Creating a Comic Book — Dungeon Buddies — Part 2 of ?
What should we work on first? There are three main options: the first scene, bringing the two other main characters into the story, or working on the whole plot.
Exactly how the whole plot will come together hasn’t been worked out yet. I think I have some good ideas for introducing Brute and the girl. Our