Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Writing Comics Is Hard!

I read the Fawkes one-shot, which you can tell from its release date means that, as usual, I am behind. (I give it an A+, but one thing was weird. I thought Bruiser was a healer and that Fawkes was a sword user of some sort? Maybe they all have multiple characters, or maybe they re-rolled when Riley joined to accommodate her character choice? Anyway, when that is the only nit that I pick, you're doing pretty good.)

Anyway, whenever I read a comic book, especially one I like, I always want to try my hand at it, then I remember, I suck at it. I've mentioned before that I think writing comics is harder than writing actual, paginated fiction.

My main contention is that you have a lot more freedom in a world of pure text. One of my friends told me about a comic book artist who doesn't draw feet well. So, he avoids drawing them. If I don't like describing feet in a novel? I just never mention what feet are doing, and since it is all words, I don't have to try too hard to make that work. You can only go so long without feet in a comic.

Writing comics is like writing a play or script, only you don't have actors. You have an artist; you can't cheat with vocal inflections (you have to cheat with lettering). You can't add stage directions for people to understand the intent. You have to have it drawn out; the action needs to be clear and clean.

Speaking of action, your layout limits you (or frees you!) Being art, you get to get away with things. You can have fantastic settings or creatures and make it infinitely more real than you can with just words. Unless, like me, you suck as an artist. Then, you need to find a good artist. Or make a sprite comic, but that's also hard, I guess. I wouldn't know. Because, you still don't have the complete freedom that the written word gives you.

I'm not saying writing is easy. Just, that I find it easier than even planning out a good comic book. Action takes up a lot of space, the same with text. How much space do you think even one scene from the Dana Littleton story would take? Remember, I originally envisioned that as a high-action comic, but I had too much, more than I thought could possibly fit. So, I reworked it as a written piece. I'm happy with it, because I don't think I'm skilled enough to put all that information into comic form.

Let's look at another idea that I would want to make as a comic, but this is one I don't think I can turn into prose. Our hero's name is Kilgore Braineater. He is an alien from space; his ship crash landed in Loch Ness. He is a humanoid, purple shark. His parents were killed in the crash; he is rescued by a submersible oceanographer searching for the Loch Ness monster, who is also a Scottish lord and a member of the English Royal Society, which, in addition to its other duties, is in charge of stopping rogue mad scientists and exploring scientific anomalies. Even among crazy cranks he is considered a crazy crank for searching for the Loch Ness monster; he adopts our hero.

This is, of course, in a fictionalized future where Scotland is seeking to democratically break away from England, and the Irish have decided to do it militarily. The prime plot is Irish rebels trying to sway the Scots to military action. The secondary plot is Kilgore (who honestly likes Haggis, and so his English schoolmates call him "Braineater") growing up and wrestling with his identity as a Scotshark and his loyalty to the Queen. Also, being a freakin' alien.

Now, imagine trying to do that in, what, 32 animated pages? And tell a story. I just don't know how to do it! It is beyond my skill set.  So, I will sadly shelve the Braineater. So, I wonder. Are there people who think that writing comics is easier than writing prose? If so, let's make a deal.



With the Dragon Dice update still in limbo, I am out of secret projects! I have been toying with, starting on the next short story, posting the page of fiction a day up. One: It is lazy, easy content. Two: It holds me accountable. Anyway, I realize that this topic is actually on my Write d20 ideas list! So, that means, I had to update it. New theme: Things I can't do.

1. Everyday heroes as PCs
2. I cannot write music and this makes me sad
3. Why comedy is harder than drama
4. Making magic magical
5. Post a link to a short story; describe the writing and editing process
6. Playing ethical villains
7. Play a random song on Pandora; write a short fiction piece using lyrics from the song.
8. Making fantasy travel fantastic
9. Unity of purpose (in writing fiction)
10. Unity of purpose (in designing table top adventures)
11. Applying history to your table top adventures
12. Popular history is still history
13. Using history in other disciplines
14. History online
15. History, as movements and reactions
16. Living History: What Our Memoirs May Look Like
17. Why modern politics is not history (Yet!)
18. Historical perspective: the Internet
19. Why I studied history: True stories are important
20. Living history

1 comment:

  1. Yes. He does wear a breastplate, a kilt and fight with a Scottish claymore. Why do you ask? Oh. Mainly because he is an anthropomorphic shark, and therefore more physically buff than a human could be so has more control over such a huge weapon. Why, no. I don't think this is a lot of thought for something that will never happen.


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