Rum Row is Live!

It’s been a long time, and I’ve had my share of false starts. But Rum Row is finally done and ready to go! If you’ve seen any of my previous posts on the subject, you’ll know that this is a project that I’ve been working on for a while now. My first full length comic book, and I couldn’t be more happy to see how it turned out. Here’s some preview art by pin up artist John Broglia, with comic pages by Michele Bandini. Colors by Derek Dow.

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Elevator Pitch – Mixing elements of Jules Verne and The Untouchables, Rum Row is an aerial themed crime adventure comic.

If you’d like to check it out, or learn a little more about it. You can watch the video, and check out this link.

The project is 100% finished and ready to print. But we’re doing a Kickstarter to fund the printing and shipping of the book. So please, if you’re a fan of the project or the blog, feel free to share this and get the word out. Facebook, Twitter, you’re own blog. Anything helps.

That’s it, and thanks again for stopping by!

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Process: Script to Comic Page

Whether it’s writing, making a film, or even watching cooking shows, I’ve always been interested in process. I like learning about how things are made, and seeing all the steps laid out separately. So going with that theme, I figured I’d take a crack at one of those on the topic of comics. I’m right in the middle of my latest project Rum Row, and thought this was a perfect opportunity to illustrate how an idea goes from the script to the final colored page. If you hate learning “how the sausage is made”, you can at least look at some cool pictures. Now onward!

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Some concept artwork for the main zeppelin of our story Rum Row, along with a small headshot of its Captain, Katherine Blanchard.

If you’re a comic fan, you’ve probably seen something similar in the back of a graphic novel or collected edition. After the initial story and characters have been fleshed out, I’ll sit down to write the actual script. I write in “full script” format. I don’t want to bore you with the different styles, but if you’re interest you can go here.

Basically this is where I describe how many panels are going on the page, what happens in each one, and write the dialogue (word balloons) for each character. I copy and pasted page ten of the recent script, then put the finished pencils directly following it. In this example, this is simply an action page. So there won’t be any word balloons. But I think you’ll still get the idea. All the beautiful artwork is courtesy of my collaborator Michele Bandini.

Rum Row Script Page

Page Ten (4 Panels)

1

Outside of the Duchess, we see a group of police zeppelins that read NYPD on the side poking through the clouds, dispersing the air balloons and other ships.

2

Cut to the back of the NYPD zeppelin opening up and police biplanes are exiting. One plane, The Albatross, is larger and different looking then the rest. It actually has helicopter propellers in the wings, so it can hover in place. This is for boarding other ships.

3

The police planes fly by the hot air balloons at full speed. A woman watches through opera glasses, as her drunk husband is puking off the side.

4

Cut to the back of the Police chief looking out the viewing panel of the lead NYPD Zeppelin at the Duchess.

Pencils based on script above

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I think right off the bat, you’ll notice how informal the script is. Unlike prose, or even screenplays, there’s no poetry to comic book scripts. Generally the only people that read them, are the artist, and maybe an editor if you’re working on a hired gig say for Marvel or DC. It’s basically like a letter to the artist. I write them almost like I’m having a conversation. If you’ve never read one, they can feel disjointed and hard to read with all the panel and page breaks. But you get used to them eventually.

When I work, I usually send over the script to the artist, and he/she will do thumbnails of how they see the page. We discuss it, and once we both agree, then move on to the pencils. I’m not married to any of my scripts. If the artist has a better way of getting the story across, I’ll go with it. If that means more panels, less panels, or even changing things around slightly. Whatever is best for the story. This is collaboration after all, and hopefully both of us want this to be the best we can. I try to think visually when writing these of course. But usually what I envision is nothing compared to what the artist can turn out.

Here's some thumbnail examples of a page, like I was talking about earlier.

Here’s some thumbnail examples of a page, like I was talking about earlier.

Then finally, after the pencils have been drawn, it’s time to ink the page. In professional comics the pencils can be passed off to separate inkers, or the artist may do it themselves. It really depends on time availability and preference. For this project, Michele did both.

