Creator Commentary – Kewber Baal Talks KISS #8

Dynamite has sent us a creator's commentary from Kewber Baal, interior artist for KISS #8. Cover art by Tom Mandrake.kiss08covamandrake

Olá, everyone!

Here I am again, now commenting about KISS #8! In this book, I'll be a little more direct, as many general details and comments about my work process, I already explained in last issue's commentary, and I believe it could be boring to talk about that again, and you read the same thing again! Look at my commentary about KISS #7! Well, let's go to the pages!

Page 1

This time, we began backing a bit in time, in the previous issue, before the massive alien reveal, Blackwell is not alone in the immensity of the universe. Once again, we are in the big concert with Eran, Noa, Alex and Adi, we can see KISS on the screen above the stage. In the shot for KISS, I used two live scenes from the band, paused the video and turned it into one unique scene art. You may notice this time it's not Ace on the solo guitar but Tommy.kiss0081

Page 2

Now we have the alien invasion again, but in the previous issue we did show their ship partially, now we see what happens inside Blackwell. The Aliens interfere in the concert monitor's signal to announce their arrival. To create the Aliens' designs, Amy required some priorities, but we must save that from spoilers. It was tough but I hope we made a good job. I like the last panel, the crowd expressions, not really in panic and scared, but more like "What? Is it part of the show?" I spent so much time working on the pages, seeing no dialogues nor balloons, so I always try to show what's happening through the storytelling, without needing them. That's why I try to explore expressive characters and the good scenes are the ones with a big crowd. Thus, I can mix many expressions and the reader might be able to check all of them, and then realize what is happening. When I get my copies, I'm surprised when I open it and see so many balloons, after months seeing mute pages.kiss0082

Page 3

Aliens attack! Now it is PANIC TIME! I like this scene a lot and the following pages due to the warm colors used by Schimerys [Baal]. The colors really cause a horror sensation and fear; it makes me feel like I am among the crowd, trying to run away with them!kiss0083

Pages 4 and 5

Now we see the massive Alien ship for the first time! I got inspired by many movies and games, I also had some references that Amy gave me. I like the Transformers stuff, complex, lots of details, cables and other stuff. But I don't think that could be physically viable, engineers probably would agree, or we should have our cars with chassis, wires and engines, all naked and exposed. We may notice as much modern and technological we evolve, the most minimalist are the objects, including ships from nowadays, those even looks like toys when we are far from them. That's the reason, for the ships, I thought it would be interesting to bring the cleaner design, and maybe closer to functional. At page 5, there are two details that catch myself, this time Alex and Karin are in control of situation, instead the twins Noa and Eran. It's the first time we see Alex giving orders, and I think it's a good evolution for the character. The other thing that makes me philosophize is how goofy might be a giant robot trying to protect people from an earthquake.kiss0084 kiss0085

Pages 6 and 7

Alien ships fly towards Blackwell. Eran panics! And Adi, being Adi! As always, she's the one who makes the move! But, as she says "If we're going to die, at least it'll be… IN SPACE! By Aliens!" Once again, the colors make it work here, doing a scene transition and a change in the story's course. I must say this action scene that Amy described, Adi's crazy decision, surprised even myself. As a detail, Noa adjusts her hair, so it won't bother her inside the helmet. But, as said in the previous commentary, I don't like to keep the characters untouched, I like to change their clothes, hair, and such. We don't use the same haircut and same clothes forever. Actually, making comics is much more advanced than 40 years ago, we have so much quality resources, to draw, color and print the pages, that I think all artists must be able to draw recognizable characters, without the need for use always of the same colors, or the same suits.

Page 8

The most beautiful page in this issue, in my opinion! Once again, the colors do a magnificent job. I like to make this "stars' effect", it is simple, but it brings a fabulous result! And as I always say, I love splash pages!

