This is mostly a blog post just for me. To be totally honest.
Let’s put Kid Riot aside for a minute, because poor guy is running through so many titles right now, I don’t know how his legs stay attached. I know my Eisners are all imaginary and in my head right now, but I’ve learned a lot working on this book. A LOT A LOT about craft, form, and I think, especially because I don’t have the reality of corporate editors knocking on my door, I can be helpful to some of you getting started.
SO YOU WANNA WRITE A COMIC.
Great! You’ve got an idea. “Junior Firefighter finds out he’s flame-retardant and can control smoke with his mind.” Great. Legit great. That’s a concept.
First off. Accept you’re not going to make any money for a while. That’s fiction. Get used to it. You’re not seeing returns for a while. You gotta love writing to stick it out. That’s just all there is to it.
Second, there’s medium to consider. Now, this isn’t a popular topic, to be honest. Ideas and thoughts really differ on this one. Many people believe any story can be told anyway. I’m more of the mindset some stories fit some mediums better than others. Can your story be told through visuals? How much dialogue will it take to get your point across? Does your story lend itself to strong visuals that can carry the eye? If your answers were “yes,” “some,” and “yes,” well, then, great, you may have a comic! If you need a lot of dialogue and aren’t Brian Bendis, you probably have prose. If you have NO dialogue, you’re a Mel Gibson movie.
Okay. Got those two down? Next thing.
DRAWING SAID COMIC.
Huh. OH, I KNOW!
WRITING SAID COMIC.
DEVELOPING SAID COMIC.
Seriously. Some of you may be, like, “Duh, you big dummy.” But you’d be amazed. So, now you’ve really thought about your hero, Flame Proof. He’s so cool. He’s a jacked, hot firefighter and the only fires he can’t put out are the fires of love that burn in others’ hearts for him. Cool, so what’s his first story? His origin? A standard adventure? A MASSIVE EVENT SO SPRAWLING IT BREAKS THE INTERNET INTO 16THS!?
It’s tricky to start with just one story. The Big Guys (you know which ones I’m talking about) expect to see a number of stories constituting the early part of a run on a title to ensure this isn’t just a dumb jump in-and-out situation. Start collecting ideas (stories, traits, look) over time and let them simmer a bit. Share them with friends or possible collaborators (more on this in a moment) to get feedback (don’t give away the book, though). When you’ve got your list, your “season’s worth” of stories, then comes the fun part.
BE PREPARED TO THROW OUT SAID STORIES.
Once you know your character, it’s time to start thinking logically about the story you hope to tell. At this point, hopefully you have an artist (or you have been one ALL ALONG! HOW CONVENIENT!) or are actively searching one out. Great. Now comes the hardest part. Starting to build the character around the ideas – see what works and what does. Visually, can you make this character fit your needs/story idea? Here, you get to test your scraps and notions against the reality of story production. Here’s where you find out if you had enough idea or maybe if its time to take a step back and redevelop. Hopefully, by now, you (and your collaborator) have so many ideas going, reworking and putting in the details is a smooth process.
That’s it for now, but part 2 will be about “Designing Your Universe!”