Last week I fell behind on my weekly comic schedule, due to trips out of town for a wedding and a high school graduation, but this past weekend gave me an opportunity to get caught up and, now that I'm back on track, I wanted to write a bit about the last two comics.
The idea for last week's strip (the Batman one) came from a combination of a desire to draw Batman (thanks to a new trailer for Dark Knight Rises) and my strong interest in (read: obsession with) Canadian drunk driving law. I pictured Batman barrelling along in the Tumbler, in Batman Begins, over church rooftops and through police cars, hopped up on the Scarecrow's fear gas, and thought "that is a client I would not want to defend at trial."
This got me to thinking about defense lawyers in Gotham City and I figured that they would have a heyday with all the illegal or quasi-legal stuff that Batman does to apprehend their clients (I should acknowledge, at this point, that spending time thinking about the legal processes in a fictional city probably indicates that I have too much free time). This, in turn, made me think how frustrating this would make things for the local prosecutors. It's all good and fine for Batman to stop the Joker from poisoning the water supply, but if he does it in a way that prevents the district attorney from successfully prosecuting the Joker, he'd be back on the streets in no time. With this in mind, I figured that the D.A.'s office would jump at the opportunity to get back at Batman for all the crappy cases he brings them.
So, with the punchline in mind, I sat down to draw the strip. I decided to use Batman villains that everyone would, hopefully, recognize (Penguin, Joker, Bane and Scarecrow) and as the strip started coming together, I thought about what kind of lawyers each villain would have (again, likely an indicator of too much free time).
I figured that, since Penguin is more of a crafty, behind-the-scenes schemer, he'd have a respectable old lawyer on retainer. I also figured that he'd have the kind of cash required to get that guy down to the D.A.'s office, not one of his young associates, and so Penguin got an old guy in a three piece suit as his counsel.
Given the Joker's chaotic and murderous tendencies, I figured that the only lawyer who would consider representing him would be one who didn't know any better. As such, the Joker has a young, eager public defender, fresh out of law school, as his advocate. I should mention that Olivia Wilde was on the Colbert Report when I was drawing this strip, and so I ended up basing that lawyer's face on the comely Ms. Wilde.
Incidentally, the Joker is supposed to be biting his thumb at Batman, but I'm not sure that joke comes across in the strip (and I'm not sure how funny that is to anyone else, anyway
I got a chuckle out of picturing the Joker constantly taking the piss out of Batman).
For Bane's lawyer, I thought of the character's Central/South American origins in the comics (the comic book version of the character comes from a fictional island nation called Santa Prisca) and pictured that he'd have a young, hot-shot cartel lawyer on retainer. I also thought it'd be funny for him to advance a diminished capacity defense ("I had no idea that Venom would adversely react with my insulin!").
Finally, for those interested in the minute details of comic book nerdery, the Batman costume used in the strip is a combination of the suit designed by Yanick Paquette for the Batman Incorporated title and the logo used in the current, ongoing Batman series. In retrospect, I wish I had just used the logo from the Paquette design (the yellow oval would have stood out better in the final panel than the naked Bat symbol), but I'll just keep that in mind if I do another Batman strip.
Turning to this week's strip, I should first mention, as background, that I am a lawyer who works for a Canadian insurance company (insert "insurance lawyers are scum" joke here).
Last Friday, a colleague asked me to do a comic strip for the quarterly newsletter that the legal department writes for the company's insurance adjusters (I get the impression that we had space to fill and she ran out of time to ask for more articles).
I was happy to help out (particularly because a strip is less work than an article would be), so I put together a series of jokes that I hope will specifically appeal to folks in the insurance industry.
For the panel layout, I wanted to get away from the typical 'straight on' angle I'd been using for my Bound for the Bar strips, and decided to vary the 'camera' angle between each panel (to a varying degree of success
I fucked up the angle on that first panel).
Finally, our company colours are red, teal and black and I decided to incorporate those into both, the title gag and the colours used in the actual strip (the first and final panels feature guys wearing the company colours).
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the strips from this week. In the coming weeks I'll be trying out a few new techniques and styles, while I work on the backstory for my Starship Vanguard strip. I've been reading a great book on drawing digitally that has a bunch of new tricks I want to try in Photoshop and, in the coming months, I will be forcing myself to draw things I wouldn't normally draw (inspired by Brian Eno's Oblique Strategy card that asks, "What wouldn't you do?"). With that in mind, I'm excited to get started on next week's strip that'll combine a cute animal strip with a meditation on prisoner psychology (hilarious, right?!!!).
Yours very truly,