Nextwave Sequentials (Part 1)

Saw Iron Man a few days ago. And as weird as it was to see him strike that ballerina pose everytime he got ready to take off, the film is fucking brilliant. It delivers on so many levels, some of which I wasn’t even expecting, that I literally left the theatre an Iron Man fan. I honestly wasn’t one when I walked in, but Downey’s one of my faves, so yeah. Now I’m psyched for Fraction’s run. Good watch, good watch.

And as promised, I’m now posting the Nextwave pages I said I was working on as samples. Cebulski says to keep sending him updates on whatever I’m working on, so fair enough and sure enough, here I am. I came up with a six-page plot to use. I’m afraid to use the word script, since this is more of a sequence of events than an actual story or whatnot. Though, ironically, it serves the purpose of showing off storytelling skills. Heh-hah. I happen to think that conveying conversations interestingly is one of my strengths, and I honestly enjoy those more than slugfests. I’m weird. So hey look…

Page 1

Panel 1 (Big Panel)

It’s about high noon. The Shockwave Rider skims across ocean surface at high speed. In the distance, we see an oil rig. Just as a point of interest in the background. It won’t have anything to do with the plot. Note, the ship is more or less flying toward us.

Panel 2
Interior establishing shot of the ship. Monica and Aaron are piloting the ship, heavy concentration apparent in Monica’s face. Aaron’s just being Aaron. Elsa, Tabby, and Cap are just chillin’ in the background.

Monica: “Look alive, people.”

Page 2

Panel 1
Shot of Monica putting the ship on autopilot as she gets up from her seat. Leave a lot of space open for her monologue as she is briefing the team at the same time.

Panel 2
Aaron quips like the asshole he is.

Panel 3
Aaron is looking back at the team from his seat (slowly getting off his seat as well), explaining the nuances of the mission further and questioning monica’s leadership. Aaron explains the mission a bit more and just how serious the threat is. Based on what he adds to the brief, it sounds like this could be their last mission ever… and it scares the shit out of Cap and Tabby.

Panel 4
In the background, we see Cap and Tabby having church giggles; while in the foreground, Monica’s got an “Excuse me?!?” expression, but still calm and in control.

Page 3

Panel 1
Big shot of Elsa in a hero pose, Aaron is just coming into the panel (from the cockpit) and making like he’s endorsing her as the deserving team leader— which he thinks makes sense coz most of the dangers they face are monsters.

Panel 2
Shot of Aaron whispering something flirtatious to Elsa.
Something along the lines of “I have very many useful robot parts…” from issue 2.

Panel 3
Elsa pretty much telling Aaron to fuck off.
Also, Cap is agreeing with what Aaron just said, but…

Panel 4
Elsa tells Cap to fuck off too.

And these are the thumbnails I did before I jumped into the pages. They were done on 2×3 inch post-its, as that’s kindasorta the same proportion as a standard comicbook page. Obviously, they’re pretty rough. In all honesty, these are some of the cleanest thumbnails I’ve ever done. My roughest ones are usually decipherable only by me. Heee. I usually do the panel borders in ink, so that they don’t smudge over and lose definition as time passes. The interiors are always in pencils, because I rely on the blocked shapes within rather than the details, so whether it smudges or not, it’s all good.

And now pages 1-3 (Click thumbnails for larger views)

And here’s a list of differences between the thumbnails and the finished pencils as well as the reasons behind ’em:

Page 1, panel 2: I decided not to show Monica’s hands on the console anymore, because I wanted to establish that Aaron was the one driving. Him being a robot and all, it only makes sense that he has that chore, yeah? Just like Bishop did. Lance Henriksen. Not the X-man.

Page 2, panel 2: Opted to do a simple profile shot of Aaron as he speaks so that it feels like after panel one, the camera doesn’t change position but just zooms in to him, as he’s sitting right to the left of where Monica is getting up from.

Page 2, panel 3: Kept The Captain seated so that our view of Monica doesn’t get obstructed. I also moved everyone more to the right to create more space on the left for what Aaron is saying.

Page 3, panel 1: I decided not to put Elsa in a hero pose, coz it just didn’t make a lot of sense that she would strike one. In a ship. So I just changed it to a semi-hero pose in which she’s, like, checking her gear and stuff. To me, it still looks like she’s posing, but nothing too flashy. I also minimized our view of the Captain, coz I wanted him to sort of disappear, so that when he butts in again in panel 3, it feels more surprising.

Page 3, panel 3: Pulled a tighter shot on Elsa so that it doesn’t look too similar to how she’s positioned in panel 1.

That’s that for the first half of this sequential set. I hate the fact that I’m going so slow on these, but work’s been a bitch lately. Gotta pay the bills after all. Also, when I do begin page 4-6, I should also prep for that little caricature project I plan to show Ellis. Ssshhh…

Trades vs Monthlies

Am slightly stricken by the fact that there’s an actual discussion about trade paperbacks replacing monthlies. What’s even more disturbing is that some people think that the trades actually are a better way to go. Been visiting a lot lately, coz their live reviews and the fact that it always takes about five minutes to make a point is always amusing.

Pete LePage is a leader of men.

But anyway.

The argument is that trades would be better because it will increase the chances of only good stories coming out, as opposed to monthlies, which are a primarily deadline-driven medium. I admit that’s a fair point, but it sucks coz it decreases the chances of new creators getting the attention they need to grow. Someone even asked, if I remember correctly, “Do you think DC would have let the team that started this new volume of Blue Beetle get straight into TPBs?” Of course not.

One thing I feel was overlooked is the role of the 30-day waiting period that comes with comic book fandom. The cliffhanger syndrome. Anyone will tell you that half the fun (if you can call it that) is reading an awesome last page and wanting the next issue so bad. An only-trades market would totally destroy that, because everything will be done in one. An admittedly LONG done in one, but you know what I mean.
I’m not working as fast as I want to on these Nextwave pages that I mentioned I’d do as samples… mainly due to obligations on other sites… and there’s work, of course; but I already am piping down to page 3. I’d say I’m rolling along nicely. Not as nicely as I’d initially hoped speed-wise, but I’m definitely happy with the look of the pages so far.
The gang doesn’t get to hang in the usual pub Sunday. The place apparently ran fresh out of potatoes the day before, and a brew session with the boys just doesn’t work without our mojos. Okay, that didn’t sound right. I sign copies of Wonderlost 2 for a couple of friends. My signature is an indecisive rooster’s tap dance after he’s stepped in a bottle of India ink.

Speaking of ink, I got some new pens and crap for my day job today. Decided to break them in with a return to inking. I quite literally have not inked a piece in years, since I’ve made a conscious decision to focus on my pencils and try to bring it to a certain level I’ll be happy with. Videos of Jim Lee’s gelatometti Iron Chef challenges replay in my head as I think about what he said about inks being the best quick sketch tools. Ironic, I know. But it tends to lend a look of… I don’t know… completeness… I’m tempted to say “weight”…to a five-minute piece.

These were obviously touched up a bit with Photoshop. Heh.

But yeah… I’m definitely a pencils guy.