blog archives

24th Jan 2012, 9:01 PM


This is the chapter I've been waiting for since the Better Angels strip launched. This is the one where it all the hints and clues are swept aside and everythings laid out . Faith has been given the power of an angel. Unfortunately it's probably not enough to help her go toe to toe with a 30 foot tall monster Seraphim.

I had a blog entry all planned out for this strip. I was going to talk about angels and all the inherent cool story-telling stuff you can do using the war between Heaven & Hell as your basis.

Then the Jordan's artwork landed in my inbox and I was totally dumbfounded! I think we can all agree that Mr Kroeger hit it all the way out of the park with this one.

The character design Jordan came up with for the Seraphim completely blew me away. He took the rough description of a multi-winged monster-angel and made some magic. The designs on the armour. The glowing eyes. The fiery sword. Not to mention the incredible colouring job. I was really looking forward to seeing this particular chapter brought life but it actually came out so much better than I had imagined it.

That's the beauty of the collaborative art of comics - even your own story can surprise you.

That being the case I'm not even going to say anything in the blog this time around. I'm just going to let all our readers bask in the wonderful artwork in this month's strip.

29th Nov 2011, 11:01 PM

#5 - The Other Guys...

"Who am I? I'm the guy who does his job. You must be the other guy!"

Mark Wahlberg, The Departed

Okay so that quote has nothing to do with what I'm gonna talk about in this month's blog post (apart from the fact that I pilfered this month's title from it) - I just love it. It's undoubtedly the best bit of dialogue in that movie, which being that it also stars Jack 'This town needs an enema' Nicholson - that's high praise indeed.

Anyway Wahlberg plugging aside, this month I feel like I want to talk about supporting casts. Now that we're five chapters into BETTER ANGELS the ball is really starting to get rolling and we're getting down into the nitty gritty of just what this here little webcomic is going to be all about.

It's going to be about Faith Emory. It's as simple as that. Sure weird and wacky things are going to happen to her, but we're going to be focused on who Faith is. That's what's going to decide how she reacts to the crazy wringer myself and Jordan are going to be putting her through month in and month out.

That being said no man, or woman, is an island. A lot of what makes you, I, the crazy guy who licks people on the subway and yes, even fictional Faith Emory is the people around us. The ones that are important to our lives. This is even more important when it comes to writing a comic book series.

I mean can anyone deny that one of the things that made Spider-man a pop culture icon is those other guys that Stan and Steve (then later Stan and John Romita Snr) injected into Peter Parker's life. Sure we all want our monthly fix of Spidey duking it out with Dock Ock and the Green Goblin, but it was the relationships that hooked us and kept us coming back as the villain of the month came and went. Seeing Pete mix it up with Flash Thompson, getting rejected by Liz Allen, comiserating with Harry Osborn, falling in love with Gwen Stacy and of course getting bawled out by J Jonah Jameson, that's what made him the guy you rooted for. Peter was the guy, but he was nothing without those other guys.

I don't know about you but I love supporting casts!  From the parents, siblings and buddies of Fabian Nicieza's New Warriors to The Warriors Three, Sif and Balder from Simonson's Thor - I love them all!

That's why I couldn't wait to get this point in Better Angels. This chapter is our first proper opportunity for me to begin to introduce 'the other guys' in Faith's life. Even though this chapter stars Faith all by herself, we've managed to sneak in a glimpse or mention of everyone that is (or will become) important in Faith's life in the coming months. As much as I've had a whale of a time introducing Faith and having her getting hit by cars, whacking dudes with hospital food trays and swearing up a blue streak, it's the setting up and playing out of the relationships with the other members of the cast that I really enjoy (and hope that you will too).

While I can't promise you a Flash Thompson or a JJJ or a Gwen Stacy (who can? There's only one Stan Lee), I hope you'll enjoy getting to know Faith and her little ragtag group of friends and foes as much as I enjoyed cooking them up.

