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Chapter 01: Page 16
Originally posted on:08/25/2006
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Chapter 01: Page 16

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Eek, blood!
08/25/2006
It was difficult to decide how much blood was too much (or too little). I’m not one who enjoys excessive amounts of blood and gore, I go out of my way to avoid horror films and the like, but at the same time I firmly believe in being honest about the ugliness of violence.

In Star Trek, Phasers allow for a kind of sanitised violence. When somebody gets shot their chest will glow for a moment and they’ll fall down dead. It’s so clean, so easy. There are exceptions to this (Star Trek 6: The Undiscovered Country really changed the way we looked at phasers, as Klingons bled all over the place and even lost limbs), but in general there’s very little impact when one person shoots another.

Firely, on the other hand, does a great job of reminding us of the consequences of violence. Two particularly strong examples come to mind:

1. In Ariel, where Jayne and Simon overpower their guards. The sight of the guard desperately bighting Jayne’s hand, fearing for his life, is a sobering one. These people aren’t having fun. They’re not going to make some witty retort when they rise victorious, and then demand “Who’s next?”. They’re fighting for their lives.

2. Mal’s ear in War Stories. We’ve all seen shows where much-loved characters are tortured. It’s amazing how gentle the torturers seem to be – sure they’ll apply shock-collars, jolts of electricity, pain-sticks, and it all looks like it must really hurt… but in the end our hero makes it through and heals up to be as strong and beautiful as ever. But in War Stories, Niska takes things one step further and actually cuts off our hero’s ear. We’ve gone past pain, now we’re talking about mutilation – and all of a sudden this “torture” becomes less fun. As it should be. A similar argument can be made for season five of Angel, when Spike loses both his hands.

Now, both Mal and Spike are miraculously restored to full health, but this doesn’t detract from the immediate shock of seeing an uglier, more obscene level of torture than we’re accustomed to.

So when someone in Crimson Dark gets shot, I’m going to make it look neither clean nor fun. My bright energy beams don’t just make people glow, they rip through internal organs and mutilate the human body. That’s what guns do, why pretend otherwise?

Other thoughts: I screwed up on the second panel. Poor Daniel. I chose a singularly unflattering mixture of expression, lighting and angle. I am the paparazzi of comic artists.

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