Illustrator and comic artist Matt Taylor shared with his Instagram followers a sneak preview of what was, at the time, a soon-to-be-revealed Star Wars project. The glimpse was that of a yellow lightsaber. Not long after, the official Star Wars site revealed the cover of the highly anticipated novel Star Wars: Dark Disciple. Unveiled at San Diego Comic-Con 2014, the novel is based on the unfinished scripts of the Emmy Award winning animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars that continued the stories of Asajj Ventress and Quinlan Vos.
Without a doubt, Matt Taylor’s style is both striking and exceptional, perfectly capturing the rawness and rough-around-the-edge vibe previously exhibited by both characters in the past.
If you browse through Taylor’s collection of work, each piece moves and captures you.
“Cowboys, skulls, Americana and Native American influences, comic books, bicycles,” he answered, when asked to describe his style of illustration during an interview with The Artfuls before moving on to explain his design process. “Client work will always start with the brief. I’ll go away and do some research: read through some books and surf the web looking for images that get my brain ticking. Then I’ll sketch down a few ideas refining as I go along until something has that ‘it’ factor that just looks right.”
The Dark Disciple cover, without question, has the ‘it’ factor Taylor strives to achieve.
The detail that stands out the most is the facial highlight. Both characters have distinct facial tattoos that express who they are (for Vos, it’s a Kiffar tradition, according to Legends) or what they have gone through (for Ventress, she got them after losing her way with the Jedi).
The red background is just as impactful as the red sun (presumably Pantora’s sun, as explained in a previous post about Dark Disciple‘s setting) in Dave Filoni’s sketch of the two characters. Does the color spell out passion, death, or both? Ventress’ fate, in particular, is the one that most fans fret about, since she’s a strongly written and complex female character–a rare find in the canon universe. It’s worrisome to think that this could be an end for her brilliant character development–or worse, that she would be the source of Quinlan Vos’ ‘manpain’.
What is manpain? Male characters who suffer from manpain have three main characteristics, one of which is “the man’s suffering is often created or contributed to by exploiting the death of a female or child character, or a trauma experienced by a female or child character.”
Manpain is done to excess, usually at the expense of other characters, and that’s the main reason why it’s bad. It’s also bad because it’s sometimes used as a shortcut to make the character more sympathetic, and it’s frequently used to justify the character doing horrible things.
So, it’s not that male characters can’t be allowed to feel pain, it’s just that it needs to be handled realistically and not be at the expense of others. (Source)
Though the cover is exquisitely done and Matt Taylor did an astonishing job at giving readers something fresh and bold, it has dark and brooding elements that continue to cause distress and concern in the fan community.
Star Wars: Dark Disciple will debut on July 7, 2015.
To read the rest of Matt Taylor’s interview, visit The Artfuls.
To see Ventress and Vos’ clothes in greater detail, visit the Dark Disciple concept art gallery at StarWars.com.
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