Sign of the Hammer!

Saturday, 30 January 2016

The Paragon Paradox Part Three (Final Part, Honest!): Eliminate 'Er!

Welcome to the final part of my thoughts on 'The Paragon Paradox' - and rest assured, it is the final part. (First part here, second part here.) First, a few words on the artist currently known as Scott Twells - a remarkable talent. I first  encountered his work when he illustrated a yet-to-be-published story of mine for a yet-to-be-disclosed comic. Discussing his work with the editor, it struck me that though his style for that story was deliberately scratchy and cartoonish, it was also blessed with a remarkable sense of composition and some sublime posing. Oddly, Davey Candlish had also sent Scott a short Spencer Nero script to illustrate, which meant he ended up drawing two of my stories in quick succession - before being handed The Paragon Paradox on the strength of 'Spencer Nero Feels Your Pin'. The upshot is that only David Broughton has ever drawn more pages of my scripts* - a gent with whom he shares a similar talent for swiftness, without ever sacrificing quality.

Now for a few random observations:

Part One:

Lettering by Jim Campbell
  • The Dalmatian hanging out with Bulldog at the start is called Gooch - this is not a reference to any weird piercing (look it up! No, wait, don't!) but in fact a nod of the head to a book I enjoyed as a child, namely 'Mr. Gooch and the Penny-farthing', a story about some dogs that run a bicycle shop. The lead dog is a Dalmation in a boiler suit.

  • Mr. Twells notably places the number '18' on Bulldog's hangar - 'Hangar 18' is, of course, a key song on Megadeth's 'Rust In Peace', one of the greatest albums in the history of the human species. Ergo, I posit that Scott Twells is likely a thrasher of some description.

  • Ganesh's foe is a Promethean Eagle - the horrible thing that used to pull Prometheus's regenerating liver out on daily basis. At one point I was going to have Bulldog carried away by the eagle - until I remembered he'd just been carried off by a pterodactyl in his own series a couple of episodes ago!

Part Two:

Lettering by Dave Metcalfe-Carr
  • Jikan's arrival line is paraphrased from 'Shogun Assassin', in which Ogami Itto exclaims "They will pay... with rivers of blood!" On reflection this sounded a bit Enoch Powell, so I changed it. It wouldn't have been the most appropriate line for a story in which extradimensional immigrants threaten Britain...

  • Ekhidna's changed slightly from James Corcoran's depiction - she's a bit better looking (still got nice cheekbones) and actually closer to what I originally imagined she'd look like.

Part Three:

  • It struck me as I reached the end that this story is a Freudian nightmare - a gigantic archetypal mother-figure gets gang-banged mauled by a bunch of macho men. Someone had to articulate it (but not excuse it.)

Lettering by Ken Reynolds
  • Bulldog and the big hairy metaphor: Wait a minute - didn't I say in my last post that Bulldog was the most down to earth of the team? Why is he going all metaphorical here? Well, given his lineage and pre-eminent status as small-press icon, I decided he was the best person to articulate the subtext of the story - namely that it's all about the difference between small-press comics and the work of 'the big boys' (as Davey Candlish likes to call them) at Marvel and DC.  Ekhidna represents the latter - constantly repeating herself, squirting out debased copies of myths that once mattered, unable to do anything particularly original but always ready with a new #1. She's finally floored by the PARAGON characters, who of course represent the small-press: varied, versatile, hit-and-miss, off-the-wall and representing the true spirit of their creators. All done in the context of the crossover, that most quintessentially American of comics formats, filtered through PARAGON's 70s/80s Brit sensibility.

And that, as they say, is your lot!

*James Corcoran has drawn the same number as Scott.

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