Holy Moley, can you believe it? We’ve released 270 pages of comics! Go read page 270, then pop back here for some notes.

Let’s start off with some comments from the artist, the illustrious Mr. Joshua Burnett . . .

Notes from Josh

1. “Nazi, I am here to pummel you!” is my favorite line in this whole thing so far.

2. The chanting-a-character’s-name-in-the-background thing is a trope I picked up from Tom Scioli, although I suspect it’s actually a Todd McFarlane thing. You can also see it in use with Druuj the Slayer and Hate Frog.

3. I’ve enjoyed playing with my panel layout with this story. If I don’t push myself, I’ll constantly default to 2×3 six-panel spread. It’s good to challenge myself. I like the two narrow-tall panels at the top of this page.

4. In my head, Totenkopf sounds like David Warner.

Thanks, Josh! And now we continue on with . . .

Notes from Leighton

5.  I am happy with that “I am here to pummel you!” line, but on the whole this page didn’t take long to write–it’s just these two dudes threatening and hurting each other. I knew it would live or die based on the art, and what do you know, it lives!

6. Josh streamlined the fight sequence somewhat, from what I indicated in the script, and made it flow better.

7. There are so many great little touches in the art, I don’t know where to begin . . . I enjoy the little dollops of floating dark magic surrounding Totenkopf in panel two. In panel three, the big fist pointed at the reader, and the lightning bolts flying off Beowulf’s head, outside the panel border, really sell that moment.

8. Unless you’ve drawn a comic, you probably don’t appreciate how many choices a comics artist has to make in each panel. Let’s look at that bottom panel. All I gave Josh was the dialogue, and the description “Totenkopf blasts Beowulf with a death ray! It looks very painful!”

Notice how Josh established Beowulf and Totenkopf’s relative positions in the previous panel. The bottom panel is similar, in that Totenkopf is still on the left and Beowulf is still on the right, and Totenkopf is standing in a very similar position. So as you’re reading you flow right into this panel from the previous one, without needing to reorient yourself, but it’s not exactly the same; Josh has zoomed in and swiveled the angle slightly.

More importantly, he’s put Beowulf in an extreme close-up in the foreground. A few seconds have passed since Beowulf hit the ground, started to get up, got hit by the ray, and then started writhing in pain, but even though these things happened in-between panels you don’t notice, because the transition is so smooth. We’re seeing the moment of greatest visual impact, with Beowulf drawing our attention, facing the reader, contorted in pain. Instead of using a word balloon, Josh renders his cry of pain in large block letters at the bottom, spilling off the edge of the panel, making it seem that much more intense. The purple skulls, a visual motif established on the previous page, make it clear that Totenkopf’s magic is killing Beowulf. All of which would have been enough to make the image clear, engaging, and visually exciting, but Josh goes above and beyond by adding the mystical flames around Beowulf’s eyes.

Meanwhile, Totenkopf is still in the left side of the panel, looking like he’s not even exerting himself. And look, the mystical energy around his hand is in the shape of a swastika! Another nice touch.

All of which is to say, there were millions of ways to interpret that short description, most of which would not have been as visually engaging as what Josh has done here.

9. I can’t remember if I said this before or not, but this story is going to be 9 pages long. This is page 6. As much as I’d like to promise you page after page of Beowulf and Totenkopf fighting, we’re closing in on the end, and we’ve got to wrap things up soon. We’re trying to cram in way more than 9 pages worth of thrills in this story; hopefully the pacing is working for you.

10. Wait a minute, this story is supposed to be about Beowulf AND Chrysanthemum, but Chrys only showed up in one panel this time! And she didn’t even speak! Well, don’t worry–she’ll spring into action next week! Be here!