Ballads of War 1x08

Yet more characters come in! With these we have our field team complete.

If I ever were to rewrite the comic, I'd certainly introduce Vix in a different way. I mean, the moment the reader/spectator meets the girl, you can see there are (serious) issues with the boy. That tension inevitably becomes belligerent sexual tension (which is in fact a thing in scriptwriting) and it all leads to romantic interest. It's all way too a cliché. This really needs a revision.
I never wanted to do a Manic Pixie Dream Girl of her, i.e., an overbursting female whose sole function is serving as a support for the leading male character by bringing energy and adventure but little else. She was in fact envisioned as quite a complicated person with a major role in the plot. I'd change some things about her, for sure, but that only reflects how I've evolved myself about storytelling and characters.

Now, the main issue here... she's a half-Elda! :D You can imagine I got some serious criticism from 40K fans (or at least a sector of them, the ones more attached to then-current fluff). I just sent them to WD #97, specifically to the Ultramarines section in the magazine, and then asked them about that special character called Illiyan Nastase (yup, you know, GW and names... Someone at Nottingham was really a tennis fan back in the day). My point:

Before Tigurius ever existed

No more questions, your Honor. In my universe, the possibility of a half-Elda is real. Not only it's a thing in classic fantasy settings, but it was once officially sanctioned by GW. I was tried to be convinced that this aberration could be sustained no more in 40K, but I insisted (and still insist) in all those things about the galaxy being so large and that anything could happen blah blah.
Anyway, it's not an idle question, the half-Elda thing was meant to be important for my narrative. One day I'll talk about the whole plot...

The other two characters have a supporting role. I was concerned about the fact that I was introducing too many people in just 8 pages, but they were needed for the crew to be... well, a crew, not a couple of badasses. Credibility asked for a whole team, but the reader could be confused by the pouring of names and faces. I decided to attach them to a common theme so I could introduce them at a time and move on the plot. Hence the siblings thing. As I was designing them I begun to think about the minor plots and character building stuff such a relationship could offer, and I was pleased of the perspective. They were worth of further development, though for the moment I needed the story to move forward.

That will be happening in the next page, promise. Don't let the fact of having new characters to be introduced divert from the action that will begin to unfold!

PS: You can read the previous pages HERE.


  1. I'm down with half-Eldar - why the hell not eh? Cool bananas :-)

  2. I totally forgot about the half-Eldar in WD97. Good catch, Suber. Vix is a great character -- I really like the sense of movement you get from those first two frames -- she just strides in there and takes charge like a boss. I'm very much looking forward to more Vix!

    1. Haha, thanks! Well, she's meant to be a total badass. While the first couple of volumes were designed to focus on Brent and develop his background story (which would intertwine with the big story itself), she would play a major role later on.
      Ohh, posting all this makes me nostalgic...!

  3. You can still choose to drop the romantic interest route and depict her more like an Escher female, ...
    I think your version of 40k is very lighthearted compared to the Dark, brooding gothic universe of GW. So I see no reason why halfbreeds can't exist. The three mission givers were after all an unlikely bunch too in an unlikely setting.

    With the experience I got from reading French and Belgian comics I find you're going a bit fast, you barely take the time to set a setting and make us like it dislike the characters. While your artstyle is great and suits my taste I would like to see the story evolve a little bit slower.

    1. Wow, I find your comment enormously helpful, thank you! First of all, you are absolutely right about my own vision on 40K. I'm quite more attached to the generic sci-fi from kinda-early RT rather than to the oxnobious uber-gothic 40K from later stages. That means a lot in terms of visual and story decisions (first of all, 83% less skulls; no cherubs were harmed during the development of the story).

      I find your second comment particularly interesting and useful. The comics of my youth were American (a lot of Marvel, essentially), but later on I moved onto French/Belgian comics (and have stayed there ever since) and I also think I find myself more comfortable with their narratives. However, I've sometimes found many series to be unnecesarily elongating the story without getting to the point.
      But I'm digressing. I see what you say, my main fear at this point was introducing too many characters to the reader, so I needed them to be 'doing' something as a vehicle to the setting.
      I'm afraid I was way too ambitious regarding the general script (I mean, encompassing the whole story in 8 volumes, as in fact that's an arbitrary number. It could also be fitted in 10 or, why not, 12 volumes). I don't know why I got so stubborn about that, but the funny thing is that some years later, re-reading what I did, I got to a similar conclusion. I mean, the hive world here is just a mere start point and our characters will depart soon (very soon, you'll see) to begin the real plot. But I then regretted not having spent more time in the urban setting; I thought I would have liked showing more of the underhive and even devoting a full number to it.
      That's why I find your comment interesting!
      Oh, I'm seriously considering re-making the whole comic in my own setting... Ahh, damn you! :D

  4. Glad to be of help.

    While there are indeed series which seem to go on forever, I can heartily recommend authors like Marcano, Loisel, Arleston, Leo and numerous others. They often dedicate much of the first volume to setting the scène and getting us to know the characters. But their stories are somewhere between 4 and 7 volumes a piece.
    Most of them either show deeprooted social problems in their work or wink towards ours with a sense of humour.
    I think the last would be most appropriate for you, just hint towards the darker universe sometimes.
    Even 2nd edition was still a bright setting, the spiral down came later.

    I definitely look forward to your next instalment.

    1. ... Marvano (autocorrect)

    2. I guess I just wanted to do some kind of LotR in 40K :D showing a bit of everything here and there, so every race/army in the game had their moment. I'd love to take all that, give it a shake (it's been a dozen years since then!) and see what am I up to :)

  5. Awesome. Been having a catch up you have been busy! Liking all the bones conversions you've done top notch work mate!

    1. Thank you, Simon! Haha, slowly but relentlessly!! :D