Rumors Of Our Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated…
But, admittedly, not without merit. But hey…we’re baaaaaack!
Yeah, some things happened…we stumbled for sure, and then it was really hard to get back on the horse. Admittedly, part of it was a bad case of burnout. I mean, collectively we’ve all been at this, week after week, for more than 2 years. And that’s just this iteration of Spy6teen.
Part of it was workload and schedules changing– In the last year, Lisa has become a majorly in-demand colorist, and the amount of free time she has greatly dwindled. There were health issues that were faced by Brant‘s family– which, while frighting, thankfully all worked out…DJ‘s work schedule also changed, which left him FAR less time behing the drawing table…and then, for me (and more, my wife)– well, this happened:
And yes, if you look clearly there– there are two of them in there.
(she’s a lot further along at this point…two girls!)
Which is all to say, all of us had some adjustments to make in terms of our day-to-day…
So, basically, it started as a small break, and then kind of snowballed into a larger hiatus. What can I say, life sometimes makes other plans.
Brant had mentioned in the comments that I was due to pop in for a blog entry explaining what was going on– and, the hope was, to announce our return– but everytime I was set to, another “something” would pop up, delaying our new page.
At some point, I just decided to hold off, since the last thing I wanted to do was to announce a return, and then miss the date.
Ultimately, what we decided was to take our time. I wanted to give DJ ample time to get his pencils/inks where he wanted them to be, and completing them so that Lisa & Brant weren’t “on hold” until update day…basically, making production move in a more leisurely pace. That’s one big thing: When you’re under so much pressure to hit a deadline and it stops being fun– well, then why are we doing this? It’s comics– it’s GOTTA be fun!
Where we sit now: DJ has finished the pencils/inks for Vol.1, so he’s wrapped!
Lisa/Brant have time to finish off colors/letters at their own pace (but, we’ll still be updating weekly)– I think if you take a look at this page, and our upcoming ones, you’re going to notice a jump in artistry because they’re able to take their time!
And when Vol.1 wraps (at page 25), we’re going to take a little bit to figure out how to handle Vol.2– and make some plans for our printed/collected edition. With all our lives changing the way they are, we’ll have to suss out an alternate way of working for Vol.2, but I’m sure we’ll come up with something.
I’m gonna skip PROCESS this week– we’ll ease back into that next week. In the meantime, it feels fantastic to be back! Thanks to everyone who has waited patiently for our return!
…And yes, I do note the irony in “returning” to a page where Cally says “It’s over”!
And the cat in the box is released!
Here’s the payoff moment that we’ve been building up to since introducing Everett and the idea of Schrodinger’s Cat waaaay back in Issue 1!
I’ve always been particularly proud of this little payoff beat, since it perfectly illustrates Cally “winning” by applying knowledge. Even better, she gets to use/flip that knowledge only because Dr. Everett forced her to do a paper on Schrodinger’s cat– so, in that regard: he’s responsible for his own demise.
In writer terms, this is called “Sticking the landing…”
Alright, enough of me congratulating my own wit– let’s move on:
* Interestingly, this panel layout SHOULDN’T work– DJ has been playing around with different style tier layouts, this week in a 2-tier combo, as in: You can read the top “half” of the page as one block, and the bottom half as another. It’s something we’ve been talking about behind closed doors for S16 2.0, but I’m just going to leave that tease sitting there (more later)– As he’s been getting used to it, this top tier didn’t play quite as we’d hoped it would, since your eyes should read it as panels 1-3-2 (reading right to left)– that said, we all took one look at the lineart and said: Y’know, Brant can fix this!
…and indeed he did! We’ll get to that in a second…
* This was also the page that DJ had an inking accident. One of the dangers in switching to an ink brush is splatters and well spillage– well, this page was cursed with one of those. Interestingly, DJ did such a great job cleaning it up, we barely noticed in the lineart. And, of course, by the time we’d gone through Brant’s flats and Lisa’s colors, you guys would never even know it was there!
* In non-Spy6teen, but super-awesome DJ work, here’s something that popped up on his Devart a few days ago– a little Daredevil vs. Cap action!
C’mon, how awesome would it be to see DJ on a Marvel book?!
* Here’s a pretty great Lisa Rock-star moment! When it came to Panel 3, I originally thought the lineart looked a little “empty.” I knew it was a “wordy” panel, but I was a bit worried that there wasn’t enough detail in Warpy’s tentacle —
But, Lisa naturally came through with came through with flying…ahem, colors– adding in a dimensional weight through colors, by highlighting and shadowing along the curvature, giving it some real substance:
It’s also cool how Lisa gave Cally a pale-er look than usual, particularly in her lips, in this panel– giving a real sense of being choked out.
