Behind the Story: “Goodbye and God Speed”
This one doesn’t have an origin story as temporally extensive as “Daisy,” my first collaboration. I had originally written “Goodbye and God Speed” for Alterna Comics’s IF Anthology 2016 theme, “Super Powers.” It wasn’t until the comic was completed that I’d noticed the one submission term that would sink any chance it had at being published in the project: no adult (18+) themes, including profanity. I wasn’t willing to compromise by changing the script to erase the profanity. I believed in the power of the profanity I used. It serves the story’s characterization.
This is not an all-ages tale. It’s one of regret from a life of violence and hate. The main character (who, to this day, remains unnamed) lived, for years, as a vile, mean monster twisted from jealousy. This story is about taking a villain and thwarting his enjoyment of his crowning achievement in a moment of reflection. The best villains, in my opinion, are those who are nothing without a hero. In some ironic fashion, the person they hate the most becomes someone they learn to care for. When the villain finally defeats the hero once and for all, it’s rendered a hollow victory.
One of my goals for “Goodbye and God Speed” was to present a mundane tale with a flair of the extraordinary as a final twist. Sure, this is a supervillain talking to a dead superhero but I didn’t want you to realize that up front. I wanted to build toward that reveal with a clue here and there along the way. Take away that twist, and you still have a compelling story about regret and a promise of redemption. These are two ordinary characters who, one day, were thrust into extraordinary circumstances but at their core were still ordinary and mundane.
You’ll notice that the main character does all of the talking in this story. There are a handful of other characters who make an appearance, but I left them mute. This was a personal experiment in the same vein as “Daisy,” which was a silent comic: I wanted to tell a story with one narrator and no dialogue. Monologuing is a classic villainous trope in fiction so I wanted to play with that idea. This entire story is one final monologue delivered by a villain to punctuate his relationship to the hero. As the trope goes, he reveals his motivation for the villainy he’s committed as well as the key to foiling his master plan. Instead of having the hero capitalize on the opportunity that the monologuing trope traditionally presents, I had the villain defeat himself.
Marcelo Salaza‘s stark contrasts in black, white, and gray plays beautifully to create a noir atmosphere. I was very lucky to have collaborated with him on this project. He was professional even to the end in spite of the tragic circumstances that struck, which you can read about in detail on the final page. Likewise, Renato Guerra went above and beyond his post as the project’s letterer. First, he did a bang-up job with taking my verbose script and finding compromises with Salaza’s art. (I hope this will be my most verbose project of all. I am still learning to show instead of tell!) Past that, Renato was a huge help when it came time to reformat the comic page size for its eventual publication in Caliber Comics’s Caliber Presents #2 (2016).
I especially want to thank and honor the memory of Caliber Comics founder, the late Gary Reed, who gave us the chance to publish “Goodbye and God Speed” in Caliber’s anthology series. While this was my second collaboration for an anthology project after “Daisy,” “Goodbye and God Speed” became my first officially published comic. You can purchase a physical copy of Caliber Presents #2 on Caliber’s webstore or Amazon. You can also purchase a digital copy on ComiXology.
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