After the pencils are inked

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Once the page has been inked, the files are sent to the colorists. These days everything is done digitally, and the color options are endless. But back in the early days, they only had four color options to make all their combinations with. Below is the colored version of the page above, and it’s almost finished. The lettering of the page is the final step.

The color is added (Colors courtesy of Derek Dow)

RR_12bAnd that’s it for this page! If there were any dialogue, it would be added now. Then once all the pages have been lettered, they would be sent to the printer or put in PDF form so people could read it digitally.

I hope that wasn’t too painful, and hopefully interesting to non comic fans. I know most, if not all of you are not. But I think if you gave them a chance, you would really dig them. In Japan adults read comics all the time. And they can cover any topic from sports, romance stories, to giant robots. There is no stigma, and they sell like crazy. But in America, they tend to be associated with children and super heroes. Attitudes have improved slightly in recent years, since every other movie made these days is based on a comic, even the non super heroes films surprisingly. Although I still think we’re a ways away from most people reading comics. The Walking Dead is an exception, but hopefully that will change.

One thing I always like to remind non comic readers of, is there is no budget in comics. If you can think it, it can be drawn. If you’re ever interested, or want some suggestions. Just shoot me an email, or tweet at @IhateMaxwell. If you let me know what things you’re into, I promise I can find a couple comics for you. Alright I’ll stop rambling now, and thanks again for reading!

My New Pirate Comic!

Hey Guys.

Hope all is well. I’ve been busy in nerd land as of late, and I wanted to post an update. Shut Up Dad has been an amazing ride so far. But I originally started this blog to document my comic book making progress. Heh, which sad to say I’ve hardly done at all on here. The blog really took on a life of it’s own. Which has been great! But I also wanted to get back to the reason I started all of this in the first place. So to go with that theme, I’m starting another blog focusing soley on my comics and writing process. You can find it here.

I will be continuing with Shut Up Dad, so I’m not throwing in the towel. I just wanted to give a heads up, and let you guys know what’s going on. To kind of get an idea of what to expect, I posted a short five page story I recently did with the amazingly talented Michele Bandini. He’s from Italy, so you know it’s fancy. Enjoy, and come stop by the new blog!

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Your New Favorite Vacation Spots

Being the veteran traveler that I am, I’ve grown rather bored of the norm. I’m appalled by the the term “tourist”, and think of myself as more of an adventurer. The pyramids, Eiffel Tower, and the Great Wall do nothing for me anymore. I find my tastes are more suited for the spectacular. Although I doubt any of you could afford these trips, I thought I’d share some insight on my favorite vacation spots regardless. Without further adieu, here they are…

1. Narnia– This may be, hands down, the most beautiful place on my list. And I promise, you will not meet nicer talking animals. Everything has that “ancient magic” feel that I’ve grown to love. The first time we visited, we did the seven day cruise package on the Dawn Treader. And to be honest, they acted like we were on some kind of quest. Normally I don’t like being on any kind of set schedule, but our Captain, Caspian was great. Oh and their king, despite being a giant lion, could not be more gentle. Heh, unless you’re the White Witch…I’m sorry that’s Narnia humor for you. When you spend a lot of time in the country, you get a little caught up in the culture. It’s really easy to lose track of time when you’re there. A great getaway though!

2. Atlantis- All I ever hear is how beautiful the snorkeling in Hawaii and the Great Barrier Reef is. But I can’t help but laugh knowing what I’ve seen. Try being escorted to a ten course meal on a conch shell chariot pulled by dolphins. Or enjoy a world class massage by specially trained mermaids (or mermen). Also unlike the surface world, shark fights and submarine races are still legal here. And for those of you concerned about another “oxygen scare”, the technology has since improved. You can actually walk around almost completely uninhibited with the help of an algae breathing mask. My only note would be to stay away from the Sea Serpents. They’re not quite as “open-minded” as the Atlanteans, and still don’t take kindly to humans on the ocean floor.

