Friday, 30 October 2015

sequential art storytelling

Why not give myself another pipe dream to wrangle with.

You know me. Blogger, Poet, Experimental Music Artist, Author...

and plenty more besides.

So why not add another string to my bow.

Why not stop telling myself that I'd love to write a comic book and actually get round to writing one...

And so the thought process behind my little venture for October started a little like that and ended up with my rough doodlings of a man-beast battling with stick figures across a plotted out 11 page story.

Like many people before I had wanted to run before I could walk, I've had an idea for a D-list DC universe character for a while, so long that I don't actually believe he even exists in the current New 52 DCU, it is a story than spans life, death and superheriocs. DC are the comics I've loved to read and are the ones I'd love to write... But I've never written a comic before!


Instead of diving feet first into my ambitious project only to find that it may forever be beyond my reach I chose to cut my teeth on something simpler...

Create a hero, 50s style.

Hero. Bad guys. Fighting. Other stuff... The end.

A real rush job, tell a tale, have a ludicrously dressed assailant fighting crime and wrap it up quickly. How hard could it possibly be...

Thankfully the seeds for my ridiculous hero came to me before I tried to put pen to paper, I wasn't looking for perfection, I was simply looking for fun... I imagined him to be a character designed in the boom of superhero creation, a simple time wasting wonder that would be thrown together in order to fill space in a cheaply printed strip, never knowing if people will care to read it or ever see more of your champion.



I've grown on writers that have pushed boundaries and one day wish to emulate the Grant Morrisons, Neil Gaimans and Allan Moores of this world. But not right now.

I grabbed some blank sheets of paper, folded them in half and wrote down what I thought would be the main beats of each page. Ten minute job. But the scripting and panelling became a far longer process, trying hard but trying not to try too hard, trying to keep it simple but to understand the pace of my story and how I expected it to progress.

Each page probably took me between 45 minutes and an hour as I deliberated over panels and speech bubbles, how many punches to be thrown and how many generic gangsters should enter the fray.

I toiled with ideas for supporting cast and plot, fearing it would be too derivative or seen as a mere copycat of other heroic tropes... But then again my agenda was based on the works of an era when heroes looked alike, with publishers keen to emulate the sudden popularity of a super-so-and-so, and so I steamed ahead with my story of cops and robbers and a mysterious figure fighting for right.

And so this is the story of how I became a nearly-but-not-quite comic writer, with one original creation under my belt and a rather fun draft of thumbnail pages to my name. I'd like to see my character fully embellished, with an actual artist giving life to my stick figures in fedoras.

I've already got plans for his teenage side-kick, his arch-nemesis and a handful of spin-off titles, they remain unwritten as yet, but it should be enough to keep a movie franchise going for several years at least.


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