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Jason Badower/War Buddies, Part 4
Jason was very happy with his version of Au Co, in part because he was the model for her: "She's supposed to be about 10 years old. With no models available, I modeled for her. Given that I'm 6'1" and 92kg (a little over 200 lbs) I thought I made a stunning 10 year old girl." He also tends to pose for other background characters (including the smoking guard), and finds that he has to act "a little larger than life" to convey the correct emotions.
Jason credits Annette Kwok with making this page "beyond superb". He especially liked the mud on the faces and thinks it "makes them almost look like photos." Excited, he emailed Annette, "That! That! That's what I want our stuff to look like! That's it, right there! How do we do that again?" Annette replied back with, "I dunno. Put mud on everyone's face?"
Jason did a lot of research on how the huts, vegetables, and Vietnamese people should look. He used a wide shot on the second panel because he thinks "Dallas is pretty sneaky so he should be hard to spot." Ultimately, Jason felt this entire story is about character arc. To Jason, Austin's anguish is what makes this story interesting. He tried to project that anguish in the last panel.
The script for this panel reads, "Austin sits crouched down hidden by wooden crates holding a detonator. ... Austin looks at his watch." However, Jason wanted to "communicate a greater sense of conflict in Austin's eyes and presence. ... I wanted him looking at us, asking us, 'Am I doing the right thing?'"
Jason was not originally scheduled to do the art for War Buddies. Frank Mastromauro at Aspen Comics informed Jason that the previous artist had backed out of the project, and offered the job to Jason at the last minute. Working under a tight deadline, Jason forgot the bullet casings and blood splatters on this page. Annette Kwok added them in for Jason.
The way Au Co's friend runs reminds Jason of the way "my mum would run (she doesn't do a lot of running at her age). It's really convincing to me." He also notes that the watches switch wrists because he chose to flip some panels. "I just felt that Austin needs to jump from the right holding us back from visually progressing in the natural direction we want to read."
To research the Vietnam War, Jason bought Platoon and got video captures of huts, guns, uniforms, Vietnamese villagers, jungle, vegetables and likenesses. He said it was particularly difficult for Annette Kwok and him to gel with the choices of the previous artist and colorist. The previous work didn't suit Jason's artwork very much, and he found it a little "cheap and a little fluoro".
Notes about Jason's drawings are taken from his weblog.