There are two views of working on a labor of comic book love in my household. The first is to acknowledge that retirement is a thing to be enjoyed and besides there's a ton of crap that needs doing around the place that I've been putting off...for years. The second is that if I don't produce a certain amount of comic work each week, I'll feel like a fraud who's just kidding himself. I won't say which sentiment is more me and which is my wife. But I'm being pulled in a lot of directions that really have nothing to do with either of those views.
The normal "obstacle" to churning out some pages is about characters and story. My thought is to create the graphic novel equivalent of a pilot and two episodes of an animated series. The first introduces the main characters and sets up the situation, the second two hint at the variety of stories possible. On top of that, these three stories should feel like one complete story that shows the characters growing. If I was literally writing 22 minute episodes, I'd be done with at least one of them and the other two would be in outline. In general, this is the fun stuff. It's learning the characters as I write them. But the design issues are daunting and that mountain of work ahead is very distracting.
It's not just these guys who I've been tweaking for years. It's Rocket's teacher. His schoolmates. They're only in the comic for the first few pages but any alien student designs should work as a race that plays a bigger role later on. Well... the teacher can be a one-off visual gag. I've never been a continuity purist so why start now? Then there's the planet natives. The fauna. The flora. Rocket ships! So. Many. Rocket ships. And his parents! Rocket's parents are major players in the book. This feels especially overwhelming because ...
Because, usually, I don't have to do it.
If this was an animated series, I'd be casting the artists for the show or working with my regular artists and talking about the look of the show. This is the awesome part because all sorts of cool art is generated that I don't have to do. do. I get to see how each artist puts their own spin on the ideas of the series and any visual reference I've collected. But in this project is a comic, so it all comes down to me. I'm sure it'll be fun addressing all of that when I get to it. But I keep worrying about it as I'm trying to write.
Obviously, I'm used to a certain order of creation, input and excitement that comes from working with great writers and artists. I have to disengage from that and convince my subconscious that's it's okay to jump from writing to design to layout, etc.. I've stopped my detailed outlining at the point where Rocket meets the three Zydatars and brings them home. Now I'm writing the actual script, breaking things down into panels and dialogue. A little unofficial thumbnailing here and there to make sure I'm laying out something doable. But I'm aware things may change as I layout the pages. In that chunk, I'll be mostly drawing the family at the center of the adventure: Mom, Dad, Rocket and the three Zydatars. I'll also need to design their ship which doubles at their planetside home and the design motifs of an ancient alien civilization. That's plenty.
But here's the last "distraction" that's actually the meat of the thing. This isn't an animated series. Reading a book or comic is a different experience. So a lot of Rocket stuck on the ship with his parents might play like a collection of connected comic strips. I'm doing that on purpose to emphasize humor but I know I have to weigh it against the need for forward momentum. It's scary but my overall goal is entertainment. The story will accelerate dramatically once they land/crash. We'll see.