Behind the Shadows: The Colour of Vengeance

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Dean opened the paper and began reading the contents aloud.  “Despair for I walk among you, and I am the right hand of vengeance.”

“I don’t buy it, one man couldn’t do all this,” said Dean.

Beauford looked around as the crime scene investigators began the grisly work of processing the scene. “If you want my advice, start stocking up on empty body bags and making space in the morgue, I get the feeling this guy is just getting started.” – Fallen Heroes

In this week’s Behind the Shadows we hand the reigns over to Gat Melvin, the colourist on Wrath of God. In the development of the project Gat’s use of colour was instrumental in telling the blood soaked tale of The Reverend. So without further ado…over to Gat.

Greetings, Shadow-Reader.

If you’re reading this, it means you’ve come out the other side of the psychedelic-violence and tortured roller-coaster, that is the Wrath of God.

The decision to use colour, as a visual narrator was an idea to help break up the separate timelines and eras in the Reverend’s life, dreams of a troubled childhood, hallucinations violent actions, the simplicity and truth of happiness and the concept of, ‘Reverend Vision’

There are four timelines portrayed in the story, which are:
1 – The present day

2 – The Reverend’s training

3 –  The Reverend as a boy

4 – ‘The Maria Chronicle’

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The bright, white-washed dream effect for The Reverend as a boy. Childhood is suppose to be a time of happiness and innocence, but for the Reverend, life has dealt him a very different hand of cards. With the change of his face,The Reverend leaves his past life to his dreams and begins to see the world as ‘the monster’.

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This is where the idea of ‘Reverend vision’ was born.  Remembering the film, Predator and how the alien saw in an infrared spectrum, I wanted to do something similar with the Reverend.  While he sees the
sky as blue and the grass as green, violence – death, brings life to him.

When we first meet the Reverend, he’s a man in his 50’s so his ‘Reverend Vision’ is strong, highly-saturated colours and strange mixes of tones, so it became a good tie-in.

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However when we go back into his past and most importantly his  training, the tones are much less saturated and obscure, that he is still learning this way of violence, still learning the ‘way of the dark side’.

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Why then, is his time with Maria in a mono-chrome you ask?

The Reverend knows violence, utter, bloody violence.  And what does one who knows only hate and brings destruction hope for?  My opinion…love. A simple word, a simple desire, the simplicity of black and white.

‘If a bird lives its whole life in a cage and all it knows, is the cage, does the bird even know the cage exists?’

His time with Maria are the best times of his life, he doesn’t need anything else, life is simple and shown through the monochromatic feel of this time.

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I hope you guys have really enjoyed the story and that I’ve given you more insight into everything that is Wrath of God.

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Now, ‘Go get your orange on’
– Gat Melvyn

Wrath of God is available now on Comixology

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Behind the Shadows: Prose to Script to Comic Page – Wrath of God ‘ A Dark Hero’s Rebirth’

Last week saw the digital release of Wrath of God on ComiXology but what some of you may not know is the Reverend, the two gun wielding vigilante who stars in the comic, made his debut within the pages of the Fallen Heroes prose novel. I thought it might be interesting to give you a little insight on one of the pivotal scenes from the comic and its relationship to the novel.

The Rebirth

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When Jonathan Bishop aka The Reverend  awakens from his coma with a new face  it was one the most important scenes for the character in Fallen Heroes and yet most people have never read the scene. I cut it from the final draft because I was scared that by revealing too much of the Reverend’s past it would diminish the mythic quality I was trying to instill in  the character.

Cy Dethan who wrote the script for the Wrath of God comic was the first person I let read the  scene and the moment he read it it gave him the central themes he wanted to explore with the Reverend.

The subject of the Reverend’s training is never address in the novel because it was not needed to be. I wanted The Reverend to arrive  immersed in his crusade and at the top of his game. Now, however, I have the wonderful luxury of being able to say to people “If you want to know how he was trained and learn more about his past then here’s Wrath of God.” this notion of making the comics 100% canon as far as novels are concerned has been something that has become more and more embedded with each new Unseen Shadows project.

What we get in Wrath of God is Cy doing a brilliant job of expanding on the Reverend’s past without diminishing any of the power or mystery of the character. It was also a delicate balancing act because we wanted a story that could stand alone and apart from the novel but at the same time reward readers of both. For me personally it was great to work with Cy on fleshing out the Reverend’s past and answering a few of the questions I never tackled while working on the novel.

Here’s  Cy had to say about how he see’s the Reverend.

“To me, the Reverend represents the purest form of personal commitment – an implacable crusader with every outward trace of humanity literally burned away. No act is too monstrous or sacrifice too great in pursuit of his understanding of justice. I needed to know what could do this to a man, and whether the madness was always in him. Hopefully, we’ve gone some way toward answering those questions in Wrath of God.”

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The Prose

So without further ado here’s the original scene  from Fallen Heroes.

Irene had talked one of the other nurses into making her rounds for her, and now here she was for the first time in the restricted wing.  She admitted to not being very impressed; a couple of armed guards and that was about it. She walked gingerly into the room where the unknown patient was being kept. It was hospital policy to check on all patients, even those under government protection.  He was just laying there, his face hidden behind a thick layer of bandages.  There was no doubt in her mind that he was still in a coma; feeling a little cheated by the anti-climax, she moved to the door.

“Maria.”