* As mentioned above, Brant came in and saved the day on the upper tier of panels. I always go back to saying that lettering is the “hidden art,” and here’s another example that proves it:
If you notice, Brant bridges the balloon “…and the only way to collapse the waveform is to…” which basically forces your eye into reading the panel BELOW panel 1 first– even though traditionally, you’d think to read it right to left.
It’s a subtle little letterer trick that counts on the fact that you “read” a page (with a quick scan), taking in the whole page, before moving to read individual panels.
Lotsa “behind-the-scenes” stuff with Team 16 this week– we’re all doing some prepping for the future of Spy6teen. It’s too early to really start talking about anything yet– but one of the cool things that did pop up in my researching of emerging digital storytelling was a little “proof of concept” rough that was made by Balak, who many of you might remember as being the guy who “cracked the code” on Digital Comics with this little test.
The art is a bit rough, but the art isn’t the point– it’s the storytelling and techniques used in the format. I’m not sure this is the “future of comics,” but it’s the closest I’ve seen yet.
Give it a gander and let us know what you think in the comments–
…and that’s that for this week! Seeya in 7 for…
That’s it?! What’s IT?!
Heya gang! Welcome back for Page 18, which is our “loopback” page for the flashforward on Page 1 of this issue!
Everett is such a blast to write– particularly when doing these megalomaniac speeches, where you get to use insults like “mindless algae”. This guy didn’t enjoy teaching one bit!
This page, in particular, is why the issue runs a bit long– In the v.1 of the script, we pretty much rolled right from the Don/Sears fight and into Cally v. Warpy– but shortly before DJ started art, I went back and re-read the script and noticed that things seemed to move way too fast– what we were lacking was the beat of this page and last: Cally’s “darkest moment”– Adding it in did mess up our 22p/issue count, but seeing as there are no page limits for the web (and we’re formatted more to a trade at this point)– cutting a beat in order to make a theoretical pagecount seemed silly.
* One of the most admirable things about DJ’s art is the fact that the guy never takes shortcuts. He works completely analog, and it shows: Particularly in Panel 2, which is a “repeat” of Page 1’s spash– but, unlike a lot of artist, he didn’t cheat with a Photoshop cut/paste– but redrew the panel from a new perspective.
And nothing against artists that do use Photoshop to repeat panels, I just think it’s really worth noting when you see a guy doing the old school way!
* Another nice little piece of Lisa atmosphere on this page as well! I noticed the slight coloring in the top right corner of Panel 1, which matches as a light source to Cally’s right hand in Panel 2–
I also thought it was kinda cool how Lisa uses different skin tone colors for Cally and Everett– With Cally (being our heroine) looking a little healthier, while Everett has a slightly pallid quality. Mostly because bad guys shouldn’t have nice tans.
* Brant pretty much completes Everett’s verbal transference to Warpy– I gotta say, it’s a little device worked out like a charm for this particular story beat!
Props to Brant for the design!
Speaking of Brant, he’s running a bit of a garage sale on Ebay right now– he’s got some great stuff up, so make sure you swing by to see if anything tickles your fancy!
SPYING ON THE NET
We seem to have had a pretty decent couple of weeks in terms of visitor traffic– spiking up in terms of page views, which is pretty nice. In fact, according to InkOutbreak (one of the webcomic listing sites we’re on) we had a 3k day a few weeks back.
I’ve actually mostly stopped fretting about the hitcount– One of the nice things I’ve noticed is that we seem to consistently have a great number more page views compared to our visitor count– which means when people stop by, then tend to read a bunch of pages.
That said, I am looking at rolling out some changes when we hit the next arc– possibly toning down on the Process pieces, and doing some new segments.
I’ve also been thinking a lot about our format– Warren Ellis recently posted up an interesting little article on the (literal) shape of webcomics, and how many of them have moved to a two-tier format– actually, in much the same form as we began on Zuda– but, at the end of the day, I’m sticking to our guns with our normal “print” layout– mostly because I don’t mind scrolling, and I don’t want to shackle DJ’s layouts to a fixed form.
What I am really focusing on tightening things up for the next issue. Since this first one was written to the trade, it tended to unfold a bit slowly. So, I’m attempting to beatsheet things in more of a single issue format– using 3 acts at 8 pages a piece to create a single 24 page issue, that also works as three 8 page issues, in the hopes that propels the storytelling momentum.
All of which is to say, I’m starting to get really jazzed up about the next phase of Spy6teen– I think you guys are really going to dig the directions we start heading in!
Well, that’s it for this week, gang! We’ll see ya in 7 days for: