Between the Panels 2 : An Exciting Look Behind the Scenes at Four Fantastic New Graphic Novels
Have you ever asked yourself what goes on in comics between the panels and behind the scenes? Between the Panels 2 gives you an inside look at the making of four great new graphic novels: Broxo, by Zack Giallongo; Legends of Zita the Spacegirl, by Ben Hatke; Bloody Chester, by JT Petty and Hilary Florido, Sumo, by Thien Pham, and Sailor Twain, by Mark Siegel.
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July 09, 2012
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Excerpt from Between the Panels 2 by Zack Giallongo
BETWEEN THE PANELS 2 (Begin Reading)
Broxo hated the slagcat known as Gloth. He wasn't sure why, but the pit of his belly felt funny whenever Gloth was around. It wasn't fear of Gloth's tearing teeth or his curved claws; Migo had massive teeth and claws and Broxo loved Migo more than anything. But there was just this particular feeling in his belly that he couldn't quite explain. It wasn't like sick, or scared, and it certainly wasn't hungry. Broxo knew that feeling, all right, and it was that feeling that had gotten him into this whole mess.
Gloth's jaws opened and the goat's head slopped to the ground at Broxo's feet. Broxo looked down, anger welling up like water in a pitcher plant.
"Where is the rest?" Broxo snarled. Gloth slumped lazily to the rocks just above the young barbarian king's head.
"Sorry, boy. There just aren't as many goats around as there used to be."
"Muckface! So you eat this one and only throw Broxo its head?" Gloth began licking the blood from his paws, looking indifferent to the anger in Broxo's voice.
"There wasn't much left of that one when I killed it," Gloth replied coolly. "If you don't like the way I hunt, then find someone else to work with."
Broxo fumed. The other inhabitants of the mountain were precious few. Broxo already shared his home and what food he could with his protector, the great snowbeast Migo; and Migo already hunted more than anyone else. There was also the witch Ulith, who was strange, beautiful and very helpful to poor Broxo. But she was no hunter. In times like these, Broxo's deepest wish was for the return of his grandmother, but she had perished long ago and his distant memories of her wouldn't keep Broxo's belly full. Staring at Gloth, Broxo began to feel as though he was trapped in mud. His shoulders tightened and burned with frustration.
"What about the murrs?" Gloth finally asked. The slagcat's job was to hunt the goats that still roamed lands towards the north, past the old ruins where Broxo would never dare set foot for anything. The young barbarian's job was to hunt the murr birds and bring them in exchange for the hearty and greasy goat meat. He was good at it, and he never failed to bring at least one of the birds for Gloth. For a moment, Broxo was tempted to lie about his spoils and punish Gloth for not bringing him an entire goat. But he was bad at lying and even as his brain urged him to do it, his mouth instead told the truth. Broxo wished he were as good at lying as he was at catching murrs.
"Broxo caught two," he stated as he tossed them up onto the rocks by Gloth's feet. The animal's eyes glinted and he immediately choked them down, feathers and all. Broxo's nose wrinkled in disgust. Gloth's serpentine tongue curled around his muzzle, smacking at the remains of what used to be two very handsome fowl. Then his large, pointed ears suddenly swiveled and he looked up as a massive, shaggy white form shambled up behind Broxo. Broxo was always a little jealous of the creatures who could hear or smell things just a moment before he could.
Migo bent his giant white head down and sniffed the bloodied goat head at Broxo's feet. He snorted and looked at his adopted cub. Broxo rolled his eyes and waved his hand dismissively. "It's yours. Eat it." Migo complied.
"I really am sorry," Gloth said a little nervously as he rose to his feet. Gloth was big, but Migo was bigger. "I'll have more goats for you next time, I promise. It's not right for me to have eaten so wonderfully and for you to go hungry. You'll give me another chance, won't you?" Broxo nodded slowly, gazing at the ground. Gloth began to leave, then turned back.
"I almost forgot! There is something I wanted to ask of the Great King Broxo."
"What?" Broxo's brow furrowed.