Page 9

Adi's plan works! They invade the alien aircraft, sneaky, like butterflies. This time I tried to make the ship more like an "aircraft" once (I think) their crew doesn't realize the population is under the ground, as in Blackwell. We also notice the gravity inside the ship is configured as Earth's, so, as long they enter faster they fall in the ground. A funny detail, but for Noa and Adi, doesn't exist any difference between life on Earth or a spaceship, because the gravity, artificial or not, is always the same. So in a strange ship, they don't notice that; maybe the reader will see they are on their feet.

Pages 10 – 11

One more surprise! There's also an Alien town inside the spaceship, and it's huge! I wanted to make the new buildings much different than sober Blackwell, more organic, or even weird! This city is hundreds of times bigger than Blackwell, and for sure, much more futuristic! Noa and Adi are really surprised but, of course, not for long, once we know they could not be invisible forever.

Page 12

New creatures are going after our heroines! Amy sent me many references for these new Protectors, and among 'em, a video that really got me. An extremely functional robot, it has a low center of balance, and could get over many obstacles. His feet were like simple wheels, independent from each other. Found it wonderful, I wanted to bring this up to this world!

Page 13

Alex and Karin are taking all the crowd for a safer place, thus the Blackwellians are seeing the tunnels for the first time, and the KISS' symbols. Something I'm liking in these last issues is that now I can see Alex growing as a character. He was very afraid of anything, and just followed Eran and Noa, even sometimes against his will. But now Alex is someone else, stronger, safer, and able to think ahead of his time to protect everyone. Is Karin a good reason for him to be a better person? Were you thinking about it already, Amy?

Page 14

Back to the enemy spaceship, Noa and Adi are being caught by the Protectors, OH MY!!!

Page 15

The Aliens explode a door on the Blackwell ship! Everything seems to be lost. I think it would be cool to make this repeated panels in sequence to show the invasion, I believe I've added an extra panel. Maybe I could add another one, to give more drama to the scene, and maybe give a slow motion sensation. But the panels would be VERY narrow, and it could spoil the storytelling.

Page 16

The Aliens arrive into the tunnels, now we see they are much bigger than us, humans. Again, we see KISS on the walls, and… do the Aliens seems to know 'em? Something is wrong! Drawing these walls with the KISS's faces is VERY FUN in this series.

Page 17

One more splash page with a FABULOUS scene! THIS is the KISS Army! For sure, a page I made with a big smile in my face! This time it was something totally unexpected, in script, Amy wrote, "Alex and Karin, and the KISS Army behind them" and I wrote back to Amy, asking, "Amy, do you mean the KISS Army logo behind them, maybe on a wall?" And she answered "No, KISS Army, the kids, ready to fight!" And I am, "Whaat??" I can't wait to see what will happen in next issue!

Page 18

Back to the Alien spaceship, Noa and Adi are now inside some kind of prison. Amy gave me the idea to make white squares on the walls, as they're inside a cube. And Schimerys had the idea to light some of them, it seems each square turns on, when anyone touches it, and I think this scene is beautiful! This is an example of many heads thinking together, we can get always the best result for the story. But wait, did Adi remove her helmet? Oh, gosh, there is oxygen inside the ship? And again, Adi being Adi! Just a thing, I love panel 3, nothing so important, just a simple pose, but I think it says a lot about the character.

Page 19

A door opens! Smoke coming from outside! The Aliens are there, and I love the cast shadows on Noa and Adi! The Alien is removing its helmet! Does it breath oxygen too? What do the Aliens looks like in the KISS universe? I need to confess I researched a lot, and did tons of Alien designs until Amy approved what we will finally see in next page!

Page 20. Aaaaaand… The big reveal! But well, I'll not spoil this, Do you want to see what the Aliens look like, and what happens next? Get KISS #8!

sSee you next issue!

About Dan Wickline

Has quietly been working at Bleeding Cool for over three years. He has written comics for Image, Top Cow, Shadowline, Avatar, IDW, Dynamite, Moonstone, Humanoids and Zenescope. He is the author of the Lucius Fogg series of novels and a published photographer.