also by the MotA team
  • >Golden Dames Project
  • Red Nebula Studios
  • Lovefeast
Commission Keith W!

A Certain Point of View


Mysteries of the Arcana has two main characters: Chrystalline and Theresa. Only one of them, however, serves as the point of view character. Theresa. She serves as the reader's conduit into the way the universe works. As she learns, the reader learns.

Using an inexperienced character as a way of introducing an entire fictional world is an old and established practice. Luke Skywalker started off as a farm kid with big dreams. He needed Ben to explain what the Force was to him and, by happy coincidence, we got to learn at the same time. Dante starts off knowing nothing about heaven or hell. Each step of the way he learns something about the afterworld and, as a result, we do, too.

It is no coincidence that Harry Potter started off as a kid in a mundane household, either.

Chapter 1 of Mysteries of the Arcana stayed focused on Theresa. While readers weren't looking through her eyes they did stay by her side pretty much every step of the way. Even those moments where we cut away from her direct presence, her thoughts were always focused on whatever was in the relevant panel.

You might be wondering what all this has to do with today's page. I wanted to give some context into how Keith and I set up these panels. In the first two panels, Theresa's focused on the horror of seeing someone's face in the slime she just puked up. Her entire world has collapsed into a bubble that's just her and the offending puddle of goo. To help enforce that idea thematically, we included Chrys's voice but not her physical presence in the first panel and only the part of Chrys that became immediately obvious to Theresa (her hand) in the second. It isn't until the third panel that we see Chrys's face. By that point in time, Theresa's attention has snapped back to the present and what's around her.

I hope this helps you understand our creative process a little more. Keith and I put a lot of thought into each panel. It isn't just about the speech bubbles or the facial expressions. We're trying to tell the story with the whole of the comic page.