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  1. #1
    Hell Notes Historian Middenway's Avatar
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    Default Which character is that...?

    NOTE: This thread contains spoilers for The Long Death.

    So, a new banner has appeared on the BPRD Facebook Group page...

    ...which sparked the question of who all these characters of the far right are. I still don't know if that woman is Agent Gervesh or Agent Carla Giarocco.

    This is a real problem with having so many artists on a series. Characters like Johann and Abe and Panya remain recognisable no matter who draws them, but the regular people in the background are a little trickier. As much as I loved James Harren's work on The Long Death, I had a lot of trouble connecting his version of Agent Giarocco with Guy Davis's. They look really different (not to mention her hair changed colour too. It was darker when Guy Davis drew her). Whereas with Tyler Crook, he seems to be working really hard to make sure the characters are still immediately recognisable (although, he was working with primary cast members, not the really tough ones like Giarocco).

    Jason Latour did a great job with Agent Vaughn though. He looked like the same character in Casualties.

    Agent Vaughn has pale skin, that pointed nose and glasses, and Agent Nichols is dark skinned with a scar down one side of his face. No one is going to confuse them. But with Agent Strode, Agent Giarocco and Agent Gervesh, it's a lot more difficult to tell them apart from artist to artist. From what I've seen so far, Cameron Stewart has done a great job of keeping Ashley Strode recognisable as the same character from War on Frogs #3. With the cast becoming less supernatural and more human, the artists are going to have to really work out what is key to each character's design and hone it.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Giarocco is marked by her experiences in The Long Death. Soon she may be known by those that can't remember her name as, "That woman with the eye patch."

    I had the same problem with Duncan Fegredo's Kate. As much I love his artwork, his Kate is not Kate. Kate has never been a thin woman, her features are rounded. That's a part of the reason I like her. Tyler Crook noticed that, and kept her face round. It wasn't perfect, but looking at the banner above, I can see he's getting better at drawing her. That absolutely looks like Kate to me. (On a side note, I did like how exhausted Duncan Fegredo made Kate look)

    Things like this need to be maintained. Carla Giarocco was not a very distinctive character either drawn by Guy Davis or by James Harren. The few facial features that did stand out are not the same between the two artists: Guy Davis's Carla had a broad nose, James Harren's Carla has a pencil-thin nose.

    So, going forward, I really think this is something the artists need to work on together.
    Last edited by Middenway; 05-01-2012 at 04:02 PM.

  2. #2
    Hey don't call. Gary_B's Avatar
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    I wonder if new artists are provided with a model sheet? In the animation business, where many people do drawings for the same project, the artists are provided with a model sheet (character board) that shows all of the main characters together so that differences in height and proportions can be readily compared. That type of tool would help quite a bit in maintaining continuity.

  3. #3
    Hell Notes Historian Middenway's Avatar
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    Yeah, that would be helpful, because it's not just facial features, it's size and body type too.

    And if we're confused as to who's who, then a casual reader is going to be even more so.
    Last edited by Middenway; 05-01-2012 at 10:14 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member UnravThreads's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Middenway View Post
    From what I've seen so far, Cameron Stewart has done a great job of keeping Ashley Strode recognisable as the same character from War on Frogs #3.
    Permission to disagree?

    Karl Moline's Ash:

    Looks quite a bit like Judge Anderson from 2000AD in the top panel, but seems fairly... generic in general.

    Cameron Stewart's Ash:

    She's rounder in the face (and the reference sheet shown months ago shows she's also rounder in body). The only immediate similarity is the hair colour. But I would say that Cameron didn't draw Moline's Liz, he used it as a base to - literally and figuratively - round her out, but I would think that if you stood them next to each other you'd have two different characters.

    But you have a point, though. Compare Crook's Liz to Davis' - Crook draws her as moderately attractive at minimum. Plain, really. Davis? Well, let's just say his Liz won't be winning any America's Next Top Model awards. And given a choice, I would take Davis' Liz. It's the same with Kate - Davis makes her look real and human, Crook kinda goes the other way. Still human, but a bit prettier.

  5. #5
    Hell yeah! Kees_L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Middenway View Post
    NOTE: This thread contains spoilers for The Long Death.

    So, a new banner has appeared on the BPRD Facebook Group page...

    ...which sparked the question of who all these characters of the far right are. I still don't know if that woman is Agent Gervesh or Agent Carla Giarocco.

