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Inside Look: Swordsmith Assassin #1

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Swordsmith Assassin has been one of those strange projects where everything just came together so perfectly. What's funny is that I almost never became a part of it.  Andy Cosby had written a synopsis of the story, but was hesitant to pass it off to another writer.  The story was very special to him and he wanted to make sure that the script did the story justice.  But because he was so busy at the time, he wasn't able to write the script himself.  So, he came to me.

As I read his synopsis, the script just began to unfold inside my head.  I could see exactly how I wanted to write it, how I wanted to make this incredible story come to life.  Like I said, everything just came together perfectly.  I honestly believe that it's one of the best things I've ever written.

PAGE 1


The first page of a comic is always the hardest to write, especially for this issue since it's a story about a man telling a story.  But Andy's synopsis had this great image of our hero standing before a line of soldiers on a battlefield.  It was perfect for a number of reasons. 

First, it shows us where we are and roughly when we are.  Second, it's clear that a seemingly unarmed man fearlessly standing before several soldiers isn't one to mess with.  Right off the bat, we can tell that our hero is capable of putting hardened men on edge.

PAGE 3

This page shows us Toshiro Ono's broken blade for the first time.  You'll notice that the kissaki, the point, of the blade is missing (I actually had a lot of fun researching blacksmithing and sword making for this project).  This broken blade is a constant reminder to Toshiro of who he is and what he's trying to do as well as a metaphor for the kind of man he is.

I also want to point out the incredible art by Ayhan Hayrula, especially panel 4 of this page.  He captures Toshiro's mood perfectly and brings just the right amount of grit to the story.

PAGE 7

One of the things that I wanted to do with this script was to show identical panels throughout the story, but the context of the story giving those images different meanings or establishing parallels within Toshiro's life.  One of those first images is here when a young Toshiro looks over his father's shoulder as he studies the edge of a blade.

I also like this image as a metaphor for Toshiro looking down on his father (yes, I'm big on metaphor).  It is a feeling that begins to manifest in young Toshiro, starting on this page. 

PAGE 8

I want to point out this page simply for panel 3.  I love what Ayhan did here and it's nice to get a glimpse of beauty here among the blood and mud of revenge. 

PAGE 10

The last image is another one that will repeat throughout the story.  Only this one will change slightly as the story progresses.  The purpose of this image is to show the growing weight on Toshiro's spirit as well as the impetus for his journey.  It is also, in a way, representative of his goal.  Toshiro is shamed in his father's eyes and the only way he'll be worthy enough to be back at his father's side is to redeem himself. 

Swordsmith Assassin has been one of my favorite projects that I've ever worked on.  From the story to the incredible interiors to the stunning covers, this book was such a joy to be a part of on and I hope that comes through to the reader. 

Swordsmith Assassin #2 goes on sale tomorrow, September 16, 2009.

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