Maybe it’s because I’m a writing teacher. Maybe it’s because I’m a musician. Maybe it’s because I can’t think of anything better. What I love to weave throughout my work is leitmotif––also known as call-backs or references. What differentiates a leitmotif from the latter, I would say, is intent. A call-back can be lazy or is regarded as an easy, cheap move. A leitmotif is considered; to borrow from its more common musical usage, a leitmotif is a recurring theme or melody throughout a piece. Often this is used to bolster emotional moments and to connect characters. I try to do the same visually, calling back to previous important moments during current important moments to not only draw a connection but to deepen the meaning.

This page, of course, references Long John waking up to Hellrider Jackie at the beginning of “Sunza.”


I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

The last panel refers to the nightmare he had earlier in “Bird’s Eye,” which, again, references the opening scene with Jackie.


(There’s even a reference to the jail scene.) Like a good song, you want people to be singing it after it’s done. While I can’t have you sing a comic, I can try and pique your interest, a memory, to get you to cock your head and say, “I think I’ve seen this before.” I want readers to hunt and to find and to make connections and make you ask, “Why?” if only to have you find answers on your own. At the very least, it should signal that this page is important, narratively. So, in case you were wondering––yes, the references in this page are intentional.