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PAGE TWENTYONE.  Interior.  Commercial freightlifter.  Cargo hold.

The attack begins and we see the damage done by the MLF missile.  We also get to see that Kessler’s information was right and there is indeed a squad of CSC Shock Troopers.  Finally, we’re introduced to one of the ever-growing collection of antagonists.  Colonel Lynch.

Nic has been hoping for some action sequences and now I see why.  He’s nailed it.  The CSC vehicle flipping in the background, thrown by the impact explosion, is awesome.  The next few weeks will see the action continue as the battle unfolds…

Nic also recommended this week’s musical pairing, and I wholeheartedly concur: Rage Against the Machine’s ‘Wake Up.’

Xaviar Xerexes, the mind behind ComixTALK, ran a story on our name change

Lastly, the prints are at the shop.  We are maybe a week away from offering 3-4 different pieces of art.  We’ll have a limited amount of signed stuff and maybe even some original work for sale.  If this first offering goes well, we’ll continue to make more prints and t-shirts available, culminating in a whole range of stuff for C2E2.

I’d also like to take a quick opportunity to wish everyone a happy holidays from Nic and I and, as always, thanks for the support.

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PAGE NINETEEN.  Interior com ‘lifter TK-421.  Sam makes a joke while Vexx takes her skills very seriously.  As the writer, I have a very specific relationship in mind between Sam and Vexx.  Sort of like an older/younger sister dynamic; part antagonistic and part genuine friendship.  And while I can get some of that across with dialogue, Nic really makes it come alive through his art.  Sam can keep an expression something akin to amusement while Vexx holds a mind-bogglingly dangerous weapon to her throat.  There’s obviously a trust there.

Panel 3.  First, the color really works here, methinks.  It is a very cool contrast to the ubiquitous red.  And again we see Nic’s obsession with detail.  There’s so much going on here.  To give you an idea of how Nic brings the comic to life, here’s the original script (notice the panel number got edited slightly):

Panel 5.

An ominous panel.  It is a wide shot of the ‘lifter through a binocular view-screen.  The ‘lifter has a target on it and there are all sorts of readings, distances and other numbers.  Very sci-fi.

The music pairing this week in a bit of a SPOILER ALERT.  It is also so obvious when ya think about it, for a couple reasons.  Def Leppard.  Pyromania.  Comin’ Under Fire.

Finally this week, some very cool news.  I figured we should try and attend a convention next year, so I applied to get the Sisters a table at C2E2.  I figured it was a long shot, since their Artist’s Alley is only so big and it is THE comic event of the Midwest.  Plus, it’s not like we’re Axe Cop or Dr. McNinja.  However, I just got the news that we’ve been invited to attend.  This is huge for us and I take it as a sign that we’ve got some real potential here.

However, it does also mean that I need to get working on getting some material printed.  I’m hoping to have a few different prints available and I might even have some original art for sale and display.  Might even have a 28mm model.

The only bad news is that Nic can’t make it this time, so you’re stuck talking to a lowly writer (boring).  But, if all goes according to plan and the gods of Mars continue to favor our endeavor, he’ll come up for 2012.  Just as the Mayans predicted….

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PAGE 11.  Girls in transit.  Living in Sub-Dome 4 seems like it has some positive and negative aspects.  Obviously, there’s a public transportation system, which is nice.  But it looks a little like the Red Line here in Chicago, which isn’t particularly nice.  I suppose that kind of thing is relative, I mean, in the SD4 transit tubes, you have to put up with some nefarious characters, but at least there aren’t any drunken Cubs fans.

The Sub-Dome itself seems to be perpetually leaking like the engineering section of the Nostromo.  We’ve had a few discussions about condensation and we’re sticking with our Ridley Scott atmospheric system.  On the bright side, there seem to be a lot of “recreation centers.”  Nic also demonstrates the PG-13 nature of this comic, though he’s gonna be pushing for that R soon, I suspect.

Two Moons.  Besides being a notable Martian micro brew, it is also a common Martian expression.  It means worthless.  The original script had an asterisk on this phrase Vexx uses.  It had to get cut for space (we’d rather show you more art) and we decided to include it here:

Mars’ two moons, Phobos and Deimos, are generally considered worthless rocks.  Neither boasts any mineral resources to speak of and only Phobos is currently populated, serving as a maximum security CSC penal colony.

Finally, this week’s soundtrack is Broken Bell’s ‘The Ghost Inside.’  It has a nice eerie, electronic vibe.  And if you haven’t seen the video, it is amazing.

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PAGE SEVEN.  A couple more interesting characters added this week.  I see this as sort of a Guy Ritchie moment.  The frame freezes (easy enough to do in a webcomic) and you get the little bio on each character, possibly to the accompaniment of gunshots.

So you have a rebel leader, a smuggler/music producer, and a pirate* playing poker while listening to the Sisters‘ demo.  Can’t be good.  And keen eyes might’ve spotted the shipment Shanti is talking about on the last page…

In other news, if you haven’t checked out the two pages in the MarsNet section, I encourage you to just do it.  I think it is some of the best character design Nic has done (or anyone for that matter, but I’m biased).  Remember these bands; they’ll be back.  Hell, these could be our first two spin-offs!

