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Friday, September 23, 2005

Comics, huh? A chance to get some of those beloved projects going, the ones that are a wee bit ambitious for Canadian TV budgets, the ones that depend sooo much on the visuals ...

... a chance to fall into yet another medium which requires a huge learning curve. An ooooh so tempting medium. That I'm not really in the mainstream of, 'cause I don't really get Watchmen or Cerebus, only the stuff non-comics fans like, such as Sandman. So that's one strike against me right there.

And one which would require hiring artists, which in turn probably means hiring staff... and it would be tempting to have staff ...

... and it does seem like an awfully good way to get Unseen done ...

Fortunately all I'm doing right now is researching the possibilities. I'm just looking out over the ocean. Not, actually, renting a boat. Or buying a bathing suit. Or dipping my toes in the water ...

Some kind people have sent useful information my way. For the sort of thing I'm thinking of, Image Comics seems to be the way to go. They'll publish your comic for a fee, and it's up to you to put the comic together and market it. You keep the creative rights.

(Hmmm ... the Canada Council for the Arts funds graphic novels...)

3 Comments:

I entered the comics arena recently and I've had some difficulty making the transition from speculative fiction. Aside from general newbie mistakes, I'm also discovering that techniques that work well in one medium quite often fall flat in the other.

I think you would find the transition less problematic since both comics and screenwriting have a visual element to the story telling. You should give it a shot.

By Blogger Michael Alan Nelson, at 5:33 PM  

Heres a good article Alex (and anyone else looking to comics) : http://www.sequentialtart.com/archive/oct02/rdm_1002.shtml

Thanks to Neil Kleid for the link :)

By Blogger Jason Sanders, at 7:12 PM  

I've been asked to elaborate on my newbie mistakes and flat-falling techniques. So no laughing.

One of the main problems I had moving from writing prose to writing comic books was the limited space for my actual words. Since I'm quite fond of the sound of my own keyboard, I tend to dole out lengthy slabs of dripping prose. That works sometimes with standard fiction, but with comics there is only so much room to put text.

My first published graphic story was only 8 pages. When I first turned it in, half those pages were filled with dialogue so dense there would have been no room for the art. So my editor kicked it back and said "Cut." So I was forced to find the most economical way of saying what needed to be said, yet write it in a way that made it enjoyable for the reader. Needless to say, it was a painful learning experience.

In my second published graphic story, I had the same problem. Only this time it was with the art. I had too much information that needed to be crammed into two pages. And since I didn't have much experience with panel layout and writing a visual narrative, the artist had to struggle to get the story across effectively. He did a great job, but I'm sure he cursed my name several times during the process.

One thing I like to do in my prose is lay a little bit of pipe in the periphery. Just subtle things that happen off to the side that help establish the characters and their world without hitting the reader over the head with it. This can be done in comics too, but I just don't have that skill set yet to pull it off effectively.

It's all taken a little bit of adjusting. And moving back and forth between comics and prose can be especially draining. But I really enjoy the medium of comics. It opens up a way of story telling that I never had before.

Alex, you may also want to investigate some smaller publishers as well as Image. You might be able to get a book made without much, if any, money from your own pocket. You probably wouldn't have the name recognition that comes with Image(and the subsequent selling power), but it still could be beneficial. I'm published through a small publisher (BOOM! STUDIOS--sorry, had to plug)and even though they don't have the biggest name out there, they're known for quality comics. Just something for you to think about.

By Blogger Michael Alan Nelson, at 11:32 PM  

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