28 Words Later
with Declan Shalvey
by David O'Leary
It is with great regret that I tell you that this is the final 28 Words Later. Well, not great regret actually as the reason that this is the last is that our guest Declan Shalvey has moved to Marvel Comics as of issue #148 of Thunderbolts. I can hardly begrudge him that now can I? You will notice that Dec doesn't tell what book he will be working on in the piece but that was before the press release. Well on with the final column. Thanks for reading.
David O'Leary: Man, that was probably the best issue so far in terms of visuals, story pay off, tension and plot movement. Every page was golden. Now that the book has reached a big milestone in finishing its first year, things must feel great.
Declan Shalvey: Yeah, I feel that issue 12 was really the big release after a build up of a year's worth of stories. There were emotional payoffs and I got to draw some pretty cool visuals. It also featured my favorite cover that I contributed. So, it's safe to say, issue 12 is definitely a milestone for me.
DO'L: But bittersweet at the same time as you dropped the bombshell that this issue will be your last on the series. What prompted the decision to leave?
DO'L: Yes, issue 12 is in fact my final issue. Basically, I got an incredible offer for a new project that I couldn't turn down. There was no way I could take it on and also continue on 28 Days Later. It kills me as I was recently at Heroes con with Michael Alan Nelson and he talked a lot about what was coming and I even got to contribute a couple of ideas too. I've loved working on this book and it was a really tough decision for me to leave it. When I wrapped up issue 12 I had no idea at the time it would be my final issue, but looking at it now, it was a pretty nice way to bow out; on a high.
DO'L: Are you leading into something new now?
DS: Yes, but I don't think I can say what it is, sorry! Very excited about it though.
DO'L: Is there the possibility that we could see you back on the odd guest star issue?
DS: I don't think so. Not that I wouldn't be open to it, but I think BOOM! Studios would prefer get someone who can take on the book and keep a level of consistency, like I managed to do for the most part. It's possible there may be no room for fill-ins if that's the case.
Dec's final cover for the book
DO'L: My condolences on Douglas. I was only mouthing about him last issue but that was some way to go. Visually very jarring to see him so helpless and to regress in the face of death to a childlike manner to ask for his mother was cruel. But it was a read great.
DS: I bet you feel bad now, huh? You make me sick!
Yeah, I have to say as horrible as that scene was, I loved drawing it. I mean, I cared about the character, and it was just such a *horrible* way for him to go, it absolutely is a kick in the gut. Drawing a child contorting and suffering like that was hard to do; its a rough headspace to get in, but I feel the pages are much better because of it.
DO'L: I loved the page where Selena was front and centre and the various panels showing Douglas fighting the infection before it takes hold. The helplessness on Selena's face was a great emotional image. You knew at that stage that someone was going to be sorry for that and with it early in the issue it was a great story set up. A great example of pacing.
DS: Thanks! I may have mentioned before that when I met Michael, we both collaborated on a scene. That was the scene in question. He asked how I would like to draw it; I suggested a page looking at Selena suffering, with a montage of small panels showing the various stages of infection, heightening the tension, than on the next page, the big reveal of Douglas infected. It was incredibly satisfying to draw those pages considering the amount of input I had in creating them.
The page in question
DO'L: I liked the final image of Selena watching the compound burn. It brought some kind of closure to the recent events. But it was a subtext heavy image. The Infected are now loose in large numbers, Derrick is still largely useless and Captain Stiles now has even more a reason to hate Selena. They may have got a small victory here but it is an unsure road ahead.
DS: Again; at the time I didn't realize this would be my final page on the book as I was drawing it, but I'm kinda glad I'm bowing out with this page. It's not too complicated, but it's an interesting composition, it's lit dramatically, and I even took the opportunity to play around with some grey wash. Storytelling-wise also, it makes a great punch. Really happy with that page.
Bye bye Douglas
DO'L: The idea behind the Americans adapting the virus for the battle field using Scotland as its base is one that buys into the mistrust of America in general when it comes to foreign policy as Selena shows when vehemently protesting against it. I'm sure it was a veiled reference to the global perception of the US coming to a country and claiming something in it as their own, but do you think that US audiences might not like seeing their country depicted as such?
DS: Well as filthy foreigners, you and I are well accustomed to negative feeling towards America. But still, i think that sense of anti-establishment (the establishment being the global force that is America) is well ingrained in popular culture these days. I think American audiences may not agree, but I'm sure it's something they're familiar with at this stage.
DO'L: It's being a blast to do this with you. I genuinely wish you all the best for the future and I'm sure that we will talk again soon.
DS: Thanks so much Dave. Let me just say thanks to you, to all who have been reading these columns and reading the book. Huge thanks to Ed Dukesire, Bill Farmer, Nick Filardi for making my work look so good for this past year. HUGE thanks to Michael Alan Nelson, who gave me scripts that forced me to out-do myself every month. And an even bigger thanks to Ian Brill and Matt Gagnon at BOOM! Studios, who hired me for such a great project and were a dream to work with.
And that brings to an end this column here on CR due to obvious reasons that Dec no longer draws the book! I have greatly loved this book and really appreciate the time that Dec has spent with us each month for the last year here on CR. You can continue to read content from myself over on my other column 5 Minutes With... which is returning next week. But I am going to leave the final word on this column to 28 Days Editor Ian Brill;
Hello, Ian Brill here. I have the distinct pleasure of editing 28 DAYS LATER, the past year with Declan Shalvey on pencils and inks for most of the issues. Working on this title has been one of the greatest experiences in my career. This is due to the fact that we have, across the board, a fantastic collection of artists contributing. Of these artists Declan proved himself vital in shaping what 28 DAYS LATER would look like, what it would feel like. He brought a brilliant and unique style that excelled at both intense action scenes as well as quieter character moments. Throughout the highs and lows of comic book editing, receiving pages from Declan were always a highlight. I wish him the best of luck!
David has been with CR since June 2008 and started out as a reviewer and has expanded to do a couple of columns for the site also; starting with 28 Words Later with artist Declan Shalvey and later 5 Minutes With... where he talks with the industries best and brightest from Kubert to Moore.
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