The Eunice Williams story – Page 3

The third page of the story I’m working on for the Colonial Comics anthology from Fulcrum Books.  The script for this page (notice a little bit of overlap with the last panel of page 2, I split one scene into two:)

PAGE 3.

Long march begins, 80 captives and 250 Indians and French soldiers, through the snowy wilderness.

Behind them, smoke rises from the burning houses of Deerfield.

JOHN: “The journey being at least three hundred miles we were to travel …. the place we were to be carried to, a popish country.”

Eunice (mother) can’t keep up with Eunice (daughter).  Mother slips and falls into river as they cross. Mohawk warrior raises his tomahawk to kill her.  Eunice (daughter) turns and sees, cries out. Another Mohawk man comforts her, picks her up and carries her on.

“My wife told me her strength of body began to fail, and that I must expect to part with her; saying, she hoped God would preserve my life, and the life of some, if not all of our chil dren, with us; and commended to me, underGod, the care of them.

“in passing through the river, she fell down, and was plunged over head and ears in the water; after which … the cruel and blood thirsty savage, who took her, slew her with his hatchet, at one stroke”

 

…Also those last couple passages are from John Williams’ book (full text available here, by the way).  I put them in not neccesarily to use as text in the final comic, but just description to work from.

First a thumbnail:

 

Then I roughed out the page (assembled from sketches and pulled together on lightbox):

And finally (or so I thought):

Pretty happy with this.  I especially like the weird awkward falling figure in panel two, and the shape created by the prone figure in the next panel (which goes back to this teeny sketch weeks earlier:)

Buuuuuut… I took the finished page into the BCR meeting, and got some valuable feedback, especially from Shelli Paroline.  First off, she recommended restoring the lettering in the first panel, which I’d thought to do without it.  But I think that it will make the transition from one scene to the next smoother for the reader.

Secondly, there was some uncertainty as to the attitude of the Indian who picks Eunice up at the end.  I also realized that, in this “cinematic” style of story-telling (cutting from different angles on the same action for the fall into the water, Eunice seeing her, the killing blow, the reaction), there was an unecessary “beat.”   The middle panel in the middle tier, looking over the mother’s head as Eunice runs toward her: doesn’t really add any new information, and it does something weird to the pacing.  So I could get rid of that panel, and add another beat to clarify the relationship between Eunice and the Indian man:

There now!  Thank you lightbox for allowing me to preserve what I liked in the first version (I re-draw the whole page, I guess so there’s a nice original page as an end product).  Though I’m not sure I don’t like the “striking” panel (panel 4 in this version) better in the one above.

Oh, and in case you’re interested, the finished work is drawn with brush and India ink (Dr. PH Martin’s Black Star) on bristol (Borden & Riley).

Thanks for looking!

Dan
Lives in: Cambridge, Mass. Does: comics. Used to live in: Topanga Canyon, California But grew up in: Cambridge, mostly Used to do (maybe still?): Screenwriter, journalist, teaches some too

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