“Hard Target” — Page Ten
He might have simply handed over the wallet. He’s a peaceable guy. However, demanding Sophie’s laptop was a step too far.
Oh, and in case you didn’t notice, that thug was pulling out his gun when our hero clamped down on his hand and squeezed the trigger finger.
Still, nobody’s dead. Not even Max himself. For a change.
Hi-rez version on Patreon here so you can admire Max-The-Artist’s use of pretty fall colors.
This is one of those pages where we had to balance our desire for brutal action with a certain amount of justification and humor. We didn’t want our hero to come off as sadistic, just pragmatic. He’s not giving up the laptop, and they’re not likely to let him leave with it, so a fight was going to happen. However, the thugs are mostly injured in response to their own actions, so they can always claim they fell on their own blades by accident. Won’t keep them out of trouble, but it’ll be less than if they admit to attacking someone who subsequently handed them their own asses.
For what it’s worth, Max-The-Artist actually tried dialing a smartphone using the corner of a laptop and it apparently works. I mean, if you ever find yourself in a similar situation, where you’re trying to dial a phone without leaving fingerprints or DNA.
Not that you’ll have too much trouble these days, so long as you have a little time to prepare. I’ve noticed that even hardware store work gloves now come with the special conductive patches built into the index fingertips so you can use your smartphone without having to take your gloves off. You can also buy a special conductive liquid resin that can be soaked into the fingertip of any ordinary glove to make it smartphone-capable once dry. And I know that I myself never purchase a pair of pants without first checking that they have a pocket capable of packing my phablet.
It’s a new world. Entire industries spawned or changed by technology. Personally, I’ve been holding off on the new gloves, but only because when I do buy a pair, I want them delivered by Amazon Drone.
Took us a while to get this page finished, for which I apologize, but at least I was able to get some new blood effects done while Max-The-Artist was working. Naturally, I insisted on using a few of them on this page, because I have to have some fun. In a few cases the blood was simply thrown from a cup on a stick, but for the harder bursts and sprays I built this custom effects pistol; sort of a sized-down version of my larger air mortar. As you can probably tell, it was adapted from a Crosman CO2 pellet gun and retrofitted with some plumbing parts. Of necessity for camera work it has to be black, but I left the grips off in the hopes that it would be more clearly not a weapon. You never know, these days. There’s fancier versions of this concept available to hotshot Hollywood effects pros with bigger expense budgets than mine, but actually, this works pretty well and I’m pleased with it.
Loaded with stage blood and capped with black tissue, it gives a pretty good blood burst effect. As you can imagine, by the time a few dozen of these were filmed, the entire staging area looked like an abattoir. (PROTIP: When mixing your stage blood, be sure to include 1% non-sudsing dishwasher detergent for easier cleanup.)
Keyed, positioned, and subsequently tweaked and beautified by Max-The-Artist, it’s a small part of the overall page, but it was a lot of fun to do. And nobody called SWAT on me.
— Superstitious Bob knocking wood like crazy