3. Gotham City– I know what you’re thinking. Gotham is a dirty and disgusting armpit of a city. It’s riddled with crime and violence, so why would you ever want to go there? Those are all true statements, but like I said before, I have a thirst for adventure. I like to live life on the edge, and coming face to face with the Joker and Two-Face is definitely a way to do that. Not to mention the architecture is to die for. I love all the gargoyles. Everything is so gothic, dark, and tortured. It’s almost as if the city is a living, breathing organism. But sadly, Batman was a bit overrated if you ask me. Yes he’s highly competent at what he does, but he turned out to be such a bore. He doesn’t even drink. And like I’ve  said before, I don’t trust a man who doesn’t drink. It means he’s either hiding something, or he’s a religious nut. I get the impression that Batman is a bit of both.

4. Neverland (not the Michael Jackson one)– Whenever me and the misses need a little rejuvenation, we come to Neverland. It’s just a great place to unplug, and forget about “being a grown up” for a while. It’s something about the atmosphere. When you come here, you feel like you’re not even aging. It’s like visiting the best spa or plastic surgeon you’ve ever been to, and then multiply it times 1,000. It’s got tropical beaches, magic flight classes, and pirate shows. What more could you ask for?

5. Endor– I don’t agree with everything that the Empire did, but man did they know how to pick a good forest moon. I used to spend many a summer camping here, until that whole “Death Star” debacle. Finally things have calmed down again, so if you can make it, it’s definitely worth the trip. The Ewoks can get a tad unruly at times, but just flash your blaster pistol, and they’ll settle down. Oh and as fun as it sounds, do not drink and drive a speeder bike. They look fast, and that’s because they are. Trust me, I know from experience. My brother-in-law is suspended in carbonite until they can fix his spine, due to a drinking and speeder accident.

Get Me The Doc

It’s time for another comic book progress report. I had done a small post a week or so ago about my next pitch titled “Doc”. An action comedy milkshake of Grey’s Anatomy meets Die Hard. We explore why a top notch surgeon would quit her job to help out a bunch of murdering psychopaths. Well I have more awesome art from Jerry Gaylord, that I would love to show off.

Our story follows Sara, the reluctant doctor for super villians.

Oh and to add to Sara’s problems, her twin brother is a police detective investigating the rise of super villains in the city.

Here are a few of the super villain concepts that will be appearing in our cast of characters.

And with a mustache to make even Tom Selleck jealous…

Let’s not forget weretigers like guns too.

In addition to the character concepts, we have a couple of fully colored pages. What? No explosions? I’m going home! Relax, we have to save something to show off for the finished pitch.

I hope you guys liked the new updates for Doc, and I’ll be posting more as we move along.

Grey’s Anatomy Meets Die Hard

Originally I set this blog up to keep track of my comic book making “progress.” Which so far, I’ve only done one entry on the subject. Well here goes number two. As the title of this entry gives away, the premise is exactly that- Grey’s Anatomy Meets Die Hard. A doctor for super-villains if you will. But instead of treating the traditional bullet wound for a mobster, it’s laser blasts and telekinsis headaches.

I just wanted to preview a little bit of the art, by the amazing artist Jerry Gaylord. Here’s a couple of finished character concepts for the pitch. For our first guest let’s bring in the doctor, Sara.

 

 

 

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget the super-villains. It’s a weretiger. You’re welcome.

 

 

 

 

That’s all for now. But I will post more as the process moves along.

 

 

Con Men Are Dreamy

This is my latest project with artist Kewber Baal of Jennifer Blood, and I think he really killed it. It’s been completely finished for about a month now, and getting ready to pitch it around in March. Being a con men/con dragon tale (or would that be drag-con? I know hilarious), I figured we had to pay tribute to Paper Moon right?

To me it’s hard to beat a good con movie (yes that Caan too, Rollerball was awesome). Paper Moon, The Sting, and Nine Queens are probably my favorites. Tyrion of the lesser known George R.R. Martin series is somewhat of a schemer, but overall I thought the medieval fantasy world lacked con men/grifter stories. So with my new and totally fresh idea, I think I’m basically going to take the entire (comic) world by storm. Just crush it bra, you feel me? And let’s face it, if you want to make the big bucks, you get into independent comics.

Sorry, I know you skipped this rant to look at the pictures anyway. So just good ahead and look you pervert!

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