As Max roars off to Crisis Strike HQ, we re-establish the imminent jeopardy of the victims!

This page was a lot of work from both Max-The-Artist and myself, but personally I think it turned out pretty well and we both hope you like it! Got to try some new effects techniques, which is always fun. And Max not only created the initial art but also took all the effects I loaded into the rough and artistically melded the whole thing into what I feel is a pretty striking final page.

What can we say? We get a chance to set City Hall on fire, we try to do it right.


More below!



Fully Involved


My handy list of firefighting lingo indicates the above term refers to a structure in which fire is so widespread that firefighters can barely handle it. I’m not saying this page was necessarily all that difficult for Max and myself; it just became that way because I wanted to “help.” There’s no question that Max could have simply freehanded the entire thing himself in Illustrator. But I liked the challenges indicated in the roughs, and I wanted to do them “real” where I could. So that meant coming up with heavy-duty window fires and water dropping from a helicopter.

I actually had some window fire I was planning to use, but it was not quite as awesome as I would have liked. However, I got unexpectedly lucky there. I had been testing some individual resin-based miniature effects and hadn’t been pleased with the results, so I decided to just get rid of the remainder by piling it all in a heavy crucible and setting it on fire.

Since the sky was blue that day, at the last minute I decided that what the hell, I’d set up the camera for the burn. Because although the crap had been pretty feeble in testing, you never know.

BlackSmokeColumnWell. As it turned out, piling several lumps in a crucible caused them to burn hotter, and the crucible itself restricted the access to atmospheric oxygen. The result was a most delightful column of fire and black smoke, filmed in hi-rez. Took a day to clean and render (hi-rez takes forever) but the result is what you’re now seeing in the windows above.

For the cascade of water — well, I couldn’t actually use water. Water is one of the biggest headaches for miniature work; it just never scales properly, even if you add detergents and alcohol to reduce the surface tension. Slow motion helps a little, but not a whole lot. Really, the only way to make a splash of water look big is to make a big splash of water.

But for certain effects — like a cascade — you don’t necessarily have to use water. You can use a fine, free-flowing powder to get a similar effect, especially if you set up a pouring mechanism and some fans. Well, I could rig those.

As for the powder – I’d heard of people using fine sugar, and other people using fine salt. Both would work, but I was concerned about cleanup. There would be residue, certainly, and sugar would attract ants. I have enough ants. Salt would kill all the plants in the vicinity, especially if I hosed off the area as I planned.

Fortunately, there is a free-flowing powder called micronized creatine monohydrate. It’s a popular bodybuilding supplement, and it is actually pretty cheap if you buy it in bulk. Which I do. It also dissolves instantly in water and won’t harm plants, so it can be hosed away into the plant beds.

cascadeAnd here we have a “cascade of water” effect. Put several of them together for the water-dropping helicopter. Cleanup was easy too.

The only problem is, there’s a chance I may soon have the biggest, baddest, most ass-kicking ants in the neighborhood. World domination starts here.

— Bob out