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.

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.