The Blood Queen #6: Writer's Commentary by Troy Brownfield
Greetings, Bleeders! Thanks one last time for stopping by. As usual, I want to point out the other creators on this book: artist Fritz Casas, colorist Kirsty Swan, letterer Marshall Dillon, editor Molly Mahan, cover artists Jay Anacleto and Yonami, and the Lords of the Upper Kindgom, Joseph Rybandt and Nick Barrucci. This is the final issue of this series. Let's go!
Page 1— I always knew that the conflict between Elizabeth and Leona would come to a head in this issue. After discovering what she did about the Abbot and baby Laura in the previous issue, Elizabeth knows that Leona/Elder Winnifred has been lying to her for years. Not just about her recent activities, but about things like Elizabeth's parentage. That's not just a spark; it's a bonfire.
Page 3 – This was set up from the first page of issue #1. If you recall, the series opens with a man being murdered as part of a blood magic ritual. We saw the curved ceremonial dagger. When Elizabeth, Jon Hunter and Sir Ferenc fight Annaud at the end of issue, the close-up on his weapon reveals that it was a straight dagger. So either he had switched weapons, or the shadowy figure that we saw wasn't Annaud. And in fact, it never was. It was Leona. While laying in wait to ambush her mentor, Elizabeth discovered the dagger and fittingly uses it to dispatch her manipulator.
Pages 4-6 – Elizabeth's big transformation! Editor Molly Mahan and I had talked prior to this issue, and everyone wanted Elizabeth to get to the "Blood Queen" appearance by this point. I thought it logical to connect her absorbing of Leona's blood/power/magic/etc. with this new look. For a brief panel on page 5, you see that Elizabeth now concretely knows the identity of her parents, but the revelation of that to the readership is shelved for the moment. She's got the wizard on her mind.
Page 14 – It suits Elizabeth's purpose to still appear to be "Elizabeth" for now. The shifting back and forth that she does over the next few pages reflect either necessity or mood. For now, she'll appear to Ferenc as "Elizabeth" because she needs to move among the court and the Council of Kings is on its way.
Pages 17-18 – This moment was in the story from the original proposal. If you go back to the interviews I did in the spring before issue #1 came out, I noted that our approach incorporated elements of the history of the real Elizabeth Bathory along with the idea of "what makes a wicked queen?". That fed a number of the high fantasy/dark fantasy elements. When I was writing the outline and knew that Elizabeth would defeat the wizard, my mind immediately went to her trapping him in the mirror. In fact, that line of dialogue, "Out of all the witches you've known, would you not say . . . I am the fairest?" was written and saved right there. It was exactly the twist on that idea that I was looking for, and it set up intended future parallels.
Pages 19-20 – And here's where you know. It's not just about the mission or reclaiming her kingdom any longer. It's about power. And what she'll do to keep and maintain that power . . .yikes.
So here we are, gang. The end of THIS particular road. But not the end of THE road. You'll see what I mean before too long, I'm sure. Thank you for reading Blood Queen, and thank you for reading the commentaries. Let me take a moment to salute the terrifically talented Fritz Casas; I knew he was perfect for the book from his first sketches. Then there's outstanding colorist Kirsty Swan; she's a master of atmosphere. And how about letterer Marshall Dillon? He did every crazy word and symbol I threw his way expertly. Much thanks to editor Joseph Rybandt, as well as Kevin Pearl, Byron Brewer and Josh Green for promoting the book as hard they did. And more luminaries from Dynamite: series editor Molly Mahan, whom I adore in a very metal way, and fearless and incredibly supportive leader Nick Barrucci. That's all for now. Thanks again, and see you soon.
If you want to see more of Troy's work, check out his novel Prince Dracula, available now from Dynamite on Amazon, and visit his webcomics at www.sparkshooter.com. Follow him on Troy @troybrownfield
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