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September 8, 2012
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Prompt: What Could Have Been - Comic by Koskish Prompt: What Could Have Been - Comic by Koskish
Entry for :iconcharacterdevelopment: first prompt; themed What Could Have Been in which we were encouraged to think of choices and events in our character's lives that could have happened differently and what consequences these would have on the character's personality.

At first I really wanted to do something cute that would have resulted in a happy scenario, but I've done that a million times with most aspects of Edward's life already, so I opted to explore something I'd never really looked in to before; Edward's relationship with his necromancer.

First off; since I've never submitted to this club before, I should explain that Edward is an undead who works through magic (necromancy). In his world, there are people who can use necromancy to raise the dead either as mindless zombies or bind a soul to the body to create a sentient creature most commonly referred to as an undead.

Usually, undead are independent and can function and roam around by themselves, but in the presence of their necromancer, an undead is physically unable to disobey.

Edward, in his story, is an undead that belongs to a very powerful necromancer, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, but has in canon never met her. For reasons unknown, Catherine has never contacted him.

What I took a swing at here was what if Edward had found her early on and stayed with her instead of roaming the world by himself. Catherine puts a very high value on beauty and isn't too fond of the fact that her most powerful undead is a disfigured corpse. (Edward doesn't have a lower jaw under that scarf)

Yes, Catherine makes her undead call her mistress and treats them like either pets or very large dolls.

As you can see, he's not treated very well by her. He's mostly kept locked up in a cell in the basement, only occasionally let out to do chores (as a reward if he behaves), usually, it's preferred if he just doesn't show his face. This has a massive impact on Edward as a character, I realized. As he instead of becoming highly aggressive and asocial, adapts a very submissive personality where he doesn't know how to function unless he's given orders.

Yep.

First submission to this group and it shows what an asshole I am to my characters.

Feel free to ask if there's something you don't understand or you're curious about! My super-quick explanation probably doesn't make a lick of sense.

Drawn in Photoshop CS5.
Characters belong to me and ~Yezzixa
Please do not use this image without permission!
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:iconolive-owl:
Olive-Owl Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2012  Student Filmographer
Geez, Ed's relationship with his necromancer in this AU or 'what if' scenario is... unnerving. Just the idea that he's addressed to be an object or animal rather than a human being rubs me the wrong way. The emotion probably stems from the fact that we don't know who Lady Catherine actually is or get a clear understanding of what she looks like (which in my opinion, works REALLY well for panel composition).

As for the overall art, I definitely like how you've added a warm tint or gradient to make it monochromatic. When you said the shading was going to be done in greyscale, I was imaging you'd use neutral greys so it'd look a little dull. Your panels and text bubbles flow very well. I'm fond of each composition you've picked out for the panels and your choice of close-ups, over-the-shoulder shot panels and the final silhouette panel. They look awesome to me.

In terms of lineart, I think you should experiment with more lineart thickness and variation. The figures in the foreground seem to have the same line-thickness as objects in the background, so you lose that depth while you're reading the comic. Everything feels like it's on the same level depending on the panels you're looking at. Perhaps figures that are closer to the viewer could be drawn in a bolder outline to make them stand out. Faded some colours in background objects like the bookshelf would help make the characters pop out more too because of the contrast.

Overall this is a pretty cool comic! I really need to get back into comics of my own. Gotta get out of this terrible rut.
Also wondering about it, but how come Ed's hair is out in this as opposed to being tied up in the usual ponytail? It's because Catherine can't resist his fabulous hair in't it?
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:iconkoskish:
Koskish Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2012  Student Digital Artist
It is unnerving, but this relationship is common amongst undead and their masters. Undead are often treated as possessions or slaves due to the fact that they've been created and have no free will in their master's presence.

I'm glad you noticed that effect of not showing Catherine's face! It started as a cheap way of avoiding not drawing her facial features since I don't quite know what she looks like yet, after the first panel I thought it added a cool effect since it kind of looks like Ed's never meeting her eyes. Which is a level of unsettling.

Yeah, I was planning of just keeping it grey, but when I was done shading, the finished comic looked both sloppy and very dull, so I opted for a paper texture on overlay and added a colored gradient on top to get some color variation. In my opinion, I think it worked great to set a bit of atmosphere. Very happy that the composition works well, too! Seems people like my composition more when I don't plan ahead and just go by instinct. Maybe I overthink it normally. XD

Yeah, I'm not too happy with the lineart myself, but I really hate digital lineart. I'm never happy with how I do it. But I'll take your advice and experiment more with line thickness and try to get more depth in the future. Mostly, I just wanted to finish this comic before I lost interest.

Thanks a lot for the lengthy comment! I think we both need to get back in to comics. I had a blast with this, so I'm probably gonna try more like it, just to get back in to the swing of things.

Ed's hair is out because it makes him look a bit more shabby. And I picture Catherine thinking his only redeeming feature is his pretty hair. He also prefers having it up, and Catherine knows this, so he's not allowed to. It's all about making him feel like he's worth less and breaking his spirit.

Catherine is a horrible human being. :C
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:iconyezzixa:
Yezzixa Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2012
To add to the whole Necromancers treatment of Undead - I'd imagine the kind of power that comes with necromancy, the power over life and death, would definitely mess with most people's head. A lot of Necromancers usually only want to ressurect one person, a loved one, a parent, a child, someone they feel was unfairly taken from them. Even Catherine probably started out that way.

But since you can't ressurect someone to be what they were before they died, and since no one in known history has ever fully restored a dead body back to life, even the most powerful Necromancers end up with a dead body with a soul. For some, it makes them give up - they reel in horror at what they've created, at the shell they've restored, at the horror they're putting the soul of their loved one through.

But some people, it drives them to try more, in the hopes of one day being strong enough to fully restore their first subject to life. In order to do that, they need to create more undead. Those undead rarely mean anything to the Necromancer, but also, it must be numbing to create undead after undead in the vain quest to find whatever non-existing piece of knowledge they're searching for, that one piece of the puzzle that will solve everything.

And since there is no such piece of the puzzle, since there is no amount of necromantic power that can bring life back to the dead, a powerful Necromancer will search for as long as they live. In Catherine's case, this is over a hundred years, feeding off the energies of the undead she has created, all the time looking for more and more power.

The undead she creates, they really aren't people to her anymore. They are tools, and she is numb to their wishes and hopes and dreams. They just don't matter to her. Ed is proof of how powerful she is, yes, but he is also proof of her failure to bring a person back to life.

Don't get me wrong, she's still horrible and awful. But I can understand her.
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:iconcosmo-the-oreo:
Cosmo-the-Oreo Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2012
So can a necromancer make more than one undead or is she just stuck with Ed? Does she have the power to let him die or does he only die when she does?
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:iconkoskish:
Koskish Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2012  Student Digital Artist
It varies depending on how powerful the necromancer in question is. Catherine is the strongest known necromancer at the time, and she has around 30 very powerful undead with her at all times. Edward was a freak accident and just happened to end up insanely more powerful than Catherine expected. So she keeps him around just because she hasn't been able to replicate what she managed to do with him.

She has the power to undo the binding that keeps Edward's soul in his body, and that would kill him. She just doesn't want to. If she died, Edward would soon run out of energy and die himself.
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