I spent the night before last crossing out on pre-existing pages parts I didn’t like or parts that needed revising, and spent the following day scribbling out new pages to the comic. I say ‘scribbling’ because were I to hand these drawings to any other artist for inking, they would think me nuts – my pre-drawings are really really really sloppy… artistic shorthand so to speak.
I spent last night typing up an actual script based on the edits and new drawings. It is a time-consuming chore, but the nice thing about having a script is that should new revisions need to be made… rather than crossing out panels and dooding hard to find notes, I can just modify the script and high-light it.
The hardest thing about comics is definitely definitely the first issue – there are so many worries involved, because the first issue sets the standards; Graphics, story, humor, audience, characters, underlyng plots, and so many other things are pretty much set in stone by this point.
In the old days, comics were limited runs – you miss them, you have to find a collector/comic store, and buy a used copy at some insane price, or wait for the trade paperback. One could even make a first issue that was not super spectacular, just to get the storyline out there and make up for it later down the line… because most readers would be coming in in later stories and just trying to catch up.
Now, print runs can be infinite, even made to order, and chances are that anyone wanting to check out a comic series, will simply order the first issue and go from there… making it more important than ever for the first issue to be as near-perfect as possible…. making people like me obsessed with what is now over a year’s worth of re-writes and edits and brainstorming.
I have even completely changed directions a few times, because new and fantastic ideas are really only the next logical step from other standing ideas, and thereby bound to happen – thought of by tens of thousands of people at once; Where some of those people have the knowhow, skill, and initiative to take off with it, there is a race to put a new idea to pen before a hundred other someones make it all old hat.
Pirates are the new ninjas, zombies are the new pirates, pirates the new zombies, and ninjas the new pirates.
Psychopathic but well-meaning killers, crazed and incompetent alien invaders, cute little dead girls, evil stuffed animals, irritated – tragic – artists spinning into insanity or caught in an unreal world, maddened antihero journalists shaking things up, serial killers with important socio-political messages for the readers… There have been a lot of great ideas brought to the shelves and conventions by the likes of Ellis, Voltaire, Dirge, Vasquez, and others – and in those a lot of seals and new grounds have been broken in the realm of humor… perhaps to the point where little to nothing is shocking anymore… or at least shocking *and* funny or thought provoking – leading back to the need for some degree of genuine and intelligent humor.
Sure, one could (and many do) write the same old screenplay or comic, but with a new situation, or with the main character being a new race or in a varying profession… but even if remotely novel, that gets so old so quick, and viewers realize quickly that they are watching the same stories and seeing the same plot devices, only with new characters that are really not all that incredibly new.
Ever find yourself watching a brand new show and seeing the “invisible monster” episode again, or maybe the one where there is a doppelganger and someone must decide who to shoot? Is there an antagonist persuing the main character, trying to break his cover, and never really catching up to him?
Well, it has been said that those afraid of copying something will never create anything – and I am finding that I am able to really go all out mocking standards and poking fun at cliches… but, anyone could do that, and it is the focus on substance slowing me down.
I have a great story, but in between the gags I need to be able to get enough of the premise into the first issue to grab interest, yet not so much as to give my direction away.
I also need to decide who is going to be able to read this – because as it stands, there is a lot of gore and a lot of obscenity. I really think both are going to have to stay, meaning a large part of my market is gone before this even hits the presses.
I know that things kids aren’t supposed to have tend to be the things that kids latch onto the most, but I need to make it clear that this is for kids 18 and up so I do not get my ass sued for making very bad deeds seem like a good idea to people who probably shouldn’t even be loose on the streets, or filling kids mouths with phrases they will ultimately blurt out in front of their extended family on the next big holiday.
And speaking of holidays… if I do not get this thing to print by November 27th… which is looking rather unlikely… I also need to figure out in my noggin when the next best release date would be…
One of these days, things will return to where I can just draw and paint without so many thoughts and considerations involved. This first issue is becoming the biggest stepping stone of my life – so big I might just land on my back from trying.