Harker Issue 11 - annotations

Thursday at 13.5.10

I told Vince that what I wanted for this issue was a real feel of the old British football comic strips from the 1970s. I was never a big reader of such things as Roy of the Rovers, but I read my fair share of football strips in such comics as Valiant and Lion, so I passed on a few old annuals for Vince to use as reference. I think his cover here (and his football artowrk inside the issue) really captures that 1970s feel, with Critchley recast as the hero of the day, scoring the winning goal. I'm particularly fond of Harker in the foreground here - and especially his belly sagging over his trousers, emphasising his dour expression.

Page One

We're back at the ruins of Whitby Abbey here, next to the hotel, with Jasmine Burn's body having been rescued from the well.

Page Two
The well, shown at the bottom right of panel one here, does actually exist and is easy to find next to the Abbey.

Page Three
A nice little detail added here by Vince in panels 4 and 5 - Harker tossing his cigarette into the well in panel 4, and Griffin looking at it with a certain amount of disgust in panel 5. Vince adds these wonderful little sight gags a lot, and I always enjoy them when I get to see the art.

Page Five
Just another little detail here - Harker really is something of a throwback, with no real idea how to operate anything even vaguely approaching modern technology. I've always felt that there were two reasons why he refuses to carry a mobile phone: 1. He finds them generally irritating and 2. He knows that he wouldn't have the first idea how to operate them. And why bother to learn when he has Critchley there to do that stuff for him? This attitude is all very well (and very much in character for Harker) but it got him into a whole heap of trouble back in issue six - alone, in danger and unable to all for assistance.

Page Six
Another little visual joke added here by Vince in panel three: "Windows is waking up - it'll still be rubbish though". We're both Mac addicts at heart.

Page Eight
Strolling through the centre of the old part of Whitby here. I've never been to a Whitby Goth Weekend myself, but Vince goes at least twice a year, so I'm assuming he knows better than anyone else the kind of characters you'll see. Including the cat costume!

Page Nine
I really enjoyed writing pages eight and nine - both Harker and Critchley are very close to my own worldview - they each represent different sides to my own character, and also, to a certain extent, my relationship with Vince, who has been my best friend for nigh on twenty years. So yes, I do grumble about style over content, but I also think that George Romero is one of the cultural highlights of the last century. It's fun to be able to split these parts of my nature into separate characters, and I do try my best not to be as grumpy as poor old Harker, who got left behind culturally about thirty years ago.

Page Twelve
I'll admit here (and throughout most of this issue) to poking fun at Emo goths, but I do it out of affection. That's my defence, anyway ;) Quite a few of Vince's friends are goths, so I may need to keep my head down for a while...

Page Thirteen

Look! In panel one! Vince has established the presence of the brolly that Harker uses over the page! It's these little details that make him such a pleasure to work with.

Page Sixteen
Whitby Gazette are just about the dirtiest team I think I've ever seen.

Page Seventeen

Just in case you think this is all out of nowhere... here are a few clues that we seeded:
- Check out page ten of issue #7, where Cranford mentions his bad leg - which he received, of course, in the car accident. The accident is also mentioned on page five of issue #10 (where Jasmine is talking to Cranford on the phone) and on page seven of the same issue, where Cranford murders Jasmine.
- And check out Cranford's reaction to Agatha Fletcher on page five of issue #7, particularly in panel three (where he recognises the rings on her hand, which he'd seen on her steering wheel when her car hit them) and his demeanour in panels four and five. This has nothing to do with her rude behaviour, and everything to do with recognising her. This also explains why he happened to be outside her room at just the right moment on pages eight and nine of the same issue - he'd been hanging outside just to confirm his suspicions.
- You'll also notice Cranford is present at Agatha's death on page sixteen of issue #7, looking a little dark and rueful.
- And you can see him looking particularly shifty on page eight of issue #8 when Critchley is questioning him.
- His reaction on page twelve of issue #8 should also make more sense - he faints because he's shown the dead body that he thought he'd disposed of the night before. Must have been rather a shock to him...

Page Twenty
Something of a fictional convenience here. Whitby football ground isn't actually right on the edge of the moors as depicted here, though the moors are only a mile or two away. We've joined the two of them up for the purpose of the story - this is an ever-so-slightly alternate Whitby in Harker's world.


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