August 10, 2010 by Eric Hobbs
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.
August 10, 2010 by NBM
In a round-up that appeared on Sunday, The Miami Herald praised two of our books (out of a total of 6 only): “A Home for Mr. Easter” and “On the Odd Hours“. For Mr. Easter, by Brooke A. Allen, an exciting new talent, reviewer Richard Pachter said:
August 9, 2010 by Eric Hobbs
This week I wanted to give a behind-the-scenes look at how Noel and I collaborated on THE BROADCAST.
Below I’ve attached a small script excerpt that takes place near the beginning of the book’s second act. I’d love to tell you this is the first step in the creative process, but I’m just not that good. The truth is, this is what my scripts look like after endless outlining, note-taking and re-writing.
You’ll notice I use a sparse writing style, and it’s a very deliberate move on my part. While I usually have an idea how a panel should look, the truth is I try to give the artist as little description as possible. After all, he’s probably going to have better ideas on how the story should be told visually — why am I going to handcuff him with a list of things he “HAS” to include?
Emma and Sharon share a couch in the Shrader living room, three children crammed between them.
Tom sits calmly behind his desk as Jacob and Dawson try to plead their case.
Jacob is in a chair. Dawson stands. The old man’s fingers are steepled in front of him.
DAWSON: PLEASE, TOM. YOURS IS THE ONLY HOUSE WITH A STORM SHELTER FOR TWENTY MILES.
TOM: THE CHURCH IN TOWN HAS A CELLAR.
JACOB: AN’ IT’S FILLED TEN TIMES OVER BY NOW.
Tom leans forward.
TOM: I UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU TWO WANT, I DO. BUT UNTIL MY DAUGHTER IS SAFE NONE OF THIS IS OPEN FOR DISCUSSION.
Jacob fights to keep his anger at bay.
JACOB: BUT MY DAUGHTER’S HERE.
TOM (off panel, softly): I KNOW THAT, JACOB.
Dawson’s talking to Tom but has his eyes on Jacob as he does. He wants to make sure Jacob doesn’t lose his cool.
DAWSON: CAN YOU LET US DOWN FOR NOW? AS SOON AS KIM SHOWS, WE’LL…
TOM: IT’S NOT GOING TO BE THAT EASY.
Jacob slams his fist down on the desk. It catches everyone off guard. They jump back from the outburst.
JACOB: GOD DAMN IT, SHRADER!
Tom comes out of his seat, enraged and ready to let Jacob have it.
Dawson comes between the two as Tom rounds the desk. He has a hand up to each man, hoping he can stop them both.
KIM (off panel): DAD!
All three men turn to see Kim coming into the room.
TOM: OH, THANK GOD.
Kim and her father embrace.
KIM: IF I’D KNOWN…
TOM: I KNOW, SWEETHEART.
Jacob looks over at Gavin and Eli who just appeared in the doorway. He doesn’t look happy.
Fuming, Jacob storms out of the room. He eyes Gavin and Eli as he goes.
JACOB: YOU TWO JUST REMEMBER WHO GOT HERE FIRST.
August 9, 2010 by NBM
“Terrific book by a modern comics master”
And G4 just posted a video review: “Great story-telling and absolutely captivating!”
August 5, 2010 by NBM
“AXE-MAN is proof of Geary’s obvious talent for resurrecting cold cases and presenting them in an easy to read package. With each page the reader is absorbed further and further into a tragic scene long gone but never forgotten, giving the entire book the feel of a scary story told around a crackling campfire.”
“His artwork doesn’t waste time. It’s not airy and light, but strict and a bit ominous. Geary doesn’t use shades of gray in this black-and-white comic the same way Eddie Campbell did in his collaboration with Alan Moore on From Hell; his use of light and shadow is consistently stark. Even the plain faces of the subjects he’s documenting with his illustrations have the spooky quality of old-world daguerreotypes.
My favorite book in the English language is Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, and one of my favorite films is David Fincher’s Zodiac. The horrors of reality are infinitely more frightening than the horrors of the human imagination, and I have great respect for writers and artists who can effectively capture such tales. Rick Geary has successfully done so in The Terrible Axe-Man of New Orleans. This is the first of his true-crime comic books that I’ve read, but I certainly hope it’s not my last.
What can I say? I’m a sucker for a good crime yarn, and Geary delivers.”
