Dark doings on a bright autumn day! I only found this comic a few weeks ago, but it immediately shot to the top of my watch list. Very happy to see it updating again.
I’m a long-time fan of classic Technicolor westerns (well, black and white ones too) and I love your whole scenario: the rich detail, the characters, the air of mystery. What a fascinating twist on the big-screen horse opera.
So Manga, I take it you love watching the Magnificent Seven. 😉
Glad you found it and thank you so much!
And thus the flaming horse rides again!
I wish I could summon a giant flaming horse wherever I was… I’d name him Mr. Fluffles and he’d strike fear into the hearts of my enemies. :/
I’d name mine Clip-clop.
Mr. Fluffles, Clip-clop? Oooookay. That truly strikes fear in the hearts of the common folk.
Mine would be named Mr Sprinkles and I would feed him a diet of orphan tears and tourists. And we would ride through town to Put that Cookie Down by Austrian Death Machine.
Oh that’s a beautiful mental image! LOVE IT! Seriously, I can see someone getting a horse to to dance to that, and the idea of “clopping” to the beat of that song is absolutely priceless!
The third and fourth panels are especially gorgeous, with the splotchy orange of the train car and the dusty light through the window. Why is it that the colours on every page this chapter are more beautiful than the last?
The artwork is becoming more and more complex and beautiful as the strip progresses. As I mentioned before, I think we are watching a cartoonist evolve into an artist.
This is great stuff.
Nah, I think she was an artist to begin with. There has been some art improvement, yes, but it’s the colour that’s just so striking about this chapter, like it’s a slowly growing fire. It’s just the colours in this chapter are exceptional. Lookback was all dusty pioneer wood browns and dusty grays and sepia memories and just a hint of the beauty of the landscape. Sun Prairie was all plain green fields and a vast empty sky that had a promise of beauty in the sunset. Whiskey Bend was rich red dust and stormy skies but a more vibrant landscape despite its emptiness. Baron’s Crossing was more storm clouds and water and a slightly less rough pioneer town. Wayward was all storm clouds and rain and depressing damp. This is the first time she’s really showing us a living countryside with something more than just grass and rough hewn wood buildings and endless stone. The landscape is more of a character now and burning oversaturated sunlight on trees in early fall is a lot more evocative than plain wood buildings and rainclouds. I mean I loved the red stone of Whiskey Bend, but I’m a former New Englander. This sort of nature speaks to me a lot more than the vastness of a West I’ve never been to.
Wow, thanks all of you!
And we’re off. JHH is back in the flaming saddle. :I Hot seat? :))
Looks like Hunter has a train to catch. Of course, you can’t start the day without a proper cup of coffee. Heaven only knows what is on that train, and why they need a soldier to guard it…
All four pages so far have the quiet morning light and COFFEE setting the contemplative tone. Each page is linked, backward and forward, with pouring coffee, coffee mugs, coffee pots… I laughed out loud when I saw the coffee pot inside the caboose. Even though there is movement (the train, mostly) there has been a peacefulness to this chapter. There hasn’t even been a breeze, until the updraft from the train beneath him blew back John Henry’s elegant duster. The stillness is so perfect that the smoke of the train has lingered above the tracks as far back as you can see…
But with that updraft I suddenly hear the noise of the train up close, and with the summoning of the horse everything launches into motion. I can’t wait to see how he races and catches the train. I have theories, and it’s good to have a week to think about them before seeing what happens. That’s one of the rewards of patience.
Lots of lovely painting and drawing as usual, but I’m particularly struck by the perspective in the last frame (foreshortening is really tough when it’s so extreme), the way you reserved your brightest yellows for the flames in the stallion, and the similar silhouettes on the left edges of the third and fourth frames (so many visual echoes between frames and pages in this chapter – it makes me want to go back and look for this in previous chapters).
But my favorite frame in this page is inside the caboose. The light and shadows in the rafters seem just like my memories of dark wooden interiors, like cabins, barns, and old train cars. The dust, smoke, steam catching that same early morning light (which keeps all four pages closely together in time). The way the exterior shows through the windows, particularly the rear window in that dark back space with the lower ceiling. It’s so obvious how much attention, and how sensitive you are to the nuances of light that create atmosphere and place. And then you set up your “camera angles” for the drama.
Finally there are the little human details which bring to life every single frame. Like the way the card players have their legs and feet… and the subtle body language and facial expressions that seem to imply they both like their cards. Every little detail points to an almost childlike, innocent contentment and well being. What a backdrop!
And with one more look, I note the ladder on the back of the caboose… This is so much fun. I spend the half hour or so each weekend because that time is so well rewarded.
Exactly. This I wait until Monday morning at work to view each week’s work: time spent in contemplation and appreciation of the craftsmanship shown starts my week off nicely.
…and the feedback by those much more in the know? Yes, a very discerning following (said by one who cannot draw a circle or fill in said circle with simple shading).
Erin, you rock.
You guys rock for your support & consideration!
I just found this comic a few days ago and read through the archives. It is a great story, and the artwork is extremely good. One of the best I’ve seen. I especially love/hate Hunter, because he is so handsome, and also his snazzy threads and basically everything about his character. Just a question, will there be any dragons in the comic? Seems unlikely, but given all the magic swirling around maybe it’s not impossible.
While the mainline NTO story has no dragons (sorry!) I may have a pleasant surprise for you in the upcoming Poor Wayfaring Strangers shorts.
Some time in the distant future, an adventurous hiker will find a coffee pot and cup on this rock face, and spend the rest of her life with that little mystery in the back of her mind.
Also, I smell Lone Ranger scene…
Trains no longer need a caboose and that’s sad. I always thought riding in the caboose would be a neat way to travel; you get to see where you’ve been while you’re going where you’re going.
i had one thought blasting through my head as i read this, i could not stop thinking: “OH CANADA!!!!”
Seems that Hunter is moving with a plan. The watch, the necklace, the flower all seem significant to him. He also really wanted a bath for whatever reason. The train must have the next piece of his puzzle. You ‘spose Vane knows what he’s after or is just chasing him?
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