"The murr are absolutely delicious. But is there any way you could find the time to also catch a fish or two? I know how good you are at it, and if you do, I promise to bring you three goats next time! I'm sure I can do that by the next full moon!" Migo snorted and rumbled low in his throat. Broxo's eyebrow shot up.
"Yes! Absolutely! I just need a little extra time, but I know I can do that for you." Gloth showed his crooked teeth in a dubious attempt at a smile.
"Fine," Broxo sighed.
Gloth bowed his head deeply. "I am so glad I can help you like this. We're in this together, boy. Thank you!" With that, Gloth bounded off continuing to lick his lips. Broxo was still hungry.
The next morning, Broxo decided to visit Ulith. Climbing up to the witch's keep, Broxo rehearsed how he would ask her for help. He was just so sick and tired of eating the small, gamey hissers - lizards whose heads he crushed in order to kill them. "Broxo would like to do that to Gloth," he muttered to himself.
He was surprised, but also relieved when he didn't need to ask Ulith for food at all. She had already gleaned his purpose for being there and wasn't nearly as annoyed as he feared she'd be. She handed him a few of the red roots she grew nearby. Broxo twas beginning to think that learning how to grow things might be a good skill for him and his belly to have. "Oh, Broxo," her keen eyes washed over his body and, it felt, through his soul. "You know I don't mind sharing with you anything you need. Anything at all. But we must keep things fair between us or else the balance will be lost, no?"
"No. Yes? Er..." Broxo swallowed hard. Ulith's tongue was much better at words than his was.
"In exchange," she continued smoothly, "I need you to go south to the mudpits and fetch me some of the welb roots there. You may keep one for yourself. They ward off demons and bad spirits." Ulith turned away and began to fuss with a few of the bowls and odd trinkets she kept lying about. Broxo nodded. At least the errand would keep his mind off his belly for a few hours.
"Good luck," Ulith said with a smile as he left. Needless to say, Ulith also gave Broxo odd feelings, though not quite the same feelings as Gloth did. They confused him and, at the end of the day, he kind of wanted to just punch her in the nose.
The sky over Peryton Peak was always hazy, but the clouds were particularly heavy above the mudpits. Rain was coming and Broxo didn't feel like getting caught in it. At least Migo was nearby for him to ride should they need to dash home. His fingers pierced the soft ground and he carefully unearthed the twisted, spherical welb roots.
"Broxo, King of All-Mountain, is sorry that his must dig you up for the great and wise Ulith." He placed each bulb gingerly into his fur sack. Just then, he heard an odd noise far off. It could very well have just been Migo, but the young barbarian instinctively fell silent and still, save for his hand sliding over to the hilt of his sword. Slowly, he rose to his feet.
The mudpits were a low area on the mountain and there was not much to hide behind. The fog was rolling in all around him and Broxo cocked his head, hoping his ears could cut into the silence. His head snapped quickly as he heard the noise again - a faint, cold bleat.
Broxo drew his sword and waded into the fog, his feet squishing in the mud. The sound, though still weak, was becoming more audible. He looked down and saw familiar, cloven tracks dotting the land around him, first in haphazard directions, but then slowly convening into one large mass of hoof prints. His heart swelled at the thought of stumbling on a herd of goats and not needing that muckface Gloth anymore. Broxo knew it was foolish to run off blindly without Migo, but all the same he quickened his pace and followed the evidence of his quarry into the thick mist.
The fog thickened until Broxo could hardly see his own feet, but the bleating and shuffling told him he was nearing his prize. All at once, the ground before him dropped sharply and the prints he had be tracking lead down into a large, craggy pit. Broxo dropped to the ground and peered over the edge.
There were goats, all right. At least a dozen. But they were crammed on top of one another: weak, thin and sick. One was bleating, hoarse and raspy. Another was weakly trying to climb the walls of its stony prison, but its hooves just slid back down the rocks knocking the pathetic creature onto its back. It lay there for a minute before shuddering to its feet. The goats had clearly been there for some time and had mostly given up on trying to escape.