So it’s been almost a month — have you picked up a copy of THE BROADCAST? If not, now is the time. Reviews have been incredible and the book is starting to disappear from shelves as word-of-mouth spreads.
Meanwhile, Johanna at Comics Worth Reading is giving away a signed copy of the book this week and winning it couldn’t be easier. All you have to do is visit her site, read this post and leave a comment describing your favorite Halloween costume. That’s it. It’s that easy.
Incidentally, if you aren’t a regular reader of Johanna’s site — you should be. It’s a great break from the typical PR machine that is comics news. I’ll be doing an interview with her later this week so keep your eyes open for that too.
I’m a pretty big fan of the GNR site so it’s nice to have an interview up on the main page. John’s intro is great, calling THE BROADCAST a “vividly entertaining and harrowing book” and he asked some really great questions. Perhaps most interestingly, he gave me a chance to re-examine some of the ideas I originally had for THE BROADCAST. Let’s just say that it could have been a VERY different book.
It’s a nice little article, not only showcasing some of Wells’ most beloved work but the books, movies and television series that his work has influenced. While this isn’t a feature on our book by any means, it’s cool for me on a couple fronts. First, I’m a regular reader of Wired magazine, so being mentioned briefly on that site is pretty cool for me. And second, it’s nice to see THE BROADCAST listed alongside LOST and Jeff Lemire’s THE NOBODY. The writing of H.G. Wells may have influenced them, but those two works have been a huge influence on me.
Also of note, THE BROADCAST is now listed as “In Stock” on the Amazon website. Be sure to grab a copy the next time you’re making an order there. If you’ve already picked up a copy and enjoyed it — well, we would greatly appreciate it if you took a few minutes to stop by Amazon and give us a review.
The book hits comic shelves this week. I can’t wait to hear what everyone thinks.
Noel just did a great little interview over on The Fabler in promotion of our new book together, THE BROADCAST. Not only does he offer some great insight into his process, but he also does an extremely good job selling this book.
On an additional note, the books are in! I just got my copies, and they look fantastic. You’re going to love it. They’ll be hitting shelves soon, but if you’re in the area we’ll be premiering the book at this weekend’s SPX. I’ll be there to meet fans and sign copies. Hope to see you there.
Robert Haines had some very nice things to say about THE BROADCAST over at the Joe Shuster Awards website yesterday. While not a review, he did say that, “Noel has created moody, evocative pages which capture the spirit of the story.” I couldn’t agree more. I keep telling people his art in THE BROADCAST is like an old black-and-white movie on the page. In fact, I’m thinking Noel should be a shoe-in for next year’s Shuster Award. I’m a little biased, of course, but you’ll be hard pressed to find someone who’s doing better work than Noel has done on this book…
Also, and perhaps most importantly, Haines reminded readers that comic shops are ordering indie books less and less, but that readers CAN order the book from their local shop and have it in just a few weeks. Of course, you can also pre-order it through the NBM site and have it delivered to your doorstep.
My friend and fellow Indiana-based writer Bob Freeman had some very nice things to say in his review of THE BROADCAST this morning, saying “This is what you hope for when you dip into the indie market. Smart. Riveting. Complex. Compelling, First and foremost, The Broadcast is a solid literary work…..this should be an instant classic.”
So we’ve gone through all the motions. Script, layouts, artwork, a new script. After all that, this is what the final result looks like:
For me this moment is always somewhat bittersweet.
There’s nothing better than seeing your story come together. At the same time, this is when I have to lock it in and move on to the next scene. No more scripting, no more notes for Noel. This is the point where I have to let go and be happy with the work we’ve done. Probably the most difficult step of all.
Once Noel’s finished his work on a scene it’s time for me to go in and give the dialogue one final polish (I’m something of a perfectionist). Sometimes I don’t need to make changes at all. Usually, however, I do.
For instance, this scene saw the addition of one or two panels on each page. Obviously this means I need to review the dialogue’s placement, making sure it’s still appropriate given the page’s new layout.
From there I want to make sure the dialogue compliments the art. Sometimes Noel’s work isn’t exactly what I pictured in my head. Sometimes it will say enough that I can delete some dialogue. Other times, I need to add a line or two for clarity.
This scene saw a few minor tweaks. The biggest came on page 66. You may remember that initially there was no dialogue in the first panel. When I saw it, however, I didn’t think reader’s would understand the old man was coming out of his desk because he was angry and felt the addition of a line or two was called for.
Once I’ve finished tweaking everything I send a “lettering script” to my letterer with the art. He takes it from there.
Here’s a look at what one of these shortened scripts looks like…
Dawson (standing): PLEASE, TIM. YOURS IS THE ONLY HOUSE WITH A STORM SHELTER FOR TWENTY MILES.
TOM (on left): THE CHURCH IN TOWN HAS A CELLAR.
JACOB (far right): AN’ IT’S FILLED TEN TIMES OVER BY NOW.
TOM: I UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU TWO WANT, I DO. BUT UNTIL MY DAUGHTER IS SAVE NONE OF THIS IS GOING TO BE OPEN FOR DISCUSSION.
JACOB: BUT MY DAUGHTER’S HERE.
TOM (off panel): I KNOW THAT, JACOB.
DAWSON: CAN YOU LET US DOWN FOR NOW? AS SOON AS KIM SHOWS, WE’LL–
TOM (off panel): IT’S NOT GOING TO BE THAT EASY.
JACOB: GODDAMNIT, SHARDER!
TOM: YOU KNOW? I THINK I’VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF THIS!
KIM (off panel): DAD!
TOM (far right): OH, THANK GOD.
KIM: IF I’D KNOWN…
TOM: I KNOW, SWEETHEART.
JACOB: YOU TWO JUST REMEMBER WHO WAS HERE FIRST.
This one doesn’t require much explanation. Once Noel and I are both happy with the layouts, he goes to work. A few weeks later, I end up with something like this waiting in my inbox…
I know, I know. Someone shouldn’t get to work with an artist THIS talented on their first book. But hey, someone has to be the exception that proves the rule. Might as well be me.
Yesterday I shared an excerpt from THE BROADCAST’s script, today I want to give you a look at the next step — layouts.
Essentially, Noel takes the script and does a very rough version of the illustrated page. It’s a vital step in the process because it gives us a chance to make sure the story is being told visually.
While you want the art to work hand-in-hand with the dialogue that will eventually be included, a good artist will tell the story without a word on the page. Just look at the first set of layouts…
Already, we know three men are meeting behind closed doors (see how Noel stuck that panel in — and rightfully so).
We know that two of these guys are here to see the old man, and we know they’re pressing him about something (see how one of them is leaning forward, hands on the desk?)
We know it isn’t going well. Just look at the body language in panel five. Even in these rough drawings you can see he is getting upset.
And finally, we know the situation reaches a boiling point when the young guy finally snaps and pounds a fist onto the desk.
You’ll notice Noel added two panels to the second page. The last panel is a particularly important addition.
I initially wrote this page to end with Jacob’s dirty look — but showing Gavin and Eli as they watch Jacob storm away is a far stronger moment to end with. After all, Gavin and Eli are two of our most important characters. Leaving this scene without showing their dumbfounded reaction would have been a huge mistake.