Shane tries to do the right thing. He’s racing to protect someone. But he finds so often the world and many of us in it do not want to be saved. Then there’s Max, who doesn’t really understand what’s happening and here meets the woman who set him on this path, and what she wants him to do.
This issue is the midway point of the story, it’s a character study, and it’s also a place where the narratives of Shane and Max change gears, one going up, the other down a gear.
HEADSPACE #4 – get some
We finally get to the white themed cover. I like the way Eric laid out this Max composition. It’s nasty and oppressive, and feels like when Dave Johnson uses design to get across concepts present behind the story. Those piled bodies, man, damn.
If you end the last issue with a cyclopean ogre creating some trouble you can be damn sure we’ll open the next issue with more cyclopean ogre shenanigans. Poor Shane here isn’t loving life. He should just be glad that club swing isn’t liquefying his bones and splattering his skull across the pavement. I love the way Eric has him breaking the panel wall – totally not scripted.
I keep looking at this ogre’s necklace and wondering if those little pendants mean anything? This is proof artists work harder than me, I bet Eric has a whole backstory worked out for that necklace.
This is all just Gulliver’s Travels. The real one, not the Jack Black one…the Ted Danson one.
I’m also fond of that final line.
Oh, and this whole scene is to show that Max’s mind is busy, constantly, dealing with his demons. The Maxs here ignore Shane because they’re busy with something bigger. I wanted to have a moment where Shane sees he’s just a passenger in this huge opera.
I think Eric transitions this page beautifully into the flashback but I’m still worrying I didn’t land this page just right in that structural way. I hope the emotion rings true, though. A man’s inability to cope with insane levels of feelings is certainly a real thing.
That panel of Shane sitting and looking at his punching bag says so much and Eric slays with that body language. This is a man completely lost, completely helpless, completely stuck inside his own form which is unable to express enough to cope with what he’s got. All I can say is, I hope I never lose a kid, because I fear I’d be as useless as Shane is right here.
Now we cut to Max’s story. I hope people don’t mind that rhythm. Some Shane story, another peek at Max, then back to the Shane narrative engine. I’ve crazily liked plotting out the story in such a manner, trying to find the right cut points. It’s been fun.
Do you know why I’ve named the bakery that? A No Prize for anyone who gets it – I don’t think it’s that hard.
And now look closer at that paper. The first headline relates verrrry tangentially to the overall plot, but that second headline, well, that second headline is continuity, son.
Oh, and she totally speaks like Death’s Head, yes?
Yeah, so this sequence is talky. I feel bad for Sebastian, you should see the script pages.
Lois talks at max.
It surely wasn’t fun to draw but I wanted this scene to be static. So many other scenes aren’t so I thought this one could really slow down because I want you to pay attention to what Lois says, and how she words it. This is all very important and it all comes to a head next issue where a huge bombshell is revealed. This leads up to it.
I love the way Sebastian created Lois. She’s a very good looking character.
My Blue Heaven, ha, I couldn’t resist. That’s the sort of line I could never cut.
I’m a sucker for a silhouette on a clear background.
I loved writing that Lois would be open enough to Max to admit she doesn’t care about him, this has never been about saving him, and that she wants to use him for his specific skill set. Lois is not very nice but at least she tells you upfront how she’ll be.
Who is Zara Blackwell?
Quick, go open HEADSPACE #2 and look at pages 7 + 8. Notice some of the slick parallels Eric drew between this sequence and that one? Yep, that’s all him. He’s just that goddamn good.
I really hope people think I could and would kill a major character here at this point. I hope people turned the page genuinely not knowing what they would find.
To be honest, I’m sure people got that the kid was Max pretty early. Thinking I’d obscured that was probably a little false hope, but I like this reveal, the fact it was a Max memory all along, and there’s nothing Shane can do about this scene, it happened before, will always happen, and that’s just the way it goes down. because, as much as we all knew it was Max, Shane has been on the run through this insanity for about an hour, I guess, so he wouldn’t have known. Shane genuinely was trying to save someone and now he’s thinking maybe he’s inside an unsavable man.
That face comparison between two panels was scripted, but Eric is the mastermind who made the father’s face so much wider and more imposing.
This page for me is how good collaboration lifts the work. Eric nails that look of horror from Shane, as well as the red background. It’s very reminiscent of the first issue’s last page.
Those SFX really came out well and get punctuated by Young Max really enjoying himself in that final panel.
I don’t script splash pages often, nor do I do silent pages often. This page clearly means I want you to stop, pause, put yourself in Shane’s shoes, get comfy, realise you can’t because Shane’s life is permanently uncomfortable for the foreseeable future, and then wonder what you would do next in this situation.
I also scripted that specific statue into the page. Who is he and what does he signify?
As always, all hail Christopher Kosek, Designer Supreme of Carpenter Cove.
HANNIBAL has become something I can barely stop thinking about. It’s enthused and inspired me to no end. And with so many TV properties gone four colour funny book lately I can’t help but think a HANNIBAL book cannot be far off.
Go watch OFFSPRING. Seriously, do this.
Barely any #headspacecomic tweets so I guess I can retire that thought experiment that only served to make me think I have no readership. Funnily enough, every time I put out the call for tweets, I’d get a 5:1 ratio of RTs to actual use of the bastard thing.
Dan Hill drops more narrative fuel on your fire, while also subtly hinting at themes of the book. The government can suck hard sometimes.
Man, Sami Kivela has me wanting a Carpenter Cove sheriff’s badge so bad. I love his use of yellow here, the man is a master.
Then we get Justin Greenwood and Marissa Louise bringing some cover level insanity to the game. Justin really went full out on this one and he works so much into it. The man is great, so no surprise he’s doing so much rad work right now at Image and Oni.
Another issue down, and the halfway mark reached. I hope you are as excited as I am. #4 was our crowning achievement and I am so incredibly proud of it, but be prepared for #5 which will punch you straight in the gut, then on the bridge of your nose, and then repeat the experience until your eyes fill up with tears. It’s going to be a dark ride.
We’d also appreciate it if you spread the good word. Indie books live and die on the vine due to exposure and word of mouth. Hit up twitter with #headspacecomic to share your thoughts (ha), and possibly end up in the back of an issue, too. Chat with myself @ryanklindsay or Eric @ericxyz and let us know your thoughts. We love to chat about the stuff we create. Or just about other stuff. Tell your friends about the book on Facebook, or in person, actually phone a friend to talk about Headspace, or gift the comic to someone. It’s all appreciated.
We’ll see you for #5 real soon. Til then, thank you. If you’ve made it halfway, you deserve a pause, a beer, maybe a counter meal down the pub with us, and it’ll all happen, in good time. Thank you.