff has still been moving etc. But I may reconsider writing/drawing a remake in my own setting, hehe. But that's quite a future thing!

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  2. Well I'm intrigued for sure! What a huge undertaking, looks good so far, (I'm always rediculously impressed by anyone that can do art), and you are so brave for posting it! I salute you sir, and can't wait for more.

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    1. Thank you very much! Well, I only concede you that I'm brave enough... to post this doodles :S I have no shame!

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  3. WooooooW something new!
    I'm a fan now talented Suber!!

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    1. Thank you! Ahh, I should have kept on drawing, hehe

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  4. Interesting, the thing I find the most intriguing is the strange mash-up of heroes on the front page though.

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    1. Hehe, that will be explained in due time... Shortly, I hope!

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  5. Looks cool. Not enough skulls :P

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    1. Hahaha! I couldn't draw wnough skulls to get it officially approved!!

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  6. I always loved this comic! I'm very glad you decided to scan it for posterity!

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    1. Thank you! Haha, posterity is quite a word! But I don't care, I'm ready to be preposterous for posterity. That would be... preposterity? (Ahem, any philologist in the room?)

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  7. Wow! that is quite a bit of work to do ONE page, let alone so many.

    Did you actually paint the colors in?

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    1. Thank you! Right, it's all pencils and then acrylics, the very same paints I use for minis. I'm in for dual-purpose materials :D

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    2. Wow, that seems like a lot of work! I guess these days you could more easily scan and color digitally.

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    3. Well, that was back in 2005, I had to take the full craftsmanship approach! :D
      If I were to start a new comic or whatever nowadays, I think I would go digital, but the mere thought make me shiver, brrrr

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    4. Yes, me too, I have much more familiarity with traditional arts... but it would ultimately be easier digitally!

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  8. Matt Ward, shame on you!!! Now this project wont be finished!!

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    1. So right!! (Wave angrily the fist to the air)

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  9. O.O
    Increible!
    muchos, muchos animos con este proyecto!
    menuda maravilla! :D

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    1. ¡Muchas gracias! He escaneado alguna página más, a ver si las traduzco y las voy subiendo :)

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  10. That's some great work Suber.

    Reading your explanation about how GW moved the background away from you resonates with me. I have never really embraced the grimdark vision (even when I was working for them, lol). I re-imagine the Human Empire more along the lines of Dune. Still not a utopia, but not a complete embrace of death, oppression, and misery. Their vision is just too much.

    I hope you begin anew someday. The artwork is inspiring.

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    1. Right, I totally concur. RT setting was quite more wide-minded, if that makes any sense. I loved all the fluff they added during 2nd Ed and how they made a real effort to build a coherent background. But since then they went through a path hard to follow, at least for me. Somehow erratic, with some really cool stuff but with some other horrid nonsenses that really fell apart from what they had been establishing so hard.
      I didn't enjoy either the overdone grimdark ambientation, but Iwas able to live with that for the sake of keeping the comic within the 'official' WH40K vibe; but when they decided to break with everything and reset some things I knew that my effort was pointless.
      I'd love to get back to comic storytelling. Ahh, maybe some day... time will tell!

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  11. Very very creative Suber. I certainly support what you are (or have been doing). And you know what they say. The more you work at it the better it gets. ^_^

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    1. Thank you! I'm of course quite out of your league, but I've always found doodling a real pleasure. Need to get back to it!

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