Don't forget to drop us a line and let us know how you think we're doing.

Until next month.


9th Nov 2011, 9:51 PM

#4 - That Almighty Shirt...

So we're now four chapters in and I still haven't explained the T-shirt.

Truth be told when I first concieved of Better Angels that first three page sequence where Faith meets the mysterious stranger came to me almost wholesale. I knew our mysterious stranger would be on the run, desperate to get rid of the awesome powers churning inside him. I knew he would run across a young woman and get impression that she was good and pure and pious. I knew that later it would turn out to be the wrong impression.

My problem was that I had no idea of how to put across that wrong impression as a comic-book panel.

Then a song on my MP3 Player suddenly provided me with the answer. A killer tune called 'Jesus Loves You...But I Don't' by the Almighty. If you guys aren't already fans of the Almighty and their uber-talented lead singer Ricky Warwick then you're missing out. As soon as that song kicked in inspiration hit me like a bolt of lightning.

Sure a necklace bearing Faith's misleading name is good but a T-shirt bearing the slogan "Jesus Loves You..." really made that sequence click. It also set up the perfect means to reveal to our mysterious stranger the mistaken assumption he's made. That panel in chapter three where he turns the T-shirt to read the "...But I Don't" on the back is one of my favorite panels of the strip so far.

I gotta say that Jordan really hit it out of the park with his rendition of the T-Shirt complete with the Almighty logo. It was so convincing that it had my wife shopping around online trying to buy me one for my birthday (she was kicking herself when I explained that that particular T-Shirt design was a one-off Kroeger original).

So we here at BA own a big debt to Ricky and the rest of the Almighty boys for the reams upon reams of good tunes and the big fat chunk of inspiration that came with them.

I figure some plugs are the least we can do:

Get your fix of the Almighty from:
The offical website:
You should also give Ricky Warwick's awesome solo stuff a shot on:
his official website:
Nuff Said

4th Oct 2011, 9:19 PM

#3 - You Always Have To Be Different, Don't You?

It's something I get accused of a lot in various aspects of my life - from my dress sense to my attitude to my musical tastes. In all of these there is a little bit of truth - let's face it you don't wear a T-shirt with a picture of Frank Zappa on the can to your dayjob unless you want your colleagues to think you're a little bit odd. When it comes to the format of the webcomic here those accusations are totally unfounded.

Sure most webcomics update a page a day, or a page a week or even a page a month. It's not the norm to post a bunch of pages all at once - usually it's drip-feed setup to get the pages out quicker and the readers interest invested. There's two reasons I didn't go for that setup - one is sadly practical and the other is a bit more dewey-eyed and sentimental.

The practical reason is that there's no possible way the Better Angels team could churn out one page a day, or even a week for that matter. For both myself and Jordan this project is a labor of love (or warm fuzzy fondness at least). We've both got jobs, other projects, and various other things from social lives, wives and hungry babies conspiring to rob us of our time. So timescale-wise 3 pages a month just seemed eminently more sensible.

The other reason is because - hell I grew up on comic-books stories that ticked over at three pages per chapter. I can't be the only UK comic-book guy around these parts that got bit by the comic-book bug by EAGLE. Y'see my comic-book diet as I was growing up consisted of whatever I could borrow (a.k.a. swipe) from my older brother's weekly comic-book purchases once he had lost interest and gone off to play football or something. There were a few Marvel reprint magazines here and there, the obligatory BEANOs, DANDYs, maybe a WHIZZER & CHIPS, ROY OF THE ROVERS (blech - Spandau Ballet's Martin Kemp playing football, I don't think so) and of course the mighty EAGLE.

EAGLE was a boy's adventure comic sporting the adventures of  British comic-book icon DAN DARE on the coloured centre pages while the rest of the black & white pages were dedicated to classic strips like DOOMLORD, THE COMPUTER WARRIOR, DEATH WISH and later more modern strips like SURVIVAL and my beloved STORM FORCE. I didn't know it at the time but a lot of those strips were created and written by 2000AD and DC legends Alan Grant and John Wagner.