    This is a real problem with having so many artists on a series.
    I personally don't feel to agree to such being a problem at all really.

    I think it's a strength in having a wide scope of artists - artists all strifing to bring out their own unique techniques and graphic languages - that characters or narratives are gonna be evisioned in different ways.

    I don't think everything needs to be obvious totally all the time, not even as to who would be who at any given time.

    I mean picture this: it's a Tuesday morning at the BPRD facility in Fairfield Connecticut. At 08:49 a person is having a workout at the gym, at some rowing apparatus, in training suit, like out of uniform, out of character (in the sense of being anonimous) as well as quite out of breath.
    Is it such a problem to not being able to tell who the character would be? Is it bad for the story somehow, not being able to tell?
    I wouldn't think so.

    And sure, for art-wise stylisation it might seem different, because some artists might be capturing or conveying particular characters or stuff so particularly for you, that other ways of conveying would seem destined to be ranking as less for quite a certainty - but this may not have to be meaning a certainty quite so much?

    A lot of people seemed to be feeling strong sentiments for Guy Davis's ways when he started out. Like for Davis his Liz and Abe and everybody seeming somehow not the same as mr Mike's.
    Or take Duncan Fegredo. Not the same. Richard Corben. Not the same.

    That's a bad thing? To me it doesn't seem to be. To me such a wider scope seems to fit the B.P.R.D. both as any of the Mignola-related titles.
    Like they'd be showing examples of how stuff in comics doesn't need to be totally straightforward totally all the time.

    I really like that. To be able to feel unsure or in doubt on occasion, especially for books or stories. As if not quite knowing everything works for stories. Yes, including any comics.

    Comics in which methods or ways seeming somehow different usually won't need to be wrong just because of being or seeming different.

    Whereas one might need to become aware of the scope or methods of any particular artist, such as the scope or ways of stylisation of any such artists, such as either Mignola or Davis or Crook or Harren.
    I personally had to become acquainted with Davis or either Corben his art before becoming to be appreciating it to the fullest.
    At first Davis his Liz seemed like just another female redhead to me, with me thinking like: I expect that Guy Davis person is trying to depict some kind of woman here... To which Tyler Crook's Kate seems sort of similarly uneasy to read or take in for a first time: eventhough she might seem a little "frail" or "too young" - that doesn't mean she actually would have to be looking like that?
    I'm quite sure if you took Davis's Kate out of context with totally forgetting all about Davis for a second, then the out-of-context Kate-depiction would or might become to look totally random and virtually hollow to a large extent.

    So I personally am not seeing any problem.
    Last edited by Kees_L; 05-02-2012 at 12:38 PM.
    Been called a 'good egg'. Been told to rock, been told to steady myself. Been told to (please) be goin' places.
    Chillingly good stuff besides Mignola, Slint, M, Knut and really big chunks of tinfoil?
    Half sunk in the mud, with one eye showing / a cracked smile and hair still growing /
    your hands miles apart, as if they'd never met / you were the happiest I'd seen you yet
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    (full) lyrics to 'Exhume' by Bedhead.

  6. #6
    Senior Member UnravThreads's Avatar
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    Here's an interesting thing. Just went onto that French B.P.R.D. fansite, and there's a post about this very image. Seems like he believes it's this line up:
    voulu dissocier l'époque de Guy Davis (Plague Of Frogs, Scorched Earth) de la sienne (Hell On Earth) en exposant Hellboy, Roger, le Professeur Broom, Abe Sapien et Liz Sherman sur une vieille photographie tandis que les agents Johann Krauss, Kate Corrigan, Fenix, Devon, Panya, Giarocco (Seattle, The Long Death), Nichols (The Long Death) et Vaughn (The Pickens County Horror, Casualties)
    So, aside from being one of the few to point out Vaughn was not created for Pickens County ( :p ), he seems certain it's Giarocco 'tween Panya and Nichols.

  7. #7
    Hell Notes Historian Middenway's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UnravThreads View Post
    Permission to disagree?
    You know what, I hadn't looked back at War on Frogs #3 when I wrote that, and you are totally right. I think all I did was go, "Oh, that hair colour and those freckles, that can only be Ashley!" So I guess there were enough visual cues for me to recognise her. Draw her without freckles though and it wouldn't be Ash.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kees_L View Post
    I don't think everything needs to be obvious totally all the time, not even as to who would be who at any given time.

