Hinkle & McNamara on The Rattler's Greatest Hit
March 25, 2016
IMAGE COMICS: Jason, what is it about Greg's storytelling here that makes this a favorite scene for you?
JASON McNAMARA: This is the scene where Stephen Thorn learns the difference between his tough-on-crime rhetoric and reality. Greg makes so many great decisions in this sequence that really elevate the script. The environment feels lived in and real, there's great character work in the body language, and the visual perspectives ratchet up the tension.
IC: On top of that, do you have a favorite moment in this specific sequence?
McNAMARA: The panel with the kitchen is one of my favorite illustrations in the book. It tells you so much about the characters that live in that house and how they contrast with Stephen's world. Before this scene we established that Stephen lives in swank apartment, has a maid, and gets around by car service. He is now in a reality outside his ego and beyond his control. To me, that kitchen panel is Stephen's last warning to turn around and leave, that these are bad people he's messing with.
Greg creates such authentic environments. I feel like I can step into that kitchen and smell how gross it is for myself.
IC: Greg, tell us about why this scene works for you. What kind of mood were you aiming for? I'm especially curious about the first three panels on the final page. How do you go about choreographing a moment like that?
GREG HINKLE: I was shooting for a tense scene, so hopefully that comes through in some way. Not only is Thorn's reality crashing down around him, but he's out in the country sneaking around in someone else's home. If anything goes wrong, there's no help coming anytime soon. I grew up in a small agricultural town, and I've spent lots of time driving down lonely highways. It's amazing how isolated you can feel even a few miles outside of town. We originally had a different couple of panels on page 36, but they ended up being too passive for us. (attached)
The first 3 panels of the last page were tough for me. It was sort of an unusual action to draw, for me anyway, so I had to recreate it. My wife is a very, very patient person, and humors my reference requests every now and then. I had her swinging a cord around in the backyard, trying to figure out the best way to strangle me. We'd figure a motion out and then we'd switch roles. Our neighbors probably think we're weirdos, but figuring out the mechanics of the action helped to distill it down to the essentials.
This sequence was the most detailed I'd ever drawn at the time, so in my mind, this scene represents a shift in my own confidence as an artist. This was before I'd discovered SketchUp and how to utilize that program as a reference tool, so putting together that staircase with good old-fashioned two-point perspective was a personal achievement!
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