Each strip got three pages per issue to move the story along and keep us hooked. While the strips were only three pages at a time some of those little tidbits of story have really stuck with me over the years. Whether it be alien DOOMLORD Servitor Vek of Nox having his final battle with his bad seed son ENOK in his lunar castle, COMPUTER WARRIOR Bobby Patterson smashing up his ZX Spectrum with a cricket bat so he's never tempted to use its 'real life' code again for fear that he'll end up in the dreaded Nightmare Zone like his hapless friend Martin or DAN DARE winning a last deadly battle with evil, green-afro-sporting space pirate DARGATH on a ship full of blood-thirsty mercenaries before succumbing to his own wounds. Just talking about those moments takes me back to many happy days spent reading and re-reading those awesome stories.

So when I began considering a webcomic and I knew a daily or weekly schedule would be an impossible feat, I decided to do it up Eagle-style. It's been really challenging breaking my story down into little self-contained three page chunks, making sure each one moves the story along, but it's been a lot of fun too. With my second web comic project - tenatively titled MARINE - already in the works I'm hoping to end up with my own little Eagle style motley crew of monthly strips capturing you for three pages at time.

So for the fact that we're here, nine pages in, on Better Angels #3, I owe a tip of the hat to good old Eagle.

The comic-book world is a slighly drearier place without you.

31st Aug 2011, 8:16 AM

#2 - What's In A Name...

"I am loathe to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle-field, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."

That's a quote from Abraham Lincoln's first inaugural address, and as the eagle-eyed among you may have spotted (or any American History buffs may have already known) this is where I took the name for the webcomic. I'd love to say that I'm one of those guys who reads an Abraham Lincoln quote and is inspired to write a book with lofty themes about the human spirit and 'lifting yourself up by your bootstraps' but sadly in my case it was the reverse. I wanted to write a comic about a cool chick with a bad attitude caught in a battle between the sparkly forces of Heaven and the infernal forces of Hell, couldn't come up with a good title, stumbled across Honest Abe's quote and BAM! The rest is history.

I should own up to the fact that the 'history' in question is littered with many, many false-starts and aborted attempts to get the story of Faith Emory out of my head onto the page (or the web as it turned out). 'Better Angels' is a story that's been rattling around in my brain for quite some time. It's gone through dozens of revisions, changes and re-imaginings - it's even been touted to a publisher once or twice under a myriad of less than stellar titles (I think I may pitched this thing to Shadowline at one point under the title 'Angel-ish'. You know, the opposite of 'Devil-ish'? Eeeewww, that's just nasty!).

Nothing really clicked and so the story never made it to the top of my 'work in progress' pile much. It's tough to get inspired to work on a story you know can't go anywhere because it's got a lame title. When I came across the Licoln quote it just fit perfectly. After that I was polishing up scripts and hunting down artists until finally I came across Jordan who turned the first few chapters around a lightning speed - and now here we are publishing chapter 2.

The Lincoln quote made everything fall into place because it was such a perfect fit for the series. I mean it obviously ties in nicely with the high concept of the series but what really did it for me is that it fits perfectly the disposition of our protagonist. Behind all the bluster, bad attitude and 'colourful' language Faith Emory is someone totally ruled over by the 'better angels of her nature'. As the story ramps up and gets going you'll see that no matter the fix she's in or how easy it would be to extricate herself at someone else's expense she can't bring herself to do anything but the right thing. The 'devils on her shoulder' are invariably shouted down by the 'better angels of her nature' everytime.

So if any of your fellow web-comicers in the audience find yourself stuck for a name to get your series rolling, you could do worse than a lanky, dead white guy with a dodgy hat and an awesome beard.

That's all from me. There'll be more BA related yakking from me next month.

Enjoy Better Angels Chapter 2.....and don't forget to leave us a comment.

Nuff Said


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