Lastly, just a couple words about Chicago Comic Con.  I’m not going to use this site as any sort of opinion platform, but it strikes me as sad that Marvel, DC, and Dark Horse don’t actually go to Chicago Comic Con.  That said, I talked to some very cool people and the Artist’s Alley was the unequivocal highlight of the con.  I’m thinking, by next year, the Sisters Grimm will need a table there.  There or C2E2.

Finally, if you’re the Tweeting kind, we’ve been doing some exclusive Twitter pics/previews.  I wouldn’t want anyone missing out.

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Beside defying media too fast
Instead of pushing palaces to fall
Put that, put that, put that before all
That this isn’t fortune at all

Radio Free Europe- R.E.M.

PAGE TEN.  Again, some characterful facial expressions by Nic.  The girls seem to be getting more familiar.  And a nice page full of dialogue.  I’m happy with the way the conversation flows here and Sam does a nice job of summing up the predicament.  Poor Vikki Grimm gets another page of being pissed-off.  Will she ever catch a break?

The MLF ‘cast is a homage to Radio Free Europe, which was funded by the U.S. Congress as a political tool during the Cold War.  It’s also a shout out to my favorite anime series.

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Number 9…number 9…number 9.  If Vikki G looked annoyed or pissed last week, she’s positively livid this week.  I love what Nic did with the practice space.  Again, it’s the little details, like the lipstick stain on the glass.  And the ashtrays.

Someone asked me if the MARSnet material was directly connected to the main story.  It is, but it may take some time before the full extent of that connection is revealed.  I think that this format (webcomic) allows for these Verhoeven-esque vignettes.  You can drop them and establish an atmosphere or further the narrative without taking up a weekly update, interrupting the story.  I love this week’s.  The anchor came out great and we snuck in some nice foreshadowing.

Finally, tonight we have a special music pairing request all the way from Argentina.  Nic was telling me that while he was working on this particular page (no pun intended) he was listening to the Led Zeppelin classic, ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You.’  I think it goes well with the lounging girls in panel one.

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PAGE EIGHT.  Nic’s character designs never cease to amaze me.  Beyond the excellent “costumes”, he nails their personalities through expressions and posing.  Kessler and Dub are great, but I love the annoyed/pissed off Vikki Grimm in panel Four.

Ever since I started writing comics (about six months ago now), I’ve wanted to include the caption, “Two days later, at the practice space…”  Finally the dream comes true!

I think with all the smoking going on (apparently there are vast hydroponic domes with the sole purpose of supplying our character’s needs), I think this week’s music pairing has to be ‘Cigarettes and Alcohol’ by Oasis.

Finally, someone asked me what webcomics I’ve been reading.  Honestly, I’m not an expert and there is a lot of great stuff out there.  But one comic that I’ve been catching up on is 6-Commando by Mathieu Moyen.

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PAGE SIX.  This page really demonstrates Nic’s attention to detail.  The wine glasses, carafe, and smouldering ash tray on the upper level gives the studio a real personality.  I love all of Nic’s “set designs”, but this one is particularly cool.  It’s a nice combination of traditional recording studio and futuristic bachelor pad.

We also get introduced to Damien Kessler, head of the Martian Liberation Front.  Can’t wait until you get to meet the rest of the poker players…

Stay tuned this Wednesday for what I think is possibly our coolest background piece- MarsBeat, the Martian music Netcast.

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PAGE FOUR. The title page for Track 1, ‘Radio Free Mars.’ Each Track (chapter) will probably be roughly 10 weeks…roughly.

Trying to suggest a music pairing with this page would mean that I’d be telling you what I think the band sounds like, which I don’t think is 100% appropriate. You should sort of fill that in yourself. That said, I can name you three bands I listen to regularly while writing the script/notes/emails to Nic. Elastica, Garbage, and Hole. But the Sisters Grimm is also a power trio, so you have to consider the great tripods of alternative rock: Green Day, The Police, Muse, Dinosaur Jr, and of course Nirvana.

My Brave Bass.

Some of you might be wondering about Vexx’s antique bass guitar. It has been in her family for generations and legend has it that it originally belonged to a great-great uncle who had quite a successful music career himself, though records have long been destroyed…

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Page Three.  You finally get some dialogue!  Don’t worry, there are whole pages of yammering coming up.  We’re just taking some time setting the stage, literally.

Nic really gets sci-fi noir.  In fact, I would say this week’s music pairing would have to be some moody Vangelis.  You can almost hear the flickering buzz of the neon signs as the rain falls in the background.

I wrote in a little ‘shout out’ here to a great Chicago institution, Medusa’s on Sheffield.  I have fond memories of that club and it was the place to go (until you turned 21).

In other news, Vikki Grimm is on Twitter now.  She’ll be posting updates and SG news, along with some exclusive info and concept art.  Maybe even some lyrics.

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