The Eunice Williams story – Page 4


 Script for page 4:


I begged of God, to over-rule, in his providence, that the corpse of one so dear to me, and of one whose spirit he had taken to dwell with him in glory, might meet with a Christian burial, and not be left for meat to the fowls of the air, and beasts of the earth : A mercy that God graciously vouchsafed to grant: For God put it into the hearts of my neighbours to come out as far as she lay, to take up her corpse, recarry it to the town, and decently to bury it, soon after.

“The next day we were made to scatter one from another into smaller companies; and one of my children carried away with Indians belonging to the eastern parts.”

John sees Eunice led away in a different direction.

Eunice is brought to the Christian Mohawk village of Kahnawake.

John to Quebec, to live among the Jesuits. 


This is where I started to re-define what John would look like, and I did it in the name of comedy — there is only one portrait of John Williams (that  I could find online):

…but I don’t know; not much to work with there.   I wanted to have something visual going on in these “expository” panels  — some counterpoint to the text, and I went for the laugh, caricaturing John a bit as an uptight bluestocking in the same nose-in-the-air posture whether offered a glass of wine or conversion to Catholicism.  So I exaggerated nose, chin, forehead for that effect.  And he probably wouldn’t have brought his wig along for the long march to Quebec, so I was happy not to have to deal with that!

Rough page 4:


As much as I liked drawing poor Eunice Williams senior’s beautiful tombstone…

…it seemed to me that stepping out of the forward movement of the story at that point wasn’t working.  Eliminating that panel made it possible to add another beat, showing how John ends up with the Governeur.   The final line art:

Did I say “final?”  HA!

When I got to page 5 I realized that I had to introduce an important character in the last panel, or she’d appear from nowhere.   Another thanks to the lightbox!  I sketched this figure grouping:


And dropped them into the red-drawn panel 5.  So… MAYBE now it’s final:

Hopefully they’re noticeable enough to set-up the middle woman’s actions in the next page.  You’ll see!  At least… you can see if you want to.  Next time.

By the way, a great source of visual reference for this is Bruce Beresford’s film of Brian Moore’s “Black Robe.”  I highly recommend the film!

Merci beaucoup for looking!

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:)


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!