So a little while ago, I mentioned I was starting a new project. I know that for some people who know me, that really doesn’t narrow it down a lot. I’m always thinking about short stories still in the queue of my head, the graphic novel script that’s been languishing in my binder, and a few other things as well.
This one is different. A few years ago my friend Angela Jordan, now Angela O’Hara, wanted to do a comics collaboration. At the time, I really wasn’t that skilled with creating comics scripts and–even now–they take more effort to create than a play or film script, or even a short story. Our original idea was very ambitious and I eventually created a very elementary and simple first story that I hoped Angela and I could flesh out into a comic. I had no knowledge of panels then and even now I still have issues with figuring out anything other than some of the basics in my head of how a page layout is supposed to look like.
We went our separate ways for a while: Angela taught in Japan and eventually got married, while I moved out to York residence and started my Humanities Grad Program. Years later we got back in touch and I decided that there was a way we could side-step some of the difficulties we were facing before.
Superhero comics have been done so often that people often see it as the comics medium itself as opposed to a genre. It’s interesting because comics didn’t start out with superheroes–if you look at old slapstick comic strips and political cartoons as examples–but they did gain popularity for the medium.
Based on some of the work I’ve seen Chris Ware–a cartoonist who loves creating beings (including superhero figures) of basic geometrical shapes on vast, empty and existentially lonely backgrounds, the strangely small and greater world of Saint-Exupery’s Le Petit Prince and Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman’s Miracleman along with a great many other superhero comics I’ve looked at in my life something started to come together in my head. It wasn’t really until I looked at Sarah Howell’s silent comic pamphlet–reminding me of their power–that I found the form for this thing I wanted to make with Angela.
Yet a lot of the above is stuff that happened after the fact. Actually, the idea for the entire thing–still in development now–was brought on by a video game song. It’s amazing how music can help you visualize certain scenes in your head.
So right now, I am in the process of creating the story for this “silent superhero comic.” I’ve given Angela some sample art to look at as foundations or influences for the work’s potential style while telling her about the scene I made in my head. But right now I need to do more. I’m now developing a bit of the world and the main characters. I think I will have to crudely sketch out what I want them to look like. One thing I’ve learned through making a few “ordinary” comics scripts, is that drawing out a rough look at what the page should look like does wonders to help you and someone else know what it is you want to write about.
The difference this time is that we plan to make this a small pamphlet of sixteen or seventeen pages–possibly double-sided–for each part. I originally wanted this to be a one-shot thing to allow us to brush up on our skills again before doing anything else, but at the same time I can see the potential in some of this.
It’s funny. I once thought I’d grown past superhero comics but I’ve been researching and talking about concepts behind them a lot this summer. They have certain rules and conventions that can be followed, bent or broken. But I’ve learned that going back to the essentials or “the basics” can be very important no matter what else you might do and all the more so for superhero archetypes that are really extensions of the stories of heroes and gods. When you also think of cartoons and children’s illustrations as archetypes as well, you can see where a lot of my influences want to come in. So you can probably see why I’ve had a bit of a superhero obsession lately. Lately. Okay, somewhat.
Basically, I want to post updates of this as of officially unnamed silent comic project or, as Angela put it even more eloquently, this “superhero fairytale” whenever I possibly can. It’s been a while since I’ve written anything besides stuff on the creative process, reviews and articles: but finally I get to begin to play around with some world-building and alongside a really talented artist.
You can find Angela’s work in two of her Deviant Accounts: her Angela Jordan one, her Angela O’Hara account, and her professional artist’s website. Here is one sample of an image she created from our previous collaboration: one I always look at even to this very day.
As for me, I need to keep working and also keep my creative side fresh. As someone might have said, if it isn’t in writing it doesn’t exist. Well, now it is in writing and now, I hope to to do my part to make it happen.