Harker Issue 8 - annotations

Tuesday at 27.10.09

Okay, hang onto your hats (if you're wearing hats) and away we go...

Last issue we gave Harker the solo spot (given that it was pretty much a solo Harker issue) and this time we give Critchley the cover, for the same reasons. I especially like Harker on the bumper car, ramming his car into the other one and frightening the small child. Completely Vince's idea, he has a dark side too, clearly!

Page One
"aaaroooooo" is officially our first sound effect in the series so far. I decided right at the start that I wouldn't be using any captions or sound effects, but I think I can get away with this one, since it's almost a speech balloon (okay, so it's the black dog's speech balloon, but give me a break here!). It's often the little details in Vince's art that I enjoy, and here in panel one you'll notice he's added a sign saying that Agatha Fletcher's murder mystery event is cancelled - obviously, of course, as we killed her last issue.
DI Barnett is the typical local copper who doesn't want those poncey Southern coppers on his patch - it's always fun playing with the archetypes, and I make no apology for it, as in many ways it's what the series is all about.

Page Three
And here we see the difference between Harker and Critchley. Harker would have simply told Barnett to naff off, in no uncertain terms. Critchley is way too polite to do that, and instead smoothes things over pretty well.

Page Five
Griffin arrives, as sour as ever. Making her a regular part of the team was something we came up with whilst writing the previous book. It had never been part of the plan, but I enjoyed writing her so much in Book One that I decided to keep her. Her approach is again at odds with Critchley - like him, she also left a scenario in which three members of the opposite sex were showing an active interest in her. Critchley wasn't bothered, for him his job is everything. Griffin has an entirely different response, of course.

Page Ten
This first panel is the ruins of the abbey, looking towards the hotel, which we can see in the middle of the panel in the background. You'll note the fog drifting in at the bottom of the panel.

Page Twelve
Anyone who lives in or knows Whitby will know that, like the hotel, this little fairground is a complete invention. A fairground there would actually be washed away every time the tide comes in, but hey, we needed a fairground, and I liked the location. We did dabble with the idea that the fairground could be up on the clifftops, but this suited what I wanted better. I love the slightly sombre mood Vince establishes here, fully in keeping with a quiet little seaside resort in the early evening. No tthe sort of thing that Critchley likes, but perfect for Harker.

Page Thirteen
Gaah! I've just seen a typo! That's so very annoying. I'll pick it up for the collected edition, but of course Harker should be saying "discount".

Page Fourteen
The bizarre building on the bottom right panel does indeed exist - walking up the steps next to it from the beach leads towards the pier, where we next see our detectives. I don't know for certain what the building is, and haven't been able to find a guide that mentions it, but considering it's position and the portholes circling it, my guess would be that it's an old coastguard's hut of some kind. It appears unused and derelict now.

Page Fifteen
We're on the West Pier here. I don't believe the lighthouse is in use these days, but we decided it would be, especially with the fog rolling in.
Harker here is giving my own view on such shows as Rosemary and Thyme, Murder she Wrote and many others - the kind where the sleuth stumbles across the crime and feels compelled to solve it. We'll be coming back to Harker's love of The French Connection at a later date, when we reach Book Five.

Page Sixteen

Okay, admit it - did you spot the body floating in the water in that first panel, the first time you were reading?

Page Eighteen
Fish and chips, for the benefit of our American readers, are a typical English seaside delicacy. The fish comes covered in gorgeous crispy golden batter, the chips are what you might know as fries (but much bigger), and they taste best eaten out of old newspaper with lashings of salt and vinegar. Yum!

Page Twenty

This is the one hundred year old Whitby swing bridge, which splits in two and opens up every half hour, usually attracting lots of onlookers and queues of traffic waiting to get across. The bridge swings horizontally, hence the circular look to the ramps here, and the large gears to the left.


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