The Eunice Williams Story – pages 6 & 7

Continuing the process of drawing a short comic about John and Eunice Williams and the Deerfield Raid of 1704, for Colonial Comics anthology from Fulcrum Press…

Where the first 5 pages were primarily visual, these two switch to a dialogue mode.  The majority of the dialogue is taken from John Williams’ text, some of it moved around from different parts of the book.  For instance, the story John tells Eunice of the girl who’s forced to wear the cross, was actually a story told to John by his son (who was also captured) in a letter.  I’m not sure if John had heard this story when he met with Eunice for the first time at Kahnwake, but I thought it presented his attitude toward children in captivity pretty well.

My script:


The Jesuits attempt to get John to convert (“by all means of flatteries and threats).  Some of the following text to be used:

 I had many disputes with the priests who came thither; and when I used their own authors to confute some of their positions, my books, borrowed of them, were taken away from me, for they said, I made an ill use of them.

It was propounded to me, if I would stay among them, and be of their religion, I should have a great and honourable pension from the king every year. The superiour of the Jesuits said, “Sir, you have manifested much grief and sorrow for your separation from so many of your neighhours and children; if you will now comply with this offer and proposal, you may have all your children with you; and here will be enough for an honourable maintenance for you and them.” (and never expect to have them on any other terms)I told them, my children were dearer to me than all the world, but I would not deny Christ and his truths for the having of them with me.  What is a man profited if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

 “After much supplication, Governour de Vaudreuil (of New France), arranged for me to see my youngest daughter.”

 John is brought to Kahnawake see Eunice.  Before he sees her, the Mohawk tell him that “they would as soon part with their hearts as my child.”


The first meeting between John and Eunice, in the church at Kahnawake, with Jesuits present.

EUNICE: Father! Have you come to take me home?

JOHN: God has not willed that yet.  Are you well? 

She looks downcast.

EUNICE: Yes, father.

JOHN: Have you been mistreated?

JOHN: Do you remember to say your catechism?

EUNICE: Yes!  But they make me say prayers in Latin, father! I don’t understand a word.  Will it do me harm?

JOHN: Be strong: I have been told of an English girl bid to take and wear the cross, and cross her self: She refused; they threatened her: either to cross herself, or be whipt, she chose to be whipt; but seeing her choosing indeed to suffer rather than comply, they desisted. 

Eunice doesn’t seem encouraged. 


The layouts of these pages are fairly straightforward, my thumbnails were loose — extremely so in the case of page 7.  I didn’t bother scanning the roughs, which I usually only do if I’m piecing them together from sketches and other attempts.

Thumbnail for page 6 - pretty loose.
Thumbnail for page 6 – pretty loose.
P7 v1
Thumbnail for page 7 – extremely loose!

Drawing these two pages was much faster than the previous ones. My main focus was on the stylization/schematization of the characters.  The style of drawing the two characters turns out to be different. John is more of a caricature style – almost Mort Drucker-ish at times , while Eunice is more of a Manga-influenced indie-comics look, that’s a little new for me; I’m really enjoying the simplicity and expressiveness this approach to her character allows. Even so, keeping the depiction of the characters consistent from page to page is proving a challenge.

The final line art:

The Eunice Williams story, page 6 final line art
The Eunice Williams story, page 6 final line art
The Eunice Williams story - p 7 final line art
The Eunice Williams story – p 7 final line art


The Eunice Williams Story – page 5


I don’t guess the following merits the word “script,” but this is what I was working from for this page:


At Kahnawake, Eunice is welcomed warmly, embraced by her Indian “mother.”  Her rags are taken off and she is dressed in a new outfit, in the style of the Mohawk girls.

NOTES:   The Iroquois nation at the time practiced the “Mourning War,” in which captives were taken for the purpose of replacing members of the tribe that had died, to ease the grief of their loved ones.  “Captives could be adopted as a family member, literally taking the name and social position of the deceased” *  It’s unknown whether Eunice was captured for this purpose, but possible, and I’m playing it that way.

The action of this page was also inspired by a passage in a book I read for research, “The Indian Captive,” by Lois Lenski, a fictionalized account (written for children in 1942) of a similar historical case.  The sensual appeal of the Indian clothes, faciliatate the  symbolic “changing of the skin” into that of an adopted culture.

I also thought  of the early shojo manga device of the “style picture.”  Shojo manga was aimed at young female readers, and the presentation of clothing and costume was an important element.  Often, an entire vertical section of the page was devoted to showing a character’s costume, in a panel that was often only loosely connected to the narrative flow of the comic, and using a decorative background rather than spatial continuity with the story:

Miyako Maki, “Maki’s Whistle” 1960

I wanted to get something of that feeling of that for this page.

The rough version:

Dan Mazur, Eunice Williams story, p 5 rough


The final (so far):


Since Eunice obviously can’t understand the language of the Mohawks, I thought of getting the dialogue translated, so that readers couldn’t understand it either.  I emailed the tribal council at Kahnawake to see about a translation, but haven’t heard back.  In the meantime, I think the blank balloons might be a good solution!

The decorative pattern around Eunice in the “style picture” is based on the Iroquois “three sisters” of beans, corn and squash.  My friend EJ Barnes, however, has since pointed out to me that, because I’m an idiot, I drew gourds instead of squashes (EJ didn’t call me an idiot, that’s my term).  So that will have to be re-drawn.

*Evan Haefeli and Kevin Sweeney, Captors and Captives: The 1704 French and Indian Raid on Deerfield

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!