The Hidden Legions (THL) is a 36-page “Limited Edition” one-shot comic, written and illustrated by yours truly, David Patton. THL is a physical 5″x5″ print version of the original webcomic by MoonBlimp. Because of its celebrity status as the first project, only 50 of these signed editions will be available outside of mass press runs.
THL takes place during WWI and is the opening story of the main character Collete. THL is interesting not just because of the fictional story itself but in the non-fiction associated with its creation. One would-be artist’s journey from not knowing anything to kind of knowing something. The webcomic was initially intended to stand alone and has sat dormant since 2018, but now we are saying why not? Why not release this to the world. Trust me; there are many reasons.
There is no way to say this other than to come right out and say it. This comic isn’t the best technically, artistically, or by any other accepted measure of what is or isn’t good. When I decided that I wanted to explore comics as a storytelling medium, I knew basically nothing about it. I had to begin as most do using nothing but my experience as a reader, Google, and some instructional videos. As someone with a creative career foundation before jumping into comics, I came with the correct growth mindset. Part of that growth mindset was knowing that if I was going to grow, get feedback, and ultimately get better, I would have to be vulnerable.
To that end, The Hidden Legion (THL) was originally released between December 2016 and August 2018 on Instagram. That’s right. I put it right out there. You can think of THL as a webcomic of sorts. I tried to get one out as often as I could as I learned and struggled to communicate with the pen. However, from the very first frame (Somewhere in Paris), I realized I was in over my head. I had the will, but I didn’t have the skill or even enough knowledge to fully comprehend what I didn’t know.
So I worked and studied hard, all while continuing to make errors. But I didn’t stop to correct them. Instead, I kept pressing the story forward. Artist friends all told me this was the right of passage. The journey of self-discovery and finding your style, and I do have to agree with that. The proportional errors, the shoddy line work, the horrid framing, rough and laughable dialog are all necessary to learn and presented in their pure and unedited form.
As for the story, I initially picked this as somewhat disposable. What I mean is, I like period pieces, and you will see that throughout my catalog. However, I assumed (and still do) that the whole Uber-Soldat, Fascist evil doctor trope had been done so many ways that no one would care if this didn’t go anywhere. In other words, a perfect throw-away story while I figure out if I can do this medium or not. But then something happened. I really ended up loving this character Collete and her story. Much of which I should mention, you will learn nothing about in the following pages. That said, I have plans for Collete and her companion Eli that extend into other future projects. So the partial story here will serve as a fun easter egg for those “in the know” when the more fabulous adventures of THL are finally released.
If you decide to read this story, I know you’ll have many questions. That’s understandable. Why is that guy running around trying to inject people? What is La Societe? Why is Eli’s Springfield called Agnes, and what’s up with Collete’s crazy rifle? Two additional frames remain unfinished of this original work. However, those won’t help to answer these and the many other questions I’m sure you’ll have. I’m saving those answers for a future book when THL returns to properly tell the story of Collete.
There is much to unpack, but I will answer one of those questions. Collete’s rifle is a modified version of the Model 1888 commission rifle, also known as the Gewehr 88. There are a few reasons she uses that rifle, including the axe-style bayonet attachment.
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