A Darkened Wish Brings D&D to Comics

Written by B Dave Walter with artwork by Tess Fowler, Dungeons and Dragons A Darkened Wish is a D&D campaign in comic book form. Jay Fotos provides the colors, and Tom B. Long does the letters. The grand daddy of table top role playing games, Dungeons and Dragons has seen a resurgence over the past decade.

Rat Queens, which Fowler provided artwork for, was an original story set in a fantasy world. Its characters included a fighter, cleric, wizard, and thief. All of which are staples of the standard adventuring party.

A Darkened Wish exists as an official D&D product, letting readers know what to expect. The story opens with the coming of a large battle. We don’t know the reasons for the battle, but we know it will be epic.

The picture shows the first page of A Darkened Wish. We see three boats carrying many monsters ready for battle.

I love the look of this page. The action flows upward from the large figures in the foreground toward the back, pulling the readers focus. The triangular design of the page greatly assists this effect. As the scene recedes, the detailed artwork becomes fuzzy, however; the details we can see are gorgeous. Fowler does an excellent job of making the reader feel the tension and excitement of the moment before the bloodshed starts.

Questions about the scene are many? What is going on? Who are these armies? Why are they fighting? These questions do not get fully answered in this issue, but if they did we wouldn’t need the rest of the series. While A Darkened Wish #1 doesn’t answer the many questions about the nature of the battle, it does provide plenty of intriguing history, and builds suspense. This causes us to want to read further in order to discover the answers.

A Darkened Wish Adventuring Party

Before the battle begins in earnest, we meet a few of the book’s main characters, but we still know next to nothing about them. After this brief introduction, they join the battle, demonstrating considerable power. Still, we don’t know enough to say much about them, other than they seem heroic.

Enter the flashback, which also happens to be the bulk of this issue. First, we meet Helene arguing with her grandfather about her life. He wants her to stay and undergo something called the Ascension, but Helene wants to live her own life. Begrudgingly, her grandfather lets her go, giving her a necklace. Helene leaves and soon encounters her two best friends: Aiden and Xander who decide to join her on her adventure.

The picture shows the three main characters of A Darkened Wish agreeing to adventure together.
Never Split the Party. That’s how the DM gets you.

The rest of the issues tells of their first adventure and friends they meet. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I will say this issue feels very much like how a Dungeons and Dragons campaign goes. You start off young and a little powerful. Then, you go on adventures, meet friends, make enemies, and gain more power.

Role Playing as a Visual Story

The creative team has done a wonderful job of making this feel like a role playing adventure without having the characters name spells or classes. No one says, I’m Helene and I’m a sorcerer, which is something that they could have easily done. All of the characters are fully realized and distinct. This book is accessible to those who like fantasy comics but know nothing about Dungeons and Dragons. Plus, the artwork is consistently fantastic and contains amazing detail.

If you like fantasy comics and/or table top role playing games, check this series out. Issue 1 came out today, so check with your local comic book store. It’s also available on comixology if you prefer the digital experience.

Have you read this? Do you want to read it? Let me know in the comments, and thanks for visiting.


Ben Daimio’s Greatest Moments

Appearing soon in the upcoming Hellboy film, Ben Daimio was first introduced to the world in the B.P.R.D. comic series, The Dead #1 (BPRD series issue #13). He stayed with the team until B.P.R.D. Killing Ground #5 (series issue #38). Here are some of Ben Daimio’s greatest moments.

I am not sure if he ever became a fan favorite, but I do know I liked his character. I also know that I don’t ever recall him teaming up with Hellboy, but I understand that movies and source materials are different entities, so I don’t mind him showing up in the new movie. After leaving the team, Daimio makes several appearances as a recurring charter. There are, of course, spoilers in this post.

Great Moments with Ben Daimio #1

The beginning is a good place to start, so that’s what we’ll do here. It is difficult to beat Daimio’s introduction to the readers and team members of B.P.R.D. We see him slice his way out of a body bag. He’s a man with a big scar on his face and a big knife in his hand. Talk about a hell of a way to make an entrance.

