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:
Happy Pi day, gang! And welcome back for page 9– as you can see, Cally’s getting into character here, so you can be sure a number of action packed pages are headed your way!
This week we’ve got a page that ranks up in my “top 10” Spy6teen pages yet. I think it really sums up the book as a whole as well: We’ve got the techy-science stuff, Cally wisecracking, the high school, the Quad War room, and a big “getting into costume” moment! In all, I think this might be the quintessential S16 page!
* As soon as DJ popped this page into the Dropbox, I knew I had to go digging into the archives to check out the last time we had an on-screen Slide– which actually dates all the way back to the second page of our Zuda version in 2009– geez, almost 3 years ago!
Compare the image above to the very first “Slide”:
The effect is still more or less the same, but DJ’s added in a pretty cool “portal” effect for our 2012 version. The evolution of the Slide is going to be fun to track– I’m already starting to feel like it’ll be our version of the Star Trek “Transporter”– Beam us up, Control!
* As a side note, how awesome would this technology be? Don’t like what you’re wearing: Insta-Change!
* Lisa really nailed the Slide effect! I love the slight halo’ing of Cally in Panel 4, which creates an awesome moment of transition/unreality– It works so well, since Cally is transforming into her “superhero” persona. It’s an epic frame and Lisa’s colors render it as such.
* Here’s one little effect I’m not sure you guys are seeing or not in the Web version– I’ve talked before about how, post-compression, we sometimes lose some subtle details in the lineart and colors. I did a little compare/contrast on the last page of Issue 3.
Well, we’ve got a bit of that this page as well– Around the slide effect, Lisa sprinkled in some neat “Slide Dust”– which, I think got a little compressed out– Here’s a shot of the Hi-Def version:
Hopefully, once we hit “Absolute” or at least “Trade Paperback” (which will be available at the end of this issue), we’ll have a printer who will be able to handle and deliver these awesome little details!
* Brant has some “easy” pages coming up– which I think he’s paid in advance on over the last few! This was another STACKED page– and given the 4 vertical top panels (where, naturally, all the dialogue actually takes place!), I was positive that we were going to run into spacing issues.
Luckily, our ninja-riffic editor, DJ “The Blade” Kirkbride managed to do some splicing and dicing to get it all working on the page.
One of DJ’s great magic powers is his ability to break up dialogue over the course of a few panels. For example, Control’s big “tech-y” speech in Panels 2 and 3 were originally scripted for ONLY Panel 2– obviously, wayyyy too much text– And yet, for some reason, my first thought is to start hacking down…whereas Judo DJ can take that negative energy and flip it into another panel.
Ok…I’m done with the ninja/martial arts wordplay…
On the Brant side….C’mon: FAZZZZZZZZAAAAAASHHH! How cool is that?!
Brant did send along an ALT look:
…but both DJ and I preferred the bold/in-your-faceness of the final effect. I tend to think you’ll agree– but if you don’t, tell us why!
SPYING ON THE NET/WRAP UP!
Well, I called it as soon as I saw it:
Marvel is dipping into a Digital Comics Line– and one that’s producing comics specifically for Tablet devices. How’d I call it?
Take a look at the aspect ratio of that announcement image: Doesn’t it look like it’d fit comfortably in an Ipad or Iphone?
Announced at SXSW, Marvel ReEvolution is set to do two things: 1) Add an Augmented Reality component to comics, and 2) create a new format for comics to be released in.
The first (which you can see a bit of here) is a bit gimmicky, reminding me of the “this is going to change everything!” Motion Comic fad– That said, what I am excited for is newly produced comic content that’d going to be available on tablets.
From what I’ve heard, it appears that they’ll be testing the waters with original comics that tie into ongoing stories– but I’m hoping that down the line, we might see wholly original titles (within the Marvel U) being released.
Best part: My understanding is that the Digital comics are free with purchase of a physical print, OR, 99 cents to buy them without.
Longtime readers know I’ve been railing on the 99 cent digital price point for…well, ever…so I’m extremely enthused to hear this news. This could be the thing that brings a bunch of new readers into comics.
The real surprise of the announcement was the involvement of Mark Waid (who I’ve been talking about for the last few weeks)–
When it comes to digital comics, Mark Waid is really the guy with the right amount of passion, curiosity, experience, and creative juice to pull this off.
Kudos, Marvel! I’m looking forward to this!
Ok, that’s it for this week–
NEXT WEEK: CALLY’S ON THE SCENE!
Heya gang! Welcome back for the start of the PROM!!
Is Cally actually getting stood up by Sears? It’ll be a pretty safe bet that we’ll have our answer next week with the return of Alyssa in Panel 5!
Fairly internal-dialogue heavy page this week– and one that I’m kinda proud of from a written perspective– mainly for the “Noose around my neck” and “License to Kill” lines– Oh, and calling Sears an Oaf. That was just fun…
One bit of credit where it’s due goes to the very talented Artist/Writer (and my pal,) Tony Fleecs for prodding me in the direction of naming the Dance as a tribute to Kevin.
