ANOMALIES is nearing the end of a 6-issue journey. The story relates the a day in the life of Jeff Monroe, a young corporal returning home from WWII. Well, we took that day and flipped it “ass over tea kettle,” as my grandmother used to say. He’s the hero of the story; but every hero in a story has a great cast of supporting characters that inform the reader who he or she is. Occasionally, a supporting character strongly connects with readers. It’s a happy accident and you’re lucky if it happens. Dinah Stonehouse, the cool cowgirl of ANOMALIES, is such a character.
Dave reminded me that when writing ANOMALIES, Dinah was a bit of a blank slate. After reading and rereading the first draft of the script seven years ago (!), the first character sketch I did was of Dinah. Back then, she dressed in the finest western couture, walking around tipping her hat with a six-gun at her side. Thankfully, that all changed, except for the pistol. More than her older father, Al, she was more ranch hand than Radio Ranch station and roadhouse entertainer.
So in drawing Dinah for the first time in ANOMALIES, she became the amalgamation of cowgirls I researched. In other words, “Annie Oakley” looks and “Calamity Jane” toughness. When riding Biscuit, her horse, I modeled her movements after the most exciting rodeo and barrel-racing cowgirls I could find. I looked to see how women in comics draw women, too.
An art teacher once told me, “If you want to know how to draw women, do a lot of live drawing…or ask a woman who draws women.” Great advice taken studying and chatting with Amanda Connor (Harlequin, Painkiller Jane); Laura Braga (Witchblade, Wonder Woman, DC Bombshells); Mirka Andolfo (DC Bombshells, Sacro et Profano); Amy Reeder (Rocket Girl) and on ad infinitum! Their women, either heroic or “good girl,” are grounded and approachable. They’re great and had a bunch to do with the way I portray Dinah. Check out their work; you folks with wee girls into comics, especially!
Dave said that Dinah is the real “wholly” collaborative character in ANOMALIES we’ve done. I think that’s cool and I’m humbled by it. I think of Dinah as my “Daughter of the Mind.” There’s no doubt that we’ve put her through the wringer; but she never gives up. What fathers wouldn’t want those qualities in their daughters?
Don’t miss the next post on Tuesday with Dinah and Jeff, the “other Jeff.” It’s still time-travel and it’s still crazy fun!
Karl – Dinah’s Scribbler for DANGER COMICS