Too shocked to speak, Irene slowly turned round to find the patient she thought comatose now sitting bolt upright, his unusual eyes, the only hint of what lay under the bandages, scrutinising her every movement.

“What day is it?” he asked, his voice no more than a whisper, but for some reason, it sent shivers through her, and the desire to be anywhere else but here was foremost in her mind.

“It’s…It’s…Sunday,” Irene stammered.  “Sunday the third of September.”

The patient sighed heavily and slowly climbed out of his bed.  “I am alive,” he said, staring out of the window.

The urge to run screaming from the room and call someone, anyone was almost too great for Irene to ignore, but before she did, there was one question she needed answering.

“Sir, I need to know, we’ve all been waiting to know since you got here, who are you?”

The patient turned from the window, and Irene found herself looking into the strangest eyes she had ever seen.  They were an unnatural colour; Irene tried to put a name to the colour…jade, that was it, jade.

The patient walked up to her and removed the bandages from his face.  “I am wrath,” he said sadly.

The Script

The “deleted scene” from the Fallen Heroes novel that inspired this layer of Wrath of God’s flashback structure served as both a partial explanation of Jonathan Bishop’s metamorphosis into the Reverend and an open question in its own right. It follows on from Bishop’s literal “baptism of fire” at the hands of the drug lord, Vincent Gonzalez, and essentially charts the agonising process of a lost and fallen man being born again.

The whole concept of Bishop’s conversion is drenched in Christian mythology in the novel, and yet framed in a profoundly alien and threatening light. I’d go so far as to say that most of my understanding of the character was informed by reading this scene in the information pack Barry sent me. The sadness, the disconnection, the violence – the essential core of the Reverend is all at work here. – Cy Dethan (Writer)  Wrath of God

1) Cut to a close-up of the Reverend, his face a freshly healed wound. There are bandages, recently removed from his face, hanging loosely around his neck and shoulders. We’re in a hospital room, by a washbasin with a large mirror set above it. The Reverend, looking notably younger than in the previous scene (with more and darker hair), is gazing at his reflection with an expression somewhere between sadness and amazement. He’s dressed in a hospital gown.

We’re going to have several timelines running through this story. As a suggestion, it might be worth emphasising each strand with its own, unique colouring style or other easily distinguishable visual device.

CAPTION

THIS IS NOT MY FACE

2) Pull back. The Reverend turns away from the mirror, looking lost and hopeless. A nearby nurse (Irene Dickinson, for continuity fans) steps toward to help him. She looks genuinely concerned. There are two “spook” types in dark suits, armed with handguns in the room with us, but we needn’t see them both in this panel. Just a hint of one of them partially in shot would be plenty.

CAPTION

ONLY THE EYES BETRAY HIM, AND AS I LOOK INTO THEM ONE LAST TIME I BELIEVE I FINALLY UNDERSTAND…

3) One of the spooks steps forward to intercept the nurse. He raises his weapon to threaten her. The Reverend notices, looking up sharply.

CAPTION

THIS IS THE FACE OF A DEAD MAN—

4) The Reverend gets up in the spook’s face, his expression instantly hardening to a frightening degree. He presses the spook’s pistol down firmly with one hand. Both the spook and the nurse look taken aback.

The Page

All of this work led to this final page of art bringing together that fantastic work of Cy Dethan (Script), Steve Penfold (Art), Nic Wilkinson (Letters) and Gat Melvin (Colours).

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Hope you enjoyed this this little look behind the scenes.

About Wrath of God

The Reverend: a holy weapon forged in tragedy and flame – a murderous martyr whose cold judgement strikes with the force of a vengeful God. Despair, for the Reverend walks among you. He is the right hand of vengeance. He is Wrath.

From the twisted brain of Cy Dethan comes this 22 page story following Fallen Heroes favourite The Reverend; a cold blooded and ruthless killer hell-bent on a path of righteousness and destruction.

 Wrath of God cover

Published by: Barry Nugent
Written by: Cy Dethan
Art by: Steve Penfold
Colored by: Gat Melvyn
Lettered by: Nic Wilkinson
Edited by: Barry Nugent
Price: 0.69p

Available at Comixology

Blood Cries Out Page 14: First Look at the Reverend

So in case you thought the team working on Blood Cries Out have been sitting on their thumbs doing nothing I thought I’d drop by to shatter that illusion. The problem is the pages after our last preview are pretty spoiler heavy (but boy are they stunning) so we wanted to wait to get to a spot where we could give you something to look at which wouldn’t spoil the story. To that end here, for your viewing pleasure, is not only our first look at the Reverend but also a nice big hint of which Fallen Heroes alumni will be sharing some panel time with our holy weapon of god.

Hopefully we’ll be able to show off this panel in full colour courtesy of Gat soon but I’m sure you agree that Cy,Nic and Steve have done some stunning work on this page. If you’ve not checked out the Blood Cries Out preview then here’s the link to the PDF.

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First Look at Page 2 of Unseen Shadows:Blood Cries Out

In the same manner as page 1 here’s is a look at the inks for page 2 of our first ever full length graphic novel Blood Cries Out and as you can see our hooded friends are up to some dark mischief in a junkyard. Look out for the finished page next week!

In the meantime you can out check the first adventure of  The Reverend the star of Blood Cries Out in the story Wrath of God which is featured in the Tales of the Fallen anthology available now from our Comicsy shop (pay direct by paypal) and other outlets.

 

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