I am really proud of this page. There’s the obvious technical stuff like the complicated perspective and lighting and whatnot. But that’s not what I’m talking about. What I like about it is the cinematic approach to the page, the blend of dialogue over unrelated imagery––a montage, for lack of a better word.

This montage page design is a classic of the form, but I rarely use it and I’m not sure why (I can only think of two times I’ve used it before).

It’s a fun technique because it really leans into the “show, don’t tell” aspect of storytelling, something that comics excel at. However, it can be scary to indulge in due to the severe amount of trust you’re putting on the reader to follow what’s happening even if they aren’t literally seeing it. That may be one of my main, unconscious reasons for not using it; it’s not due to a lack of trust in the reader, it’s my lack of trust in being able to pull it off clearly. That’s the other side of the coin: is what I’m showing clearly rendered so that it informs instead of distracts.

An early double-page spread version of this page, but the design left me uninspired. Click for larger image.

It’s Rich Jack’s monologue that inspired me to dive into this. He’s painting such a rich and regal vision of what Bodie is (or what he thinks it is) as he walks Long John and The Rook down the hall, but what we’re actually seeing in this supposed mansion of the richest person in the Basin tells a very different story. So, the imagery isn’t different for the sake of being different, it’s there to enhance the dialogue for the reader, saying more than a snarky back-and-forth conversation would ever say.

The thumbnail for the final version of this page, though you can see by the number of the page that revising continued after this drawing. Click for larger image.

The biggest trial of the page was actually the first panel. Initially, I had planned this to be the double-page spread of the chapter, like I did with the Long John and Jonny Mono walk in Chapter 3 and the Long John drinking scene in Chapter 4. “Plan” is a strong term, however. Every iteration I tried ended up looking being too fragmented and unclear, despite being built around a montage. So, I bumped down to one page and I really like how it turned out as a result. Not every chapter needs a double-page spread, anyhow!