Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Another Comic Project

Did I post this before? I don't think so....

A few years ago I came up with a story for a graphic novel that I loved. I wrote everything up in text form, but just haven't gotten started on it yet. Might get to it once I finish my Gorgon 2.0 and the next Monsters & Dames submission. I'm calling it "Handy's Ferry." The climax is set in New Orleans.

Trouble is, the way I originally came up with the story, myself and the other three members of my high school band are the "protagonists." (This sounds horrible, unimaginative, and self-indulgent, but it isn't--it's not about us, it's just that we are a good set of four disparate characters with a way of interacting that I understand and can exploit in a fictional setting.)

The four of us still keep in touch (a very good thing), (usually thru endless email chains) day one of us was feeling a little down, so I inked this sketch for the book and shared it, hoping to give him a laugh. But also, y'know, hoping to get some excitement fer the project, which I've talked about for a while now. My depressed friend got a mild chuckle...but everyone else hated it. And I've been soured on the project ever since.

Maybe you guys can comment and let me know what you don't like. I haven't finished "coloring" the page--I know I need more going on behind them. I'm trying to keep the style more "straight." And seriously--there's no way I can do an entire story trying to draw "myself." So the character designs have to change. Not that it looks much like me here!

p.s. one of the funny reasons people hated it: I was the only one in pants (?!?)


MrGoodson2 said...

Love the drawing. A comic book filled with that much personality per sketch would fly off the shelf. I always look at them as large as they will view. Always amazing whatever size they appear.

Looks like a band with a lot of personality. You should do at least one youtube music video.

I'll shoot it with my new vado

There are no rules on what you do to make a strip. The Disney books like Where Is Dead Zero. Everything from the sketchiest to cut out paper looks.

This guy came up in the Okla Comics Group. I really like it being all quick direct pencil. Unfortunate that it gets weirdly distracting with explicit sex, but still manages to impress

Tumblr pencil strip

The deal about explicit sex. It's distracting. And the story reader, is brought into the realm of their
libido. They aren't using their story following capacity as much. And they also are primed. Wondering, when's the next sex moment.

Tom Moon said...

Tell us more about why they hated it. Was it just that one picture they hated, or did you show them the script and they hated the whole concept/story? I love the drawing! But it doesn't really offer me enough clues to comment on the concept as a whole. Are you willing to post the script for us?

Davis Chino said...

Thanks fer the encouraging words, TAG brothers.

They didn't like the way they were depicted. Didn't like the "wardrobes" (although all based in fact), and were not swayed to support the image based on either the execution, or any group "chemistry" I tried to get into the picture, or the story outline I'd shared (which included some funny tidbits--fer instance: notice the photographer's shoes: comic contains a small aside where at the moment the story takes place, a skateboard company has caused a small market sensation by creating a thick-soled skater reinterpretation of the classic 50's "saddle shoe," and our photog/guitarist gets a pair, to much general comment).

My friends didn't voice objections to the story, per se, but I took it they were uneasy about entrusting me with their image/identities, fictional or non.

Given the universal raves "The Teen Ellis" has received, I can't understand their fears!

Rickart said...

I get a little bit of a Harvey Pekar slice-of-real-life vibe from this, which is GOOD. Hard to address what your friends might not like about the idea, but I think it's an excelent idea.
BTW Marty, there's a guy named Paul who you met briefly at ECCC... he's a TAG guy and he and I were talking about your work last night (at a displaced TAG meeting). He wants your email address so he can nag you about submitting to Mad Magazine.

Rickart said...

Whoops... simultanious comments!

Davis Chino said...

@Rick: cool! Share away with the eddress (remember when that was a word?).

Mad Magazine...well, t'would be GREAT to be working for that $$ and that hi-profile a gig, but I worry I've got to get a stronger/broader portfolio first...Here's hoping, tho'!

And thanks for the encouraging words. They're much needed!

Davis Chino said...

BTW, Blair has a theory about the rejection of this image by those whom it depicts: I did too good a job capturing their personalities.

I like that theory!

MrGoodson2 said...

Teen Ellis is hungry for glory.

I understand from these guys perspective. They don't want one sided views of their peccadilloes published with any chance of large readership.

But you writing something that makes use of your ability to do hybrid characters, jumps off of characters that you know, that's what writers do.

Writers have always dealt with that post publication encounter where someone asks " Was that supposed to be me?"

Feel free to stick with The Teen Ellis.

I'm reading James Elmore's LA Confidential. He has a made up, transparently obvious who it is, Walt Disney in it

Tom Moon said...

Well if that's why they didn't like the drawing I think you can safely ignore their negative reaction. A lot of times people can't be objective about seeing themselves depicted, so for that reason alone, it's usually best to fictionalize people's identities anyway.

Another good reason is that it forces you to be more objective and analytical. You have to ask, "Is this really going to be funny/sad/interesting to an audience that doesn't know me or my friends?"

Since you've left most of the word balloons blank, I can't say anything about the group chemistry you've got going. Have you just not lettered them in yet, or are they just blank placeholders right now?

Tom Moon said...

I like that comic artist Sam Alden, Ellis. He's a great artist and has a very original storytelling vision. I liked his Worm Troll story, and I want to read more when I get a chance. Now the "Household" story, is that meant to be just a first draft, or is he presenting us with the final product? It displays a very cool sensibility, but it seems to meander and jump around a bit at this point. I'm not always sure who is who, and if we are looking at a flashback sometimes or what.

Davis Chino said...

Thanks El!

Tommy, word balloons are blank because I haven't done the dialogue yet--this was just an experimental sketch in search for my "look" and what the character models could be.

I wrote the whole book out not as a script but as a terse story--something more fleshed out than a synopsis, with lots of dialogue included. But mainly just plot, pacing, and setting. In my nascent (hopefully not stillborn) comic career, I've found I need elbow room when it comes to putting the story into graphic form. Don't know at this point if I could write out a script panel-for-panel, line-for-line and then illustrate it to plan (seems a kinda dead process to me--too assembly-line).

Sometimes I like putting the balloons in before I have the dialogue--mainly 'cuz it's the best editing tool! I run out of room in my word-balloons all the time. This almost always makes the dialogue/descriptions better. Forced brevity.

To my eye, if a lot of words begin crowding the page, I find I start "reading" the comic like a book, and the word/image poetry gets lost. (Lots of contemporary comics strike me this way--"overwritten"--but then, so do a lot of the old E.C. comics--they really feel like scripts that are written and then shipped off to be illustrated, as opposed to organically developed together...which I guess is the big argument for a single writer/artist, huh?)

p.s. re: dialogue itself, I'm a big believer in filling it in slowly, constantly refining. While I work up the art, I read everything out loud in the voices of the characters over and over. Do you guys do this? It makes a huge difference--out loud you hear what needs cutting. Eventually it sounds "right." But it always takes more pruning than I expect.

Davis Chino said...

BTW, I really like the "Laff-In" effect of seeing our avatars stacked down the side of the page. Me looking up at Tom, Tom snarling down, Batman Ellis looking over, Jimmy grinning as it all goes on behind his back, and a giant Surly Bird peeking in (not to mention Tom Carrol as super-patriot Gun-Nose saluting in the distance).

Rick, we need a "head" fer you!

MrGoodson2 said...

Laugh In effect. I like that.