    I mean picture this: it's a Tuesday morning at the BPRD facility in Fairfield Connecticut. At 08:49 a person is having a workout at the gym, at some rowing apparatus, in training suit, like out of uniform, out of character (in the sense of being anonimous) as well as quite out of breath.
    Is it such a problem to not being able to tell who the character would be? Is it bad for the story somehow, not being able to tell?
    I wouldn't think so.
    I think it is if you are supposed to recognise the character as someone you've seen before, which you were when you read The Long Death, but that was not the case in your example. Obviously each artist is going to have a different style, so it's not like animation where everyone has to draw the character the exact same way. But there are still limits. A character with a hooked nose should always have a hooked nose (unless for story reasons their nose gets cut off or something). Mike Mignola has always been fussy about the way the lines on Abe's head are drawn (Guy Davis has mentioned it in a few interviews), because those lines are important. Sure, he'd still look like a fish man without them, but he wouldn't look like Abe. The same thing applies with these human characters. If you can't recognise a character you've already met because their facial characteristics are so different, that's not an issue of style, that's just bad visual storytelling.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kees_L View Post
    A lot of people seemed to be feeling strong sentiments for Guy Davis's ways when he started out. Like for Davis his Liz and Abe and everybody seeming somehow not the same as mr Mike's.
    Or take Duncan Fegredo. Not the same. Richard Corben. Not the same.
    James Harren drew the UN Rep in The Long Death and there's no doubt he's the same person Guy Davis drew and Tyler Crook drew because they all kept his head round, gave him a fat nose and those round glasses. They were drawn in a different style, but the visual cues were intact. But looking at Giarocco, where are her visual cues? Other than being female and having long hair, is their any visual similarity at all?
    Quote Originally Posted by Kees_L View Post
    I really like that. To be able to feel unsure or in doubt on occasion, especially for books or stories. As if not quite knowing everything works for stories. Yes, including any comics.
    Yes, but if it pulls you out of the story, or distances you from a character you're supposed to be relating to, it's a problem. Ambiguity can be a useful storytelling tool, but having Carla Giarocco unrecognisable as the same character we'd seen before was clearly not a storytelling choice or even a deliberate choice. It serves no purpose other than to confuse something that should be very straightforward.

    This isn't about stylisation. It's about keeping visual cues intact. It's like drawing a car with four wheels in one story, then in the next drawing six wheels on it and expecting the audience to know it's the same car from the last story. Stylise the car as much as you want, but it still has to have four wheels or it ceases to be that car.

    The same goes for characters. They can be stylised as much as the artist wants, but the visual cues have to remain intact.
    Quote Originally Posted by UnravThreads View Post
    Here's an interesting thing. Just went onto that French B.P.R.D. fansite, and there's a post about this very image ... aside from being one of the few to point out Vaughn was not created for Pickens County ( :p ), he seems certain it's Giarocco 'tween Panya and Nichols.
    It very well could be. I honestly don't know. If it is, she doesn't match either Guy Davis's incarnation or James Harren's. But at the same time, she doesn't look like Agent Gervesh either. Confused...



    By the way, I should probably point out that I loved The Long Death and its art. James Harren did an amazing job. This is just one critique, one that I hope will bring attention to this problem and prevent it from happening in future B.P.R.D. stories.
    Last edited by Middenway; 05-02-2012 at 05:16 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member UnravThreads's Avatar
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    Hopefully that interview/progress thing will be up soon so we'll know for sure.

  9. #9
    Chortle! Thomas Uk's Avatar
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    Wow what a great piece of promo art! I love the emerging cast of baseline human agents and their prominence in the stories. Agent Nichols! Didn't think we'd see him again! I think the woman on the right is likely to be either Giarroco or that other female agent from the long death (Gervesh was it?). Giarroco had massive wounds, especially to her head in Long Death, maybe thats why she has short hair in this pic? It was clever putting fenix behind the others so we can't see if she's in a BPRD uniform or not, will she or won't she join?! Ps. Devon looks gnarly with his new post-apocalyptic beard.

    I'm really getting attatched to these guys I'm gonna throw out a difficult question: if you could only save one of the following agents from dying in the upcoming issues who would it be: Vaughn, Nichols or Giarroco?
    Last edited by Thomas Uk; 05-03-2012 at 02:05 AM.