Tony had read an early “Beat Sheet” of the story and suggested that there should be a Kevin “Shoutout” at the prom– sort of in the style of 80s high school movies. When it came to scripting, I didn’t have the right moment to implement it, but the idea stuck with me…so, when I saw the opportunity to put something up on the the establishing shot of the prom– well, that’s what I came up with: A Celebration of Life…Just cheesy enough that it might be real.
We kinda flew by the seat of our pants on this page– a massive workload over the 3-day weekend had my internal calendar all screwed up, and I totally forgot to get page/script revisions out until this morning. Being on the West Coast, and with Lisa in Central time and Brant in EST, there was a bit of a ker-fluffle– That said, DJ has built up a pretty solid buffer of pages, so we were really only held up by me…
It’s always fun seeing some of the Behind the Scenes stuff, so I thought I’d share a little directional note from DJ to Brant in this week’s inks:
I really dig the sense of movement that DJ convys through this page– particularly in how he stages Cally moving away from the crowd. You can almost “hear” the chatter of the crowd in Panel 1 fading into the background in Panel 2– and by Panel 3, you can tell it’d be so quiet you could hear a “sniff”.
Part of the effectiveness is how DJ stages Panel 3 as an overhead shot– although it’s a smaller panel, you don’t question that Cally is alone by this point. Little flourishes like the shadow she casts help sell the tone as well.
There was sort of a funny Lisa moment this morning as well– She didn’t have the script open when coloring the page and mistakenly cast Alyssa in Panel 5 as Cally:
Brant was the first one to notice it, with an: “uhhh…” email– but I wasn’t sure if Lisa was aiming for a gag: Like, Cally and Alyssa wearing the same colored dress.
One quick email to Lisa, and minutes later (like magic!) Alyssa’s dress was red!
I can think of a few times in my life where I wish I had THAT superpower!
On the Brant side of things: I mentioned the stallout we had this morning (again: my fault), but as soon as the script page was revised (ironically, with no revisions), he shot into action.
The only real questionable moment of the page occurred in Panels 4 and 5 of the script, which read as follows:
Angle on Cally as she continues to scout–
CAP: Maybe that says something. Maybe I should work on not being two different people all the time. I mean, mayb–
VOICE (OFF PANEL): Sniff…sniff…
From Over Cally’s Shoulder– we see ALYSSA, dressed in her prom outfit, sitting on a bench, crying.
Which, lead us to a quick round of questions– would the dialogue work if it were flopped? With Cally asking “Alyssa?” in Panel 4 (where she appears on screen) and ending the page on “sniff”…
Brant quickly A/B’ed the two ideas, to which, the clear winner presented itself rapidly.
I really like the way the balloons overlap the gutter in this case, and it allowed us to go out on a question– which is always more dramatic than a sniffling.
So there you have it: A few stumbles getting this page off the ground, but we all recovered quickly– and honestly, if these Process segments didn’t run under a “full-disclosure” policy, no one would have been the wiser!!
SPYING ON THE NET!
A really cool announcement/demo from writer Mark Waid came out this week– Longtime readers might remember the talk on Digital Comics I posted awhile back featuring Mr. Waid.
At the time, he was teased some upcoming ideas he had on Digital Comics– well, today we get to see those ideas in action via a demo video– take it away, Sir Waid:
After a 25-year career in the print comics industry, my passion for the ink and paper of my youth is waning. Storytelling through comics’ unique alchemy of words and pictures is still my first love, and it’s probably the thing in the world I’m best at—but as print costs continue to rise and profitability drops to unsustainable levels for smaller publishers who aren’t backed by media juggernauts like Disney and Warner Bros, I no longer see designing for print-first as viable.
Over the past year, I’ve begun exploring the emerging digital comics medium and, in preparation for launching my own webcomics this summer, I’ve produced several short examples to demonstrate the tools digital allows writers and artists. (See the accompanying video clip, from my iPad, for a brief example.) Most “digital comics” offered by large publishers are little more than clunky adaptations of previously existing material first designed for standard portrait-format print comics, not for landscape-format monitors and tablets. When reading a print comic, you can see the entire page at once, and artists use that as a design tool. But print comics captured on the screen are almost always too large to “take in” without scrolling about or enlarging or isolating individual panels—the comics equivalent of the old “pan-and-scan” evil of presenting widescreen movies on square televisions by inelegant cropping and editing. Hence, my new passion.
Interestingly, I’ve actually seen this idea explored by, of all folks: The Pirates. A few titles (Mostly those by Mark Millar) have been cut/chopped/cropped to become “Widescreen Editions” of their print equivalents. A few of them have even gone as far as taking these editions and creating “Motion Comics” of a sort out of them–
While I’m not a huge fan of these Youtube versions, (really bad music, aside) the Widescreen editions quickly got my attention…enough to actually start to hack up our first issue in an attempt to deliver a Widescreen version of Spy6teen– Though, I quickly learned that it’s a very labor intensive process, and ultimately had to drop the project in order to keep up with our current issues!
All that said, it looks like Mark is the first guy to go out and really legitimize this format– and to that, I say: All the best, sir. I have my Paypal at the ready for you.
If you’re just getting starting on a web or digital comic, start looking at this form– it looks a lot like the future.
Well, that’s it for this week folks! It’s been a hectic week and shows no signs of slowing down, so this’ll be a super quick wrap up.
So quick…well, that it’s over!
Seeya next week for–