A sequence of panels from RED NAILS, 1973

On occasion, I have been asked why my pen style in Red Nails changed so much over the course of the sixty-one-page story. Naturally, I have always lied. Or joked, as in the following excerpt from a 1998 interview with Jon Cooke of Comic Book Artist Magazine:

CBA: “Red Nails” is, in my opinion, your best work from that era. How long did it take you to complete that incredibly detailed work? Were you satisfied with the final production?

BWS: Oh, God! “Red Nails!” How many times can I use the word “nightmare” in one interview? I should grab a thesaurus right now, right? How long did it take? Oh, only forever. Detail —? What detail? There was detail in that thing? Where ’s my pills? Somebody get me a doctor.

 

No, I’m fine. It’s okay, I just need to breathe. S’okay. What was the question?

CBA: The second chapter showed a departure in your inking style from the delicate, finely rendered line to a more spotted, bold approach. Was this experimentation or demands of the deadline?

BWS: Deadline — ? There was a deadline? What do you mean “spotted?” Am I alright? Where’s my medicine?

The nearest I came to the truth was to concur that the work had suffered due to deadlines. But the fact is that deadlines were a walk in the park for one such as I, who created the Conan the Barbarian series, the most obsessively detailed monthly comic book the market had ever seen.