The first of many of Ben Daimio's greatest moments. The image shows him slowly cutting himself out of a body bag over the course of four comic book panels.
BPRD The Dead #1 art by Guy Davis, colors by Dave Stewart, lettering by Clem Robins. Click image to enlarge

We don’t know anything about Benjamin Daimio at this moment, except that he just cut himself out of a body bag and seems to be just as confused as we are. As far as first impressions go, this is memorable. The panel progression of Davis’s art enhances the impact. He could have drawn the knife easily ripping through the bag, and having the bag fall away.

But, the small puncture leading to the rip, and finally the reveal is more effective. It build suspense–what is coming out of that bag?–while the addition of the POP sound effect and the doctor’s reaction gives us something to laugh at.

We soon learn that he is a consultant to special ops, and is going to be leading the B.P.R.D. To say that Liz Sherman is less than thrilled about this is an understatement. For the majority of Ben’s time with the team, he and Liz will but heads in an antagonistic relationship. Despite this, they also show respect for each other and know that it is in the team’s best interest to work together.

Ben Daimio’s Best Moments #2

His friendship with Roger. Throughout his tenure with the team, Daimio had an impact on every member, but none so great as on Roger the
Homunculus. Roger needs structure, and Daimio offers him that. There are too many great Roger and Ben moments to list them all here, but there are a few I want to look at.

The first one is when the team meets Daimio. They have just seen a video of him ripping his way out of the body bag, and then he steps into their offices and introduces himself.

The image shows one of Ben Daimio's greatest moments when he first meets the BPRD team, including Roger, and tells him to put pants on
BPRD The Dead #1 Click image to enlarge

I love this sequence. It shows that Daimio doesn’t want to rock the boat, but also that he is clearly in charge. Plus, he doesn’t like his squad mates to be pantsless. There’s a lot of characterization happening in these five panels, even if Daimio is still a mysterious character.

Another great moment with Daimi and Roger (their friendship was too short-lived due to Roger’s untimely demise–I told you there were spoilers in this post) is in B.P.R.D. The Black Flame #1 (series issue #18)

First we see Daimio strike a match and light a cigar.

Another one of Ben Daimio's greatest moments, his growing friendship with Roger
B.P.R.D. The Dead #1 Art by Guy Davis, colors by Dave Stewart, lettering by Clem Robins. Click image to enlarge

Next, we see almost the exact same shot, only this time it is Roger who strikes the match and lights the cigar. The parallel between him and Daimio jumps out at the reader. Roger is detailing what comes next in the war against the frog monsters that are plaguing the B.P.R.D. and threatening the world at large.

The image shows one of the greatest moments of Ben Daimio smoking cigars and building friendship with Roger
B.P.R.D. The Black Flame #1 Click image to enlarge

These moments encapsulate the friendship between Daimio and Roger.

Daimio’s Greatest Moments #3 Secret Revelation

Another one of Ben Daimio’s greatest moments is when readers learn his secret. Mystery shrouds Daimio from the moment of his introduction, and that mystery only grows the more time we spend with him. There are hints that something dark lurks in him, though the nature of the darkness remains unknown for quite a while. He undergoes acupuncture, the purpose of which seems to be to keep him calm.

Now, he has a stressful job and is dealing with some cosmic horror shit, so of course he is going to be a little stressed. However, if it seems that there’s more going on with him, there is.

Turns out: he’s a werejaguar.

The picture shows a large monster surrounded by flames. The monster is Ben Daimio, and this revelation is one of his greatest moments in the BPRD series.
BPRD Killing Ground #4, Art by Guy Davis, colors by Dave Stewart, lettering by Clem Robins. Click image to enlarge.

