Published in Ink Tales, White Cat Press, December 2013.
Ink tales was a comics anthology edited and published by Dale Maccanti, a good chum, and creator of the online comic, Peter Pumpkinhead. All stories had to involve tattoos in some way, so when he asked me if I was interested in doing a story for it, there was a challenge, since I have no tattoos and don't know much about the culture. Whilst I personally love really good body art, I don’t have any interest in getting myself inked.
I don’t normally have time to do these requests, especially if they are pro-bono, but I decided to expedite the art from a short section of what was then a graphic novel in progress, The Fight, set in Vietnam in 1970. It was a time when if you were a man, having a tattoo meant you were a sailor, gangster or a prisoner; if you were a woman, you could only be a prostitute. How far have things come! As you can tell, there is a very high level of detail in this and all of it requires research, right down to clothes, hairdos, jewellery, shoes, the drinks, glasses, magazines and so on. It was tougher trying to find out details about the structure of the 1st Australian Field Hospital.
As it happened, this story will no longer appear in that graphic novel, which now has the title, The Dust Of Life. It still has the same setting, but the art style has changed, relying less on the mind-boggling level of detail and toning I sometimes do, as have aspects of the characters, Andie and Coral, whom you will read in this story. So, it remains a stand alone story with character motivations that make a bit better sense in the context of the novel in which it was originally set, but not so much that it makes no sense.