Do you know what I love about Free Comic Book Day? It’s now this huge international event, with a pretty big social media presence — and yet it is still about helping grass-root comic book stores and artists/storytellers. Almost every participating store I knew this year was sharing the day with local artists and writers. My local store just happened to have Nicola Scott.
For those who don’t know (like, how could you not?!?), Nicola Scott is a DC Artist extraordinaire. She is mostly known for her collaborative work with Gail Simone on Birds of Prey, and Greg Rucka on Blackest Night: Wonder Woman.
Lately, she has been keeping herself busy working with Greg Rucka again, on a personal project: Black Magick.
In Nicola’s own words: “It’s essentially a gothic noir story about a police detective, who happens to be a witch, and is trying to keep her two separate lives… separate. Her job. And her faith. But a case she is working on is dragging them together. Whether she likes it or not.”
Now this is a personal project Nicola and Greg have been working on from scratch. They have collaborated together pretty tightly: Greg weaving his word-craft while Nicola has been painting the book.
Yes, you read that correctly. Nicola Scott has been going old-school. And it is so damn fine.
“I have been LOVING working with paintbrushes and ink! Getting back to the natural look!”
I have just finished Vol 1 of the trade paperback and I am now aching to read more. Visually, I love the textured painted look in B&W, with just a few colored highlights. I kept finding myself gently rubbing the page while I was reading — it was quite seductive.
The writing is equally enchanting. Initially, I was worried the main character might come across as a bit of a stereotypical ‘tough chick cop’ or even a bit too much like Witchblade, but instead, I found a growing complexity with a good dose of sincerity. I get the feeling the main character Black is going to be spending a lot of time trying to convince others of her sincerity.
Nicola and Greg have done a lot of research for this project. The feedback from the Pagan community has been supporting and very positive. Within the story itself, the faith system has not been romanticized or given a Hollywood glamour; it is presented just like any other faith. It’s just the main protagonist’s way of life. But the shadows add the depth to the story. It’s within the folds of the overlapping we find little character reveals. And opportunities for some very smooth artwork. The ‘double-life fatigue’ felt by Black has never been so clearly expressed in a pair of eyebrows — until now.
I was lucky to pick it up at FCBD when I stopped to chat to Nicola. Lucky I was there before she sold out, and lucky she was there at all. Nicola is so busy with another project as well, she is unlikely to attend any other cons or fan events for the rest of the year.
Her other project: Wonder Woman’s Year One (due for release early June 2016). Here’s a WIP she recently shared on Twitter.
Nicola is absolutely blissed out with this workload: “Well, for the last 10 years or so, whenever anyone has asked me what would be my dream project, I’ve said I would really love to do a ‘Wonder Woman origins story’ with Greg Rucka. Then about a month and a half ago, DC came knocking and said, Greg and Nicola — we would love for you to do a ‘Wonder Woman origin story’! So it’s kind of like all of our dreams coming true! I’m having a REEEEEALLY good year!”
I don’t know about you, but I love hearing artists gush over their projects. It shows a true passion and commitment to the task at hand. I know the end product is going to look good because the artist and writer care about these characters, this story, and good storytelling.