While I have mentioned Noir and Starman as primary influences of the first book of Walking Shadows, they aren't the only one. Far from it really. As the series continues, I cannot help but think my strongest influence is Jaime Hernandez’s Locas.
The series started way back in 1982 by one half of the anthology series Love & Rockets. Started by two brothers (with the help of a third) in Southern California, over the course of over thirty years, the project has grown to be one of the most critically acclaimed comic books in the history of ever. And rightfully so. Gilbert’s Palomar is multigenerational fiction at its finest while Jaime’s stories are more personal tales focused around the adventures and misadventures of five young women and their growing cast of friends and family. Each have been collected into a series of wonderful books. Locas opens with the collectiong Maggie the Mechanic before continuing in a series of four more trades. (Two subsequent trades continue the story but are not officially listed as part of the Locas arc.
Maggie and Hopey are the perennial leads of the stories, but are far from the only focal point characters. Still it is their relationship that forms the most compelling fiction. Maggie is in love with Hopey but in constant denial of just how much. Hopey is a soul astray, never able to remain faithful to anyone for too long. Often their tales seem to be the stories of one bad decision after another, always mixed with a bit of strangeness around it. Other characters come in and out of their lives, most notably Ray, Maggie's other love, but none really are able to find any lasting happiness. In the world of Locas, much like the real world often does, lasting happiness feels like an illusion or a dream.
Ghosts and demons exist in the world of Locas, though they rarely appear. Superheroes also abound and even star in their own comics within the comics, though they only recently made a major appearance in the follow up God & Science, the first post-Locas collection for Maggie. This creates a world that very much harkens to what I aim for in Walking Shadows, a story of real people in a world with super powers.
In the end, I doubt I will ever design a masterpiece even close to as impressive as Locas, but it doesn’t matter. Jaime’s work will always be amazing and I think its influence can only strengthen the compelling tale of my young “walking shadows”.