There Be Dragons…

This continuing excerpt shares behind the scenes material from NBM’s The Mercenary remastered editions.  To see all posts, click HERE.

As to story I could tell in those few sample pages, it occurred to me to do an aerial combat in World War II style, but with dragons ridden by medieval warriors and the rescue of a girl who, of course, would have to be nude. The protagonist would be the knight-rescuer and the setting would be any invented building, trying my hand at my reserve of fantasy.

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In fact, this was not the first time that I did a sample to get work; a rejection was something that only affected me for a few hours. What I didn’t imagine was that this simple story would go on for so long…

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One of the issues that I had at the beginning was how to deal with saddles. In all the iconography about the topic, it was common to see dragons with four legs and two wings.

I had even painted covers with flying dragons in which I had given them this configuration. But I was never comfortable with it. It was not logical, mainly because there was an evident basic structural failure. Even accepting the wide margins allowed by fantasy and admitting that nature has done stranger things, I thought that with this solution we were creating an animal that was absurd to a certain point, because any being with wings on its back, whether reptile, human, or angel, needs very marked musculature to move them, an issue that is always avoided.

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So it seemed more logical to use the solution adopted by nature where the front feet of primitive flying reptiles were sacrificed, transforming them into the bird wings that we are all familiar with.

m6For the first flying dragon that the Mercenary rides, I was inspired by the head of a tuatara lizard, a species dating back to much earlier than dinosaurs and the only one that has survived to modern times. It is said, as well, that they can live up to 100 years.

These exceptional characteristics were what led me to use it as a flying dragon in my samples.

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Author: Vicente Segrelles

Vicente Segrelles is a world bestselling comics painter and author of The Mercenary series which revolutionized comics with its fully realistic oil painted art starting in 1982. He came from the world of illustration, doing covers for books in the fantasy genre and illustrated books for children. But it is his Mercenary which he is most famous for, selling in the millions of copies in many languages worldwide.

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