The three princes referred to in the title of my crime comic are Grady, Doherty and Michael, three twelve year-old boys growing up tough in 1920s America. They are the centre of the story so one of the first things Manoel Magalhães tackled was their look.
We first meet the boys on page 3, panel 1. They are described in my script as follows:
MICHAEL, GRADY and DOHERTY are (see photo references) leaning casually against a brick wall. Michael has his back against the wall, thumbs hooked in his pants pockets, a smoke hanging from his lips, doing his best to look tough and succeeding. Grady is in a similar pose, but his arms folded. He too is smoking. Doherty is next, shoulders slumped and his eyes downcast, nowhere near as tough looking as his two friends.
The photo I am referring to is one I found on http://www.shorpy.com/, an excellent Web site filled with stunning high definition photos from the early 20th century. The Web site would provide me with a number of excellent photo references for life in the 1920s. Here is the photo I provided to Manoel as a reference for my three princes…
This picture is of three newsboys from 1910. I loved the rough and tumble look of these boys, youngsters who were working long and hard hours, out on the streets, busting their ass and making no apologies. I also loved the look of them smoking cigarettes, the cut of their clothes, but most of all the look in their eyes. Lastly, the fact that the middle boy has his arm around the boy on the right made me feel these three boys were tight friends, the kind of guys that would do anything for each other. They were the inspiration for my three princes.
Working from my script and using the photo as a reference, here is what Manoel sent me as a first draft of page 3, panel 1. (Please note, this panel has been cropped.)
Manoel had the look and feel of the boys right. I was immediately fond of Michael on the left and Grady in the middle. I felt though that Doherty on the right and Michael had too many similar characteristics. I felt their hair and hats in particular were similar. I asked Manoel to take another crack at Doherty and here was the result:
The hat didn’t change but Manoel tried something different with Doherty’s hair. I was still wary and thought we had better try something more drastic. I suggested to Manoel that Doherty would never wear a hat and that he would have shorter hair than the other boys. Manoel was quick to reply with the following:
Bingo. This spoke to me. Here were my three princes.
A few days ago, Manoel started inking some of the pages I’d approved to date. Page 3 was one of them. Here then is your first look at Grady, Michael and Doherty in their finished form. Folks, say hello to The Three Princes: