Monday, June 30, 2008

The First Strip of the Rest of Your Life

1 comment:

John said...

To start, First Strip of the Rest of Your Life. I didn't make that up did I? If I did, I'm impressed with myself. If you did, I'm impressed with you. Anyway, that's a better title than whatever I thought I had. Let's stick to it.

Let's go panel by panel, then we'll do the general stuff. Of course everything is just suggestions in order to keep up a dialog. I'm certainly not laying down any kind of hard and fast law:

Panel 1: I like the big hatch looming in the ceiling. The focus for the rest of the room should be Ellis Island meets the site of the Nuremberg rally before everyone arrives. That is to say, it's a processing center, but it's also a big, grand display of "look at this perfect society you're joining."

For the government woman, I like the stern look of the outfit, can we merge the power suit/skirt with a nurse thing? Just the trappings of a nurse, like a nursemaid bureaucrat. I think the angle of the panel is good.

Panel 2: Yes. Big crash. This is a birth of sorts, so let's keep it messy. It looks like a submersible that fell off its crane. I can go with that. Keep with this for the most part, then shoot for a rocket pod version of a whole womb that just comes crashing into the room. It appears to work to have the same angle as panel 1, so let's stick with what you've got here.

Panel 3: Maybe closer in, our "hero" emerging from the pod, half-standing from his seat, with this woman jumping right in his face with the debt card. We'll talk about the boy's look in detail elsewhere.

Panel 4: I know it's just a sketch, but watch the angles on the pod, as it seems to shift position the way you move between panels. It's really minor, but I'll be a stickler as long as I have the means to do so.

What works here is really having the kid look at this debt card like a foreign object, and the woman carrying on by rote, rattling along without really paying him any mind.

Panel 5: Let's make him more prominent that the woman here, maybe again she's just a hand from off panel like panel 3, but our big reaction here is the boy, so let's be close up on his outrage.

Panel 6: Panel 6 and 7 are great, with the same angle, but zoomed in for the stare down for panel 7. Whatever angle you go with, keep that dynamic between the two. Maybe exaggerate her looming even more. I like his "badass" strike a pose.

Panel 7: Again I want more of him than her, but even an equal balance of face is fine. We can have a mini-explosion between their gazes even. I'm not specifically suggesting such a thing, but that's the level of tension we're looking for. She should be stone-faced, her disapproval just hiding behind a rigid glare, waiting to jump out and destroy him. The boy should be completely cock-sure. Both are rooting in their firm belief of victory.

Panel 8: Perfect. He's surrounded, the whole stormtrooper team on one end, sound effects on the other, and him totally freaked. If possible, this is a good panel for over-the-top detail if you have time/room for it. Lots of killer tech'ed-out SWAT guys mushed together like the Rat King from the Nutcracker.

Panel 9: Here's our best chance at an establishing shot of the boy. Don't forget the debtor's prison sign. I agree that I need a better ending line, as this is our most important panel: our first real punchline, really. Anyway, nail the look of the boy here and we're golden. The mood he should have: check out some political dissents from their time in prison if you can, mug shots and the like. We need to see defeat but not the conceit of defeat, and a kind of unshakable opposition to the way things are. Boy's going to be constantly questioning the things around him in this strip, here's where we show exactly who he is in one panel. Did I mention this panel is important?

Ok, the general stuff. First, your playing field. Remember we have a square to work with. Depending on the pace of later strips, we can scroll down, but let's definitely avoid it for the first one. We need the whole strip on-screen. So maybe work this one in a nine-grid, though that grid does not at all need to be uniform, or squares. Try a couple other layouts (just the panel shapes, you don't need to draw everything) and let's see what we get.

Only other comment I have on this one is the boy's look, which I'll hit up more in other comments. Gotta keep him really young, somewhere in the 8-10 range. This means he's got to mutate a little less than other people. We can distort his features and do crazy variations because you're good at that stuff and it's cool and stylistic, but not in this first strip. Again, I know these are only sketches. Have we chosen any details yet: white? black? hispanic? asian? blond? green eyed? Something to debate. Maybe we should get together and just do a bunch of brainstorming on his design.

Finally, the outfit in this strip. I'm thinking space-age footy pajamas almost? Then again, that might suck since we'll be stuck with the outfit throughout at least the jail strips. Still, something reminiscent of baby clothes meets a spacesuit.

Ok, on to the next sketch. Having fun reading all this yet?