What makes this one of Ben Daimio’s greatest moments? First, the artwork and the page composition. The flames threaten to overwhelm everything in the panels. We see and feel the confusion. Beyond the flames, we see the giant monster in the background, and we don’t yet know who or what it is. Then in the bottom panel, we see the tell-tale scar of Captain Daimio, and we know who it is, even if we don’t want to believe it. We have danger and tragedy in one page, and it is awesome.

Another reason this revelation is so good is because of what it leads to. For the remainder of this issue, the werejaguar runs loose throughout the BPRD headquarters, and much violence and death ensue. It’s bloody, action packed, and exciting: everything you want from such a revelation.

The Last of Ben Daimio’s Greatest Moments

His showdown with Daryl the Wendigo. Daryl is another tragic monster, who, like Daimio, is a victim of circumstance and a shape changer. Daryl was the victim of a different Wendigo, and he now carries the curse. The only way to break the curse is killing someone else, but Daryl is a decent fellow and does not want to do that.

When he and Daimio meet in battle it is because Ben can no longer bear the burden of his curse and he wants to die at Daryl’s hands. He knows that only Daryl is strong enough to kill him, and he cannot bring himself to commit suicide.

The fight is violent and epic and takes full advantage of comics as a medium. Here’s a snapshot:

The picture shows Ben Daimio in his werejaguar form fighting Daryl the Wendigo. There is blood and biting and clawing in this, the last of Ben Diamio's greatest moments.
BPRD Hell on Earth: The Long Death # 3 Art by James Harren, Colors by Dave Stewart, Letters by Clem Robins. Click on image to enlarg

This fight is visceral and emotional. Despite the fact that both of these characters are monsters, we readers have grown attached to them. Knowing that this fight results in the death of one or both of them adds a further level of emotional involvement. In the end, Daryl wins and Daimio lies dead on the ice. It is a poignant and heartbreaking moment, especially as it is unclear of Daimio will return as a Wendigo, or if Daryl is still wandering around the icy waste, plagued by his curse.

These are some of Ben Daimio’s greatest moments. Do you have any you would add to the list? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading.

Curse of the Infernal Body Clock

The curse of the infernal body clock is an idea I had for a curse type spell for a tabletop role playing game, such as Dungeons and Dragons, or any setting with magic. I got the idea from something somebody said on twitter about not being able to sleep, and I came up with this as a joke. However, the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. So, I decided I would write about it.

The Infernal Body Clock

Lore: Created by the sorceress Milgraf Alfgahee, the curse is an inconvenience at best and deadly at worst. Alfgahee created the spell because she was tired of adventurers invading the forest where she lived. They came at all hours, stomping through the dirt, snapping and trampling the foliage, and generally being careless jerks.

Now, Milgraf was a powerful sorceress, but she was also a pacifist, and because of that she didn’t want to directly harm those who trespassed in her forest. Still, she couldn’t just sit back and allow them to move through her home without reproach. So she did what any good magic using pacifist would. She created a spell that would do the violent work for her.

the image shows a bunch of poorly drawn and painted trees which is the home of the creator of the curse of the infernal body clock
Milgraf’s home, poorly rendered

Creation

Creating the curse of the infernal body clock was simple. People need to sleep, and they need to be awake. Milgraf thought if she could somehow control that, then her home would be safe. So, she searched her woods for a variety of ingredients that she could use to force sleep on her enemies. But, just putting them to sleep wasn’t enough.

She also wanted to make it difficult for them to go to sleep, or to wake up. An adventurer who can’t resist falling asleep in the heat of battle will surely meet his doom quite easily. And an adventurer who can’t wake up when it’s time runs the risk of alienating her traveling companions and having a falling out with the group. Both of these circumstances fit Milgraf’s purpose perfectly, and so she created the curse of the infernal body clock.

Once she gathered the needed materials, she cursed her forest, ensuring any who caused harm to the place would fall victim to her vengeance. Thus began the story of how her woods were haunted, but that is a different story for a different time.

