Against the striking backdrop of a Santa Susana sunset, our hero approaches the point of his posthumous promise.

(At least I hope he does. Max-the-Artist has been swamped with Real Work lately, and has Easter obligations on top of that, so this page is likely to be finished with only seconds to spare. He’ll be getting on the Vote Incentive too. In the meantime, I’m writing these insightful phrases while having only seen the rough inks. But hey, I think we can assume he’ll do a great job.)

After all the mayhem and mythos of the previous pages, this current softer section is a bit of a breather for me effects-wise, so I’m using it to finally get the new shots properly sorted and catalogued. About damn time. Spring cleaning is spring cleaning, even if it is digital dusting rather than vacuuming up the zillion bits of shredded paper that Shiva the Feral Kitty scatters all over my carpet.

More below!


Bobservations

Heroes Don’t Lie

 

During my early days in animation I worked for a company which had arranged for a child psychologist to review the writing process. This was primarily a CYA move, since the animation industry in as a whole was in strange state at the time — managing to be both incredibly bland and yet nonetheless attacked for corrupting children and promoting violence. Having a consulting psychologist listed in the credits was supposed to help fend off the latter. Mostly what it did was make the former even worse.

However, as is often the case, the psychologist himself was a good guy. And while I generally chafed under the restrictions imposed, I did learn a great deal about the why of what he was saying.

For instance: Promises are very important to children. That’s why they’ll say things like “You promise?” if you make some sort of vague statement of commitment. Parenting tip: Don’t fall for this! Stick to “We’ll try.” You’re not a god; you can’t control the weather. But if you promise to take them to the park and it rains so you don’t go, what they will remember for the rest of their lives is: You broke your promise. You’re better off offering to take them despite the downpour and let them change their minds. Or, if they don’t, get the umbrella and go. And consider your lesson learned.

But from a writing standpoint, this was useful. If you had a villain, and you wanted to make them a bit likable to the audience, have that villain make a promise to a kid – like he’ll get the puppy back or something – and then go through hell and high water to keep that promise. You do that, and no matter what else the villain does for the rest of the show, the audience – even the adults, because they were kids once – will secretly like him forever. Because he kept his promise to a child.

Another rule was: Heroes Don’t Lie. A hero could trick, they could mislead, they could cause people to make false assumptions, but they couldn’t outright lie.

“He-Man! What happened to Prince Adam!?”

“He’s safe.”

That wouldn’t work in real life, of course, because as stated above, you’re not a god. Ah, but in fiction, as the writer, you are a god. You can phrase the questions and the responses any way you like so the hero can be clever while not lying. And hell, if nothing else, you can always arrange a distraction:

“Bruce Wayne! Are you Batman?”

“OMG! Look! Flying monkeys!”

To this day, I still work to that precept whenever possible. Hence our hero’s dialogue in the page above. He’s telling the truth — for a given value of “true” — and allowing the grieving widow to make certain assumptions which are comforting if not exactly correct. And that is how it should be.

Because heroes don’t lie.

— Bob out