August 4, 2010 by NBM
“The Terrible Axe-Man of New Orleans is the latest book in Rick Geary’s “A Treasury of XXth Century Murder” series. While it’s unquestionably ghastly of me to revel in these histories of murder most foul, I do find them irresistibly inviting and even charming.
Geary’s style lends itself perfectly to this shocking tale of unsolved killings in post-World War I New Orleans. His matter-of-fact narration and illustrations are sedate given the gory nature of the murders, but his calm unveiling of the facts actually adds to the unsettling horror. He takes his readers back to that time, draws us into the fearful moments of the spree, and leaves us more than a little unsettled afterwards.
The darkly charming Axe-Man of New Orleans earns the full five out of five Tonys.”
Tony Isabella, Comics Buyers Guide
August 4, 2010 by Eric Hobbs
Putting the book together has been a lot of fun because it’s given me a chance to look through some of the early material that was created in the project’s development.
For Noel, the first step was to develop a look for each of the characters. The “behind-the-scenes” material in the book will give everyone a look at the earliest sketches Noel created, but here’s a quick look at the final designs and a little bit about each of the players in THE BROADCAST…
Eli and Gavin Baker
Eli’s worked his whole life to give Gavin the life he never had. When things got tough for the Indiana farmer, Eli went to the bank and mortgaged everything he had – including his farm – to ensure their survival and a future for his son. Now, Gavin’s returned from a four year stint at university and is making plans to follow the love of his life to New York – if only they can convince her overbearing father to let them go.
Thomas, Emma and Kimberly Shrader
After losing both sons to the war, Thomas moved his family from Chicago to the Indiana plains in hopes he could start anew and atone for the mistakes he made with his boys. That said, years later history seems to be repeating itself. Just as his sons left to enlist, never to be heard from again – now his daughter is talking about a move to New York with the Baker boy he’s never approved of – something he’s ready to prevent by any means necessary.
Jacob and Ally Lee
A broken man, Jacob has allowed a string of bad luck to twist him into a man fueled by jealousy and rage. While he does his best to suppress these poisonous emotions in the name of his little girl, raising her alone is a constant reminder of why he’s become so angry in the first place — a powder keg ready blow.
Dawson and Sharon Winters
The Winters are a typical family trying to make their way out of the Great Depression. Like his friend Jacob, Dawson sold his farm to Thomas Shrader and now works the land he used to own. Unlike Jacob, however, the Winters count their blessings, knowing there is always someone in the world suffering a bit more than them.
August 4, 2010 by markgerry
Creating comics as everyone knows, is the integration of words and pictures. The craft of putting words and pictures on the page to tell a story sometimes takes more then one person. Of course comics grow out of the sweatshops of the lower East Side and the factory mentality so no one person is responsible for the ongoing flow of comics you usually see. In the corporate “comics biz” writers dominate, mainly because they can edit and write since neither involves much time. It takes time to draw a page and artists are usually looked on as dumb laborers.
But that’s the jaded old person view of comics, when I was young and naive and starting out in 1985., I thought making comics was more like this-
This is a back up story from Fantastic Four Annual 5 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. I must have been about ten when I read this in color. It’s probably when I decided to grow up and draw funny books for a living. This really wasn’t far off from the games and stories my friends and I made up on our porches in Cleveland Heights.
I was introduced to Gerard Jones over the phone, that pre-internet mode of communication. He had made a name for himself by making fun of fanboys and the biz in a print magazine, another ancient mode of communication. We talked plot a little bit, and then some football, then some politics, a little jazz, a little more jazz, even modern art . When we started about doing comics with Paul Klee imagery and superheroes, I think I had finally found someone who had the right ideas about comics.
We didn’t smoke cigars or fight with swords, but coffee and plotting and talking was the bond. So for the pleasure of working together, the careful thinking he’s revealed in his actual books, Men of Tomorrow and Killing Monsters he really was the first guy I thought of when it came to creating a graphic novel for Privacy Activism. Because I knew that it was a weird project and it was going to be lots of coffee to clarify it so we started drinking and talking and processing; what is privacy?
August 4, 2010 by NBM
Linda Ackerman of Privacy Activism for whom we published the thrilling graphic novel Networked: Carabella on the Run, is interviewed by Brigid Alverson on Robot 6. The book has just hit stores, don’t miss it! A fun read that will also make you aware of the darker side of the internet…
August 3, 2010 by NBM