How It Works

The curse sets the victim’s body clock to a certain time of day. When that time passes, the victim must make a difficult check against their willpower, or willpower like ability. As this is a generic curse, which stat you use will depend on the system you are playing.

If the check succeeds, everything is fine and the victim of the curse can go about their business until eight hours have passed. After this eight hour period, the victim must make another check. This continues every eight hours. If the victim is asleep, the check is to see if they wake up. If they are awake, the check is to see if they fall asleep. Once the victim is asleep, they are nearly impossible to wake up–the circumstances of which are left up to the Dungeon/Game Master.

Breaking the Infernal Body Clock

The only known way to break the curse is to convince Alfgahee to lift it. Unfortunately, she doesn’t seem to be willing to do that. Until she is, anyone suffering from the curse must continue to suffer. Sure, maybe an act of divine intervention, or powerful magic could lift it, but no one knows for sure.

One thing is for sure, the curse is dangerous and inconvenient. It has the potential to topple the most powerful fighter in a matter of moments, or to break up adventuring parties due to inability to perform basic duties. It’s like magical narcolepsy, and there are plenty of fun situations in which it could be highly entertaining.

So, that’s the curse of the infernal body clock. I hope you liked reading about it, and if you end up using it, or something it inspired, in one of your games, let me know how it went.

Thanks for reading, and for putting up with my bad artwork. I am not an artist.

Brie Hermelin, AKA Pickled Cheese

When I lived in the Czech Republic, I had the chance to try delicious Hermelin, or pickled cheese. It’s been a while since I’ve had it, and I no longer live in the Czech Republic, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy it. Here is the recipe I used for brie hermelin (I used brie instead of Camembert because I couldn’t find the latter), in case you want to make your own without reading this blog post. I understand, nothing worse than those cooking sites that give you their life story before getting to the good stuff.

I do hope you stick around, though, because I took the time to write this post, and because I made mine a little different. Plus, there’s lots of pictures in this post, so you’ll have something pretty to look at.

Prepare the Brie Hermelin

I started by slicing the brie in half, of course. How else would you do it?

the picture shows four boxes of brie cheese for hermelin

the picture shows the brie sliced in two halves down the center

So far, so good and easy, but then that’s the thing about hermelin, whether it’s made from brie or Camembert it’s easy to make. After slicing the cheese width wise, I then added the garlic, chili powder, and salt. It looked like this.

this picture shows a round of brie sliced in two with garlic, chili powder, and salt on top of it

Doesn’t it look pretty? I told you there were going to be a lot of pictures in this post. After this, I put the two halves back together and stuck a toothpick in them in order to help them stay together. It kind of worked, though the first round I put in the mason jar split open a little bit. It’s fine, though, as the garlic and spices will just serve to season the whole batch.

Before I put the cheese in the jar, the jar, I put some bay leaves, ground black pepper, and ground szechuan pepper in the base of the jar. I didn’t have allspice, and I couldn’t find the suitable ingredients for a substitute. I am sure this will be fine, though. Then I placed the first prepared brie round in the jar. I repeated the process of preparing the brie for hermelin with the remaining three cheese rounds.

Don’t Forget the Onions and Peppers

After I put the first prepared round in the jar, I added the onions and hot peppers. I may have gone a little overboard on these things, but that’s okay. I think. I’ll have to wait to until it’s ready to eat to find out for sure.

I used both white onions and red onions because I like both, and I used a lot of hot peppers. I like spicy food, but this could be too spicy. Too spicy? Possible, but unlikely.

Add the Oil for Health Reasons

Not really. There isn’t much healthy about brie hermelin, or any hermelin for that matter. Sure, the onions and garlic add a little bit of health benefits, but we’re dealing with cheese here; cheese drowning in oil, to be exact.

this photo shows the final product, brie hermelin sitting in a jar filled with onions, bay leaves, hot peppers and sunflower oil

And that’s it. My homemade version of hermelin in China. I hate that I have to wait 3-5 days for to soak up the flavors and be ready. I want to eat it now. Oh well, good things come to those who wait, and all that. Also, I won’t be able to eat it with the rye style Czech bread because I couldn’t find that, either.

