Gloriana J: Rings Of Saturn
June - November 2012A lot of ideas collided here. I'd had the image of a space queen wearing ridiculously large rings like chess pieces for some time. I love the tackiness of "list" superheroes like the Mandarin. My original idea was for each ring to represent a solar system body - the Mars Ring, the Pluto Ring, the Sun Ring, and so on, but that would require even more exposition.
This popped back into my head watching Cate Blanchett in "Elizabeth: The Golden Age". The younger character Bess played by Abbie Cornish struck me as "the Elizabeth of Earth 2", and I was off.
If I had to pin down the theme here, it would be "how do superheroes reproduce?". All the parallel earth versions and robot copies are like an alternative to childbirth for them. It kind of freaked me out when I realised how this strip mirrored my own life. My daughter was off on a long holiday round Europe, while I stayed at home surrounded by fictional characters who are kind of copies of myself. Was this my way of dealing with the fact I'm entering the age of biological redundancy and into something new?
I liked the idea of introducing a couple of members of the "Celestial Bodies" gang here as background characters. This is now my plan - tell stories about this group, but not necessarily from their point of view. So I doubt Gloriana will appear again soon, but Brilliant Kid and Star Girl will definitely be in future strips.
After doing The Third Door I felt like I'd found my feet with the digital medium. I made up a set of guidelines for pen sizes, image resolutions and so on, and got to work. The only traced element is the backdrop cityscape on page 13, which came out rather nicely and doesn't jar with the rest of the art.