This is what happens after the NHL lockout when you are a Sergio Leone fan.

Specifically, Once Upon a Time in the West, which every fan of film needs to watch. This comic is a sequel, of sorts, to my first comic about the 2012-2013 NHL Lockout, called Another NHL Lockout. That first NHL lockout comic featured some crazy visuals, so I decided to keep that going for the sequel.

I am still upset the NHL lockout happened (as I wrote for The Idler, I am ‘an NHL addict‘), but I am glad a full season was not lost. I will confess I am enjoying the crazy, shortened season the NHL lockout caused. The 48 game season makes a strong argument for a shorter regular season–every game matters. I’m in favor of a shorter regular season to begin with, and I agree with Jeff Marek’s opinion (of the Marek vs. Wyshynski podcast) that the NHL needs to ‘get the game out of June.’

Do I think a shorter regular season will happen? No. I don’t see any of the owners wanting to cut their home game ticket sales in half, even if it might help spark more interest in the game here in the States. The NHL is a business, which there was an NHL lockout in the first place (as well as the two previous lockouts).

But, at least this NHL lockout inspired me to write some hockey humor (What an NHL Fan Can Do During the Lockout, Survive the NHL Lockout With These Forgotten Hockey Video Games, and Missing the Winter Classic?: 10 Ways NHL Fans Can Spend New Year’s Day Instead)

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Yes, I’m wearing a torn ALF shirt in the second panel.

Once Upon a Time in the West is one of my all-time favorite films. It is gorgeous. The ‘blurry person walking’ shot I have in panels four and six is right out of the film.

frank blurry

Love it. Image © Paramount Pictures.

This whole comic required plenty of work in Photoshop, but I’m glad I put in the extra effort. I took the easy route for the halftone effect, and just used the Color Halftone filter. I know that isn’t the preferred way, but I figured I should try it at least once. Blurring the NHL figure took some work too, but I’m happy with the final look.

Even before I started drawing the comic, I knew I wanted a ‘widescreen’ look for the panels. The ratio of Once Upon a Time in the West (which I consider a widescreen masterpiece) is 2.35:1. I’m a widescreen geek and 2.35:1 is my favorite aspect ratio (who says stuff like that?). So, I whipped up a few templates to trace for my panels and boom–2.35:1 comic panels (give or take).

I had to re-learn how to color a comic in Photoshop, even though I used grayscale. Years ago, I had a short lived colored comic, but I enjoy working in black and white (at leas for now). I may keep using the halftone effect, as I like how it cause the characters to stick out more.

Amusingly enough, the inspiration for this comic came to me while I was attending an MSU hockey game. Good thing I had my trusty notebook with me. I’m sure I caught a bunch of strange looks as I drew thumbnail panels during the game, but I don’t care: drawers gotta draw.

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Daniel J. Hogan
is a geek living in Michigan.
Follow him on Twitter, @danieljhogan. Follow Clattertron on Facebook too.