So, I hope you enjoyed reading this post, and if you have any pointers on how to improve my next batch, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment. Thanks for reading.

The Sinister Story of Mr Obdurate

The sinister story of Mr Obdurate; written by Juan Manuel Ponce @ElOzymandias, with art by Craig Cermak @craigcermak. Dee Cuniff @deezoid provides colors, and Micah Myers @MicahMyers letters. The four team members work together in seamless fashion to tell a story that is provocative, implicitly violent, and more than a little spooky.

The first page sets the stage nicely. As readers, we don’t know what is going on, but we know it’s no good. ‘Fuck.’ It can mean so many things, and evoke so many emotions. Here, placed in the darkness and coming from a solitary figure, we feel the badness of it. We sense the isolation of the man in the car, and his pain. Cermak’s art paints a picture, focusing on the man’s grimace and closed eyes. He has to do something he doesn’t want to.

The next panel continues to build the sinister feeling of the story of Mr Obdurate by showing us a small diner, Mel’s at night. Christmas decorations fill its windows. The man from the car approaches the diner. We still don’t know what’s going on, therefore, our sense of unease increases.

The bottom panel doesn’t provide much more information, only that the man is meeting someone. However, the caption blocks inform the reader that there is danger, and they belong to the sinister story of Mr Obdurate. In addition to building the suspense of the story, the bottom panel also lets us in on the twist of the comic. The man in the car who we watched enter the diner is not the main character.

Mr Obdurate page one, it shows a man in a car in top panel, a diner in a darkened parking lot in the second panel, and the inside of the diner in the third panel

Sinister Images Tell Compelling Story

Comic books are static works. They have no movement or motion, and thus they often require a lot of action to keep the reader’s interest. If they don’t have action, then they need snappy dialogue. Mr Obdurate leans heavily on the latter, and somehow makes it work.

The comic is a series of conversation snippets, told mostly in a nine panel grid that confines the artwork, and produces a sense of claustrophobia in the reader. This design choice serves to increase the uneasy feeling the story wants to establish in its readers due to the limits its places on the information we have.

Another affect of the panel construction is we don’t get to see the narrator as he meets and speaks with his victims, making him difficult to connect with, and creating distance. The only time we see him is at the bottom of page one, so we have a sense of who he is, but only. We know he has a beard, and a creepy smile. We also know he wears his hat low to hide his eyes.

Part of the success of the sinister story of Mr Obdurate is how well it flows, even though we only see one half of the participants.

This page shows a series of panels in a 9X9 grid of people speaking with the sinister Mr Obdurate. We see a slim man, a bald man, a woman, and a man with a baby.

We don’t know who these people are, but that doesn’t matter. We see and read their reactions, and know they are nervous, jumpy, unsure of themselves. Only Mr Obdurate seems sure of himself in this sinister story, which makes sense as he is in control. His viewpoint is ours. He tells the people what to do, and they listen. The nine panel grid contributes to this, perfectly illustrating the absolute sense of control he has.

Slow Build Up to a Sinister and Satisfying End

The third page continues the panel construction, and amps up the tension. Mr Obdurate mentions that the people knew this was coming, and that they will try to stop it. Some of them, like the woman, beg. The bald man says he’s sorry and can’t do this. As readers, we still don’t know what is happening, and for that reason we are scared, too. The questions raised have no easy answers. However, rather than harming the work, these unanswered questions only build the mystery of the sinister story of Mr Obdurate.

We witness the desperation of these players as they realize their time is coming to an end. We don’t know how they will die, and it is unclear if they know that either. However, they are going to die.

Who is Mr Odburate? Is he death incarnate? A serial killer? A hired man sent to collect people? The question is left unanswered, and it doesn’t matter. What matters is that he has his role to play, as do we all.