  10. #10
    Hell Notes Historian Middenway's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Uk View Post
    I'm really getting attatched to these guys I'm gonna throw out a difficult question: if you could only save one of the following agents from dying in the upcoming issues who would it be: Vaughn, Nichols or Giarroco?
    Me too. For now, I'm going to have to say Giarocco, just because I really enjoyed Seattle, but Vaughn and Nichols are already developing strongly. We'll see. I really like all the new cast members.

  11. #11
    Hell yeah! Kees_L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Middenway View Post

    I think it is if you are supposed to recognise the character as someone you've seen before, which you were when you read The Long Death, but that was not the case in your example. Obviously each artist is going to have a different style, so it's not like animation where everyone has to draw the character the exact same way. But there are still limits.

    Yes, but if it pulls you out of the story, or distances you from a character you're supposed to be relating to, it's a problem. Ambiguity can be a useful storytelling tool, but having Carla Giarocco unrecognisable as the same character we'd seen before was clearly not a storytelling choice or even a deliberate choice. It serves no purpose other than to confuse something that should be very straightforward.

    This isn't about stylisation. It's about keeping visual cues intact. It's like drawing a car with four wheels in one story, then in the next drawing six wheels on it and expecting the audience to know it's the same car from the last story. Stylise the car as much as you want, but it still has to have four wheels or it ceases to be that car.

    The same goes for characters. They can be stylised as much as the artist wants, but the visual cues have to remain intact.
    Some characters will just be newer and less known than others, which needn't only have to be something needing to get remedied, 'cause it might just be something useful narratively. Plus maybe the amount of various agents is different now than back when everything would seem more new, as if the distinctness among agents might be subject to change or perspective? The more documented or expansive the number of different agents might become, the less likely it might be that just any agent would be proving instantaneously recognizable per se? Which might also be a thing potentially saying something like as to convey how the Bureau would be in turmoil more or at least differently now than before - to the point of any amassement of agents seeming even potentially futile?
    In this respect comic art may amount to being like narrative representations more rather than just straight-on graphical dictations to biological precision? As comics amounting to not necessarily depicting what they would, but more rather what they might. Like how all art not necessarily resembles what it does, in a Marcel Duchamp his pipe (not!) kind-of-way.

    Some characters will just really stand out as being unique like Abe or Hellboy as with having quite specifically unique traits, but that doesn't mean that just any comic character needs such unmistakable traits per se?

    To me it seems any of the stuff you mention in your opening post, about Kate or agent Giarocco aren't about visual cues at all, but about "how an artist would have been intending their art to to get interpreted as, as to what type of person Kate or either any character would appear to be being, not on account of distinct visual cues like hair color or freckles yes or no - but what type - which seems something vastly more subtle to me.

    You're totally entitled to your viewpoints of course, whereas I'm merely pointing out my own.
    I personally feel that even if being graphic or identifying with stuff is a thing for both comics as well as any narrational formats, such doesn't at all mean that any of it amounts to anything as basic as 1+1=2.
    Because stories aren't necessarily only about making identification possible most swiftly or most conveniently. Stories may play with or be to stretch and hamper such just as well I'd say.
    And the same can be said about characters and their identifiableness.
    Because a very silent or shy person, never stepping into the limelight, or either somebody unmistakably new, how else to underline such a distinct trait than to have those characters appear as unremarkable or unspecific as possible potentially, like deliberately or purposefully up to a point?
    Such could get done in a comic, just as logically or as likely as adorning any character with unique visual cues?

    Comics or stories are mostly about assumations or interpretations towards possibilities - more rather than anything as clear-cut or as binary as basic yes/no or wrong vs right in my estimation.
    On all levels.
    Because reading will be a personal experience (both as how creating or art will amount to being something personal intrinsically). A personal experience where any reader is to interpret what any story would maybe appear to be proposing. That's way different than simply being either wrong or right.
    Since neither told stories or written descriptions or any creatively made visuals will need be like real-live documentaries or any such. Comics may be graphic but they ain't photographical - really none of them. Even photos needn't be straightforward pieces of evidence as-is - or they wouldn't be made creatively per se. So just any straightforwardness or clear-cut-ness in meeting up with expectation will just NOT be required, thankfully.

    Like if you feel put off it might be you'd just be doing it wrong, having either something or totally nothing to do with how a story is telling itself.

