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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Tales from the Memory Bank: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic: Commencement, Part 5

http://bit.ly/KOTORMarv1
In honor of the rerelease by Marvel of the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic comics, I'm revising and updating my production notes here on what I hope will be a weekly basis. You can get Star Wars Legends Epic Collection: The Old Republic Vol. 1 from your local comic shop, from Things from Another World or from Amazon. You can also purchase signed copies directly from my shop while supplies last.


Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #5
"COMMENCEMENT" PART 5

Art by Travel Foreman
Lettered by Michael Heisler
Colored by Michael Atiyeh
Cover by Travis Charest
Edited by Jeremy Barlow and Dave Marshall
Released May 31, 2006 by Dark Horse Comics
Story licensed and © Lucasfilm Ltd.

As with all my “production notes,” consider a “Spoiler Warning” attached. Please read the books first.

This issue has always looked different from the rest of "Commencement," and for good reason -- as it featured the work of fill-in artist Travel Foreman, helping us to keep the series on schedule.

The scheduling problem that cropped up was my doing, essentially – in that I came up with the suggestion to do the promotional comic Knights of the Old Republic/Rebellion #0 after we were already midstream into the production of the monthly series. Brian Ching very quickly shifted gears from the middle of “Commencement” to work on “Crossroads,” but the time involved necessitated bringing a guest artist in for #5.

Fill-in art is a fact of life in comics, going back to the beginning. As of the release of this issue, I hadn’t yet done a six-issue stretch with an artist that didn’t need at least a fill-in inker (as in the case of Jorge Lucas in Iron Man #76) to help out for one reason or another. Travel stepped in and made the save – and in the end, the issue came out right on time.

The vision sequence is the heart of the issue, of course, and would be referred to several times over the course of the "fugitive" arc of the series. Following my suggestion, Travel headed into a serious Steve Ditko direction with it. (The spiral staircase looks like something out of an old Doctor Strange story!) It’s quite different from the usual sort of vision or dream sequence – in part, because what we’re seeing is a vision experienced in gestalt, by more than one mind at once. Note especially the white-on-black imagery from the Force-sighted Q’Anilia, concluding with the color from the “Red Menace.”

I toyed with depicting exactly what Elbee would see – and what Gryph referred to seeing in the hologram: namely, the Masters running around swinging at the air, responding to what they were seeing in their vision. But we had already done a POV trick going from the hologram to the flashback – and I figured going in one more level would give readers a chance to see something of what the Masters were concerned about.

Seeing the final scene of this issue in print reminded me of a comics scene I hadn’t looked a quarter of a century. Way back in X-Men #114, Storm accuses Cyclops of not having really loved Jean Grey because of his inability to mourn for her; she turns her back on him and walks away, leaving him speechless. The dialogue and contexts here are completely different – and of course, this scene ends differently – but I have to say I learned a lot about comics drama from reading Chris Claremont, so if there’s a little subconscious inspiration there, so be it. I’m pleased to have that nod to him in my work.

TRIVIA

• There’s no one on board the Taris police carrierwhen it’s shot down; as the lieutenant says, it’s in hover mode, waiting for them. (As Zayne says, “I didn’t kill anyone before, and I’m not going to now.”) I figured with the gravities involved, it was probably unneccessary for the ship to make landfall on the Rogue Moon.

• That’s a magnetic suction tube – as seen in Episodes IV and VI -- that the Last Resort uses to grab the Elbee parts from the surface – and to quickly re-embark Zayne and Jarael. I figured if there was ever any piece of equipment a junk-hauler would have, it’s that!

• Camper doesn’t do much mad-mumbling, as I call it, this issue – he’s pretty focused on the task at hand. For him, that is!

• Raana Tey has to have an extra-large helmet for those horns of hers, doesn’t she?

• Camper’s explanation of Elbee’s mental functioning suggests his original programmers knew a little bit of Asimov’s Laws of robotics. Are the laws in the same order in the Star Wars universe? Inquiring droids would like to know...

• People had been waiting to see a little trademark Snivvian moodiness from Gryph; this was their chance.

• While this issue went on sale in the United States in June, it was actually considered a May-shipping issue. Memorial Day shifted new comic-book day one day later in the States in 2006.

Next week:
We're on to the story behind the final chapter of "Commencement." Or you can skip ahead and read all the notes for the series, though they're only updated up through this issue.
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