I really enjoyed how this sinister story of Mr Obdurate doesn’t leave the reader with easy answers. Another thing that stood out to me was the creators’ ability to tell this creepy and atmospheric story without putting a lot of big action on the page. Despite the lack of big motion, there is still a definite sense of forward momentum along with the feeling of moving inexorably toward the ending.

If you enjoyed this comic, find the creators through their twitter links above and give them a follow and a shout out. And if you liked this post, leave a comment and let me know. Thank you for reading.

If you want to read more of my writing about comics, click here.

Edit

Juan Manuel Ponce contacted me on Twitter, and while he loved what I wrote about his and the team’s comic, he told me I was wrong. The character at the end of the first page in the diner is not Mr. Obdurate. He did think it would have been a cool twist, though. So, I got that one wrong, but what I said about how the nine panel grids gives the narrator absolute control still stands.

New Hellboy Trailer Leaves Me Cold

Much like books, we shouldn’t judge movies by their trailers, but I have to say the new Hellboy trailer leaves me cold and wanting. Contrary to what you might think, it’s not because of David Harbour replacing Ron Perlman as Anung Un Rama. Perlman was spectacular as Big Red, but Harbour looks like he will do a fine job.


No, what bothers me about the new Hellboy trailer, and possibly the movie is that I can’t get excited about it no matter how much I try. I love Hellboy and the Mignolaverse. It is weird and scary and fun and funny, and full of heart. To me, that’s what’s missing from this trailer, and why my feelings are luke-warm to cold about it.

Too Much Action

Trailers are supposed to get audiences excited and sell the movie. I understand that, and I understand this reasoning is probably why the new look at the movie is full of action, however, Hellboy is more than action. He is heart and pathos and ethos and a connection to the audience. Audience connection is essential, no matter what movie or character you are presenting.

For Hellboy, though, that connection is essential. He bears the Right Hand of Doom, but he rejects his destiny. As audience members, we need to feel that connection to him immediately. We need to understand that he denies the pre0ordained and forges his own path. If you tell that story with too much action, you run the risk of losing sight of what makes Hellboy work as a character.

Yes, a Hellboy movie needs action, but it needs more than that. Constant stabbings and explosions get boring and tedious. Audiences need more.

New Hellboy Trailer Same Generic Feeling

My biggest issue with the trailer, I think, it the generic feeling. It looks and feels and sounds the same as so many other superhero/action movies. It’s got the standard blue/gray color template, and lots of CGI that calls attention to itself.

Telling a Hellboy story without CGI is nearly impossible, even Del Toro used it in his movies. However, in Del Toro’s vision, the graphics seemed a little more integrated into the world. They felt like they were a part of it rather than apart from it.

A Hellboy movie can be many things: action-packed, scary, weird, funny; but it should never feel like something else. It should be its own entity with its own identity, and this trailer doesn’t communicate that idea to me.

I hope I am wrong, though because want this movie to be good, and I want it to succeed. I love Hellboy, and I want many more good movies to come.

What are your thoughts on the new hellboy trailer? Do you want to see the new movie? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading.



Coloring of Wizard Beach is Wonderful

When people think of comic book creators, they usually think of pencillers and inkers. But, another important member of the team is the colorist. Color helps inform the emotional status and general atmosphere of the page. Wizard Beach from Boom Studios is an example of how coloring helps to dictate the mood by enhancing the artwork.

Colorist as Composer

Comics is a silent medium. But, in a sense, the colorist acts as a musical composer, adding emotional heft and connection to the page. A good colorist brings out the emotional beats of the story, adding boldness where necessary, and softness where appropriate.

Wizard Beach is a great example of how the colorist helps to dictate the mood through enhancement of the artwork.

The first issue opens on an icy plain with snow covered mountains in the background. The art demonstrates that we are in a cold and desolate land, and Meg Casey’s colors reinforce the idea.