    For me it won't be unheard of to be getting stuff wrong. After which one can simply be to start totally over new with no sweat whatsoever. Since stories never spoil, or either you'd be doing it wrong. In my opinion.

    I sometimes deliberately watch movies or read stories in languages totally unknown to me. Like Finnish or Inuit, or Bostonean. Very inspiring.
    Last edited by Kees_L; 05-03-2012 at 05:58 PM.
    Been called a 'good egg'. Been told to rock, been told to steady myself. Been told to (please) be goin' places.
    Chillingly good stuff besides Mignola, Slint, M, Knut and really big chunks of tinfoil?
    Half sunk in the mud, with one eye showing / a cracked smile and hair still growing /
    your hands miles apart, as if they'd never met / you were the happiest I'd seen you yet
    . ~
    (full) lyrics to 'Exhume' by Bedhead.

  12. #12
    Hell yeah! Kees_L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Uk View Post
    I'm really getting attatched to these guys I'm gonna throw out a difficult question: if you could only save one of the following agents from dying in the upcoming issues who would it be: Vaughn, Nichols or Giarroco?
    Well, it seems to me that for the B.P.R.D., or either any of the Hellboy-related titles, any "staying alive" won't necessarily mean getting the more exposure for characters. Because more than once already we've seen characters becoming only more interesting and more versatile narratively due to them croacking or shifting off of their mortal coil. As if for the BPRD staying alive doesn't equate to sticking around any more or less per se.
    So for me such seems to depend.

    Like how kidney stones or what bubonic plagues might seem inconveniencing for folk, but at the same time the mere likelyhood to them for a happenstance will be making life foremostly the more enjoyable, more rather than less so.
    Not that I'd be a positive person or any such. No way. I'm hella grouchy, especially for feeling sickly or feeble-like.

    Sniffing or sneezing when I don't wish to feels like swearing to me. Which is hard to pull off successfully simultaneously, if you catch my drift.
    Like going "Achoo it" or "Godd-arrumph!!". Which doesn't have heads or tails to it, needless to say. For either swearing or sneezing, proper diction and articulation will be key.
    Last edited by Kees_L; 05-03-2012 at 01:41 PM.
    Been called a 'good egg'. Been told to rock, been told to steady myself. Been told to (please) be goin' places.
    Chillingly good stuff besides Mignola, Slint, M, Knut and really big chunks of tinfoil?
    Half sunk in the mud, with one eye showing / a cracked smile and hair still growing /
    your hands miles apart, as if they'd never met / you were the happiest I'd seen you yet
    . ~
    (full) lyrics to 'Exhume' by Bedhead.

  13. #13
    Chortle! Thomas Uk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kees_L View Post
    Well, it seems to me that for the B.P.R.D., or either any of the Hellboy-related titles, any "staying alive" won't necessarily mean getting the more exposure for characters. Because more than once already we've seen characters becoming only more interesting and more versatile narratively due to them croacking or shifting off of their mortal coil. As if for the BPRD staying alive doesn't equate to sticking around any more or less per se.
    So for me such seems to depend.
    Well true they could fade into obscurity even though they survive like Sid Leach! I'm not sure any of these charatcers wil get more interesting if they die though. They'd probably just be dead. I was going to site Agent peters from PCH as an example then realised that she did get interesting as that goo vampire thing.

    To answer my own question, Giarroco is my pick to stay alive so far! Unfortunate that we've allready had at least one vision of her possible doom in 'King of Fear'.

  14. #14
    Hell Notes Historian Middenway's Avatar
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    Spoilers for The Long Death and to follow:
    Quote Originally Posted by Middenway View Post
    NOTE:...with Agent Strode, Agent Giarocco and Agent Gervesh, it's a lot more difficult to tell them apart from artist to artist. With the cast becoming less supernatural and more human, the artists are going to have to really work out what is key to each character's design and hone it.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Giarocco is marked by her experiences in The Long Death. Soon she may be known by those that can't remember her name as, "That woman with the eye patch."

    Things like this need to be maintained. Carla Giarocco was not a very distinctive character either drawn by Guy Davis or by James Harren. The few facial features that did stand out are not the same between the two artists: Guy Davis's Carla had a broad nose, James Harren's Carla has a pencil-thin nose.

    So, going forward, I really think this is something the artists need to work on together.
    Looks like this has been addressed in The Return of the Master #1. The events of The Long Death have certainly made Giarocco distinctive for future stories.

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