Hellion For Hire: Tour of Duty: The Color of War

Hellion For Hire: The Color of War

The sixth and final issue of Sgt. Rock – The Lost Battalion hits the bookstores this week. If you’ve been following my “Hellion For Hire – Tour of Duty” columns here on Newsarama you can imagine my mixed emotions at the thought. On one hand, I’m incredibly saddened that it’s well, “over”, and must admit that I got very emotional when I penciled the last panel of the last page. I wrote in last week’s Hellion that this book has been a dream assignment for me and one I’ll never forget. I’ll elaborate and recap this amazing “Tour of Duty” in full in next and the following week’s articles.

On the other hand, however, I say without any bravado that I am very proud of the final product. Everyone involved has worked extremely hard on the series and I think it shows. That said, I cannot think of any group that has given as much of themselves to the project than the folks at Hi-Fi design. Led by Brian and Kristy Miller, the colorists and effects artists at Hi-Fi have really gone above and beyond the call of duty for Sgt. Rock. Again and again they’ve tweaked and re-colored panels and pages as per my annoyingly obsessive notes, without any fuss at all. Brian and I have had long conversations on not only how to obtain a certain “look”, for Rock but more importantly, the right “feel” and I think they’ve nailed it. Together we’ve (well, really them, I was just a pain in the ass), experimented right up until the very end with various color pallets and ranges to obtain a look reminiscent of old WW2-era color documentaries. They’ve put Easy Company through mortar attacks, bitter cold, freezing rain, snow and mountains of mud and blood. They’ve showcased and highlighted every weapon, shell casing, tank tread, leaf, twig and splintered tree-branch. But more importantly, they’ve individualized every soldier – no easy feat when the whole point of the US Army in WW2 was that everyone looked the same! Again, it’s in the details -- the various expressions, kit and yes -- wounds that all meld together to make a very realistic personal portrait of the American (and German) dogface. It’s been a great partnership as this series was more than just an assignment for us all – and I think we (as did each issue) evolved organically, producing a final product that is original and like nothing else on the stands today. For that I am eternally grateful!

I’d also like to give a special nod to Hi-Fi colorist Bill Farmer. Coincidently, Bill’s wife' Davi-Ann’s grandfather, S/Sgt. Harry H. Nakashima was a member of Company L of the 442nd Combat Team to took part in the relief of the Lost Battalion. Sadly Mr. Nakashima has passed on but he is respectfully buried a few steps away from the wonderful Nisei Memorial at the Fairmount Cemetery, in Denver, Colorado. There were many such “coincidences” in regards to Sgt. Rock – The Lost Battalion, and I just want to thank Bill for all the heart, soul and dedication he put into his pages as well.

A preview of Sgt. Rock – The Lost Battalion #6 is currently up on Newsarma, but I’d also like to show some “details” of certain Sgt. Rock panels (past and present) so people to take a second to really study the amazing detail and professionalism that has become synonymous with Hi-Fi coloring. Colorists and effects artists are too often overlooked -- and to me, each Hi-Fi panel could be a cover on its own. Their passion to make this series as illustrative as possible is, just like their work – astonishing. I want to thank you Brian, Kristy, Bill and everyone else at Hi-Fi from the bottom of my heart – you really made the series the success it is!

And of course… let us not forget just what we’re fighting for – Jessi Teich!

This past weekend I had the pleasure being a guest at the Wizard World Philadelphia show – it was a tremendous experience. The convention was run with a cool, friendly professionalism that made for one very enjoyable weekend. It was great seeing old friends and many, many new readers – yet another wonderful perk for having done Sgt. Rock!

I signed all weekend with great folks at Fantastic Realm and we were incredibly busy from the moment the show began Friday morning to its closing Sunday evening, and man does my shoulder hurt from signing all the books and lithographs – but I sure ain’t complaining! Fantastic Realm also unveiled their exclusive Clay Moore statue of Zenescope’s Calie Liddle from Zenescope’s terrific “Wonderland” trilogy based on my cover. And we were all lucky enough when “Calie” herself, the lovely Jessi Teich showed up at the booth for a time to pose next to her “Liddle” self – photo courtesy of Solof.

Thank you Jessi, I can’t wait to work with you on another cover!

So have a great week, please pick up Sgt. Rock – The Lost Battalion – Day Six and let me know what you thought of it.

I’ll see you next week!

Nous restons ici and sieg um jeden preis!

Billy Tucci

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