The pale blue, the dark green, and the charcoal gray set a chilly scene. The splashes of color, indicate life and heat in this wasteland; this place is not as deserted as it appears.

The coloring on this page does a lot of work in a little bit of space. We feel both the cold of the land and the heat of the energy bolts crashing together. Casey’s colors elicit an immediate emotional response from the reader. Thinking of colorist as composer, you can almost hear the music swelling as the battle begins.

The next page is where we reach the full crescendo of the battle. Hot and cold colors combine and bring the battle to life. There are no sound effects on the page, but we can still hear the zap of energy bolts. We can still feel the heat of the phoenix and the icy air of the mountains.

The battle is hectic. Pegasi fight dragons. Giants swing large hammers. Giant bats dropping foes to their deaths. There is and magic galore, all of which the color helps bring together.

Coloring Makes Details Pop

If Casey’s coloring were not so precise, the reader could easily lose track of the events of the fight, which would make Wizard Beach a chore to read. However, the splashes of hot color show us the violence and its consequences, and it helps guide the reader’s eye. The skeleton engulfed in yellow electricity is a prime example of this.

That leads us to the darker, and colder, image of the purple foot coming down on the wizard. Finally, at the end of that panel progression we see the black bats dropping the warriors to their doom. We go from hot to cooler to cold in those three panels, which help to tell the story of the battle itself. It starts of hot and passionate, and becomes colder and bleaker as it progresses. The other colors on the page also help us to process the chaos of the battle.

The snaking red of the fallen dragon. the fiery orange phoenix in the background battling a gray elemental. The cool reds and purples in the foreground all tell the story of the ebb and flow of the fight that the artwork alone cannot quite accomplish.

The coloring in Wizard Beach makes the artwork pop, emphasizing and highlighting linework that may otherwise be hard to see.

Emotional Color

In addition to helping convey the story of the battle, the colors also inform the reader’s emotional response, an idea especially apparent in the foreground. Looking at the left side of the page, we see people dressed colorfully in green. In our minds, they are immediately the good guys because green is the color of life and the forest, and it stands in stark contrast not only to the cold blues and purples of the setting, but also to that of their opponents, monstrous looking humanoids robed in purple , blue, and black on the right hand side of the page.

These darker colors mimic those of the setting, and are opposite to the vibrant and vital green on the other side of the page. Thanks to the colorist’s choices, we know at a glance who is on the side of life and who isn’t.

Quieter Moments of Wizard Beach Coloring

The importance of coloring to the mood and story of Wizard Beach is not limited to the battle that opens the issue.  When we first meet Hex, the series’ protagonist, he is sitting in a small hut, the interior of which is bathed in warm light, and the color choices reflect this warmth. Yellow and brown are warm, earthy colors meant to evoke a sense of calm and comfort, which is exactly how the hut feels, especially in comparison to what came before.

Not everything is perfectly cozy in the hut, though, as evidenced by the snowy wasteland in the top panel. We are near where the battle is raging, indicating that while we may be safe for the moment, we won’t stay that way.

The idea of temporary safety is further reinforced by the purple shadows in the foreground and background of the middle panel. There is warmth and safety in the cottage, but also tension and unease. The artists tell us that with the look on Hux’s face, and the colors, straightforward and simple as they may appear, drive the point home.

More Examples

There are several other instances of the coloring in Wizard Beach enhancing the artwork. One such example is the dinginess of the train station, which is conveyed through muted browns and light grays. The place looks dirty, thanks to the artwork, and it feels dirty thanks to the palette choices.

Another example of the coloring bringing out the best in the art is when Hex reaches Wizard Beach itself. As to be expected, the scene is bright and sunny, and the colors reflect that. Even on the beach, though, there are darker shades and cooler colors, indicating that not everything is peachy keen in paradise.

If you have something to say about this post let me know in the comments. I am always delighted to hear from readers, but please if you’re going to be a jerk, just keep your thoughts to yourself.