5 Recent Life Achievements

I write this entry purely as documentation. Not out of arrogance or to belittle anyone else’s accomplishments. Now disclaimer aside, let’s dive into how amazing I am.

1. I tried Thirst Quencher Gum. Yes, I did indeed try this “miracle” product. You no longer have to wonder every time you frequent a sporting goods store if this gum does indeed do as claimed. Well the answer is, yes it quenches. But only if you would rather grab a glass full of your own saliva than a bottle of water or Gatorade. I drooled so hard I couldn’t form sentences. I felt like I had been hit in the mouth with a blow dart dipped in nerve toxin. I lost all muscle control, and not in a fun way. Here I was, a 29 year old man, trying to drive while my face continued to leak like a canteen hit with buckshot. I needed a mouth diaper. Drenching the entire top of my shirt, like a toddler on his bib. So yes, this gum is effective. But not in a way I would call beneficial. Either way, achievement accomplished.

2. I drank an entire bottle of port and didn’t throw up. Port if you’re unfamiliar, is Portuguese for “NyQuil”. It’s like drinking maple syrup, except with a nice 20% alcohol bump. It burns your lungs when you try to breathe it in. That’s how you know it’s good. I drank this recent bottle on accident because I thought it was regular wine. Which at first, I thought had gone bad. But then I actually read the label, and the proof. So rather than stop or throw it out. I just decided to treat myself. Who knew not reading would be so rewarding. Thanks port.

3. I got a new phone. Now I can actually use the GPS without my phone freezing, and tweet about every time I have wet socks. Finally I can stop holding back and really seize the day! Here I come world.

4. I stopped night binging so my girlfriend didn’t see. I think relationships should be built on trust. And since we recently got engaged, I figured I owed it to her to be honest. Plus if we ever have kids down the line, it’s probably better I stop now. No child should ever wake up to see their father eating a whole bag of recently microwaved jalepeno poppers at 3am. Ever.

5. I started a journal. So far it only has two entries. The first was only one sentence. It read – “Got diarrhea. Not fun.” I’m glad at almost 30, I’ve decided to record life’s important moments. As an older, wiser man, I’m sure I’ll appreciate little personal jewels like that. You guys should all do one. I’ve learned a lot about myself.

Oh and this last piece isn’t an accomplishment. It’s just a cool picture I saw on the wall of a bathroom while I was peeing a few days ago. I think eye patches are cool.

eyepatch

P.S. – Rum Row and the Kickstarter are coming! It did not get posted on 8/18 due to some set backs. So going to post the date when it is 100% locked in. Updates soon. Meanwhile, check out some awesome art by Michele Bandini and colors by Derek Dow.

Rum Row T-colored

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!

Duchess

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

Rum-Row-pag12

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

Rum Row pag12

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!

The Hulk Dinner Party Disaster

Mr. Hulk,

Honestly, I’m not sure you can even read, so I don’t know why I’m writing this. Maybe you can wait until you change back to Bruce Banner to do so. And if that first sentence makes you mad, then fantastic, because I am a hot potato right now. I stuck up for you, and despite my girlfriend’s protests, I invited you to our dinner party. I thought that if given the right opportunity you could behave yourself. Instead you ate with your hands, smashed the entire table, and put two of our guests in a coma. Not to mention the flower vase centerpiece was a family heirloom.

Oh, and another thing. Just because someone politely tells you to wear a shirt to the table, does not give you the right to throw a temper tantrum. That is a perfectly reasonable request. It’s just common courtesy. You should try it sometime. And thanks for jumping through our roof by the way too. It’s always mature to run away from your problems. I had the privilege of cleaning up your mess all weekend, and now we have a sunroof that we never ordered. Don’t worry though, I’d rather buy a new roof than go on a cruise anyway.

Consider this letter, an official ending to our friendship. I appreciated you saving me from that alien invasion, but my patience (and wallet) can only go so far. Good day to you sir.

Your ex-friend,

Andrew

Grown Up Easter

Being an “adult” isn’t always fun. I use that term loosely because I’m unemployed and read comics like they’re about to be thrown in a bonfire. Bills, responsibility, and doing the mature thing are expected of you at a certain age. Yeah stupid, I know. But there’s also a ton of things I can do now, that were never possible as a kid. I mean decorating eggs, and looking for them was awesome. But there was a set of parameters you had to abide by. I’m a grown up now. I’m doing Easter my way. No rules.

1. Eat anything I want– I’m going to wake up and eat Cadbury eggs for breakfast. The whole pack. And if I throw up, so what. That’s one of my goals anyway. If it’s not the chocolate than it’s the booze (am I right?). I’ve even been considering making chocolate armor too, then eating it off. I’ll be like a life-sized chocolate bunny. But I just have to figure out a way to do it without burning my flesh off.

2. Not go to church– Easter growing up meant church was going to be extra long. Plus, people who never go to church go on Easter, making parking impossible. Which I never got the logic in. If you never go to something because it’s boring, and you like sleeping in on Sundays, why go one of two days in the whole year when it’s like a Christian moshpit? You don’t get heaven points, and God still sees you looking at porn.

3. Skip awkward family time– How awesome is it trying to reconnect with family you see three times a year? Oh that’s right, it’s not. You both take turns asking the same questions you did the previous holiday, with more or less the same answers. Then you realize how different you are, and that there’s almost no chance of relating. You’re both just praying for the part where you all watch TV in the same room and don’t say anything. And finally the awkward silence is drowned out by Die Hard until the ham is ready.

4. Paint things Easter colors– A lot of people think of me as the Long Beach version of Banksy. I’m big into street art, and expressing myself through tagging and graffiti art. It’s chill. I also like to wear hoodies, so it’s perfect. I’m probably just going to get a lot of purple and pink paint, and spray it on things. Maybe even draw eggs under pictures or statues of people, like they laid eggs (I know hilarious). So yeah, I’ll probably be pretty busy.

5. Take hallucinogenic mushrooms– Just because I’ve never seen a talking life-sized bunny, doesn’t mean I can’t try. I usually don’t mess with drugs, and just stick with the sauce. But dammit, it’s Easter and I think I owe it to myself. Happy Easter!


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