It's been too long. I attended the CTN Animation Expo last weekend and had several professionals tell me they liked my blog, especially the articles about pitching.
Well, I'll try to come up with more to say about pitching but for now I'm going to talk about my creative process. That was actually the point of this blog. I want to explore the creative process of myself and others. So I'm going to do that in a new way by being very specific.
I love graphic storytelling. There is a type of entertainment that a comic can do that can't be duplicated in any other medium. I love how you can play with the panel by panel progression, the page turn and the impact of the page as a whole.
Digital comics can erase some of that but possibly brings its own strengths. In any case, I'd love to create my own comic. I fully intend to but it will have to wait until I'm running an animated show as opposed to being one of the gogs in the machine. It's simple economics. If I'm boarding during the day, my free time is better spent developing new shows than by playing on the comic page.
However, that doesn't mean I'm not thinking of that comic in my future. So rather than keep things a secret, I'll share the development of that comic whether it ever gets produced or not.
First off, there are two potential stories/casts/franchises that I want to play with. One is EMMARYN and you can read my earlier attempt at her story in this very blog. That's what the archive is for. I've been told I was too hard on myself. Maybe. It will be interesting to return to it with fresh eyes. The second idea already had interest from a comic publisher. It's my animated pitch for ROCKET WYLDE AND THE PLANET SAVERS. That's the one I'm playing with now.
So I'm thinking about Rocket, the kid, the lead, the center of my, possibly ongoing, story. My default kid that I pitch is super energetic, impulsive and an impressive lack of common sense. If you've watched Darkwing Duck, you've seen this kid. Gosalyn Mallard. I realized that Rocket, at least in the nebulous clouds of procreation between my ears is another chip off this block.
Now, I'm fully aware that I may return to this exact character type for Rocket but first I want to explore a bit. I've mentioned ANYA'S GHOST by Vera Brosgol before. At least I think I have. I thought I did a whole post about it but I guess I just linked to it. It's a wonderful story that is part slice of life young adult novel and part creeping, suspenseful horror. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Please, please, buy it and support true originality in graphic novels. C'mon, give it a present. I bought it on a whim and was totally wowed by it. Neil Gaiman agrees with me. Here's a quick impression:
Vera Brosgol created a sympathetic but flawed heroine who becomes a better through the events of the story. So beyond the action, suspense, personality stuff, there is a heart beating that gives the story richness. This really affected me more than any comic in recent memory. It impressed the hell out of me.
EMMARYN definitely has the potential for that kind of heart but I never thought much about it for the adventures of Rocket Wylde. I can fill a story this action, both thrilling and gag-filled and entertaining characters but how much better if would be if the story had a pulse, a warm center that makes you really care. Pragmatically, I'd rather write/draw a single, self contained graphic novel than a series anyway. If I do my job right I can write another novel building on the characters and events of the first but still self contained.
So I've started exploring the design of Rocket. Maybe he should be less cocky looking, less self assured. Here's some sketches I did the other night. My first thought was to soften his hair to make him more vunerable looking.
Check out #1. Granted, I swung the pendulum a bit small in the other direction. It's not that he couldn't work but he seems too young. Yet, that could be a plus. The basic conceit of The Planet Savers is that a kid resurrects the powerful guardians of a planet or at least toddler versions of them. He constantly struggles to control them. A younger kid is going to have more trouble with that which leads to more gags. After a few days away from this design, I can totally see it working. If this was an animated series, I'd have trouble selling an action adventure protagonist this young but the great thing about comics, at least my comics, is that I don't have to consider that.
#2 is a slightly older version. Costuming is going to be a major deal in itself. I want it to look comfortable but of a different time, a future time. But this doodle is bland to me. It screams, "Redraw me with a personality!"
#3 pushes outside of my box. Forget the floppy hair and replace it with something short, almost "just returned from the barber and my first haircut" short. This kid seems real to me. He looks like a sidekick and that may be exactly what I'm looking for - a kid that you don't expect to step forward and be the hero. There's a bit of Charlie Brown in him. But as much as I like his face and what I'm seeing in his eyes, the rest is a mess. I perched him on skinny legs to just shake things up. The shapes contrast but not in a pleasing way.
#4 over on the left is an attempt to explore this new guy. I lost something here. Does he need the baggy eyes? It doesn't seem like the same kid. Giving him a stocky body makes him look like a toddler. I'm not excited.
The little scribbles at the bottom are playing with him in action poses.
So the exploration will continue. Strangely, I feel like I should nail down his outfit. How futuristic should he be? How nebbishy? We'll see. Feel free to speak up about any of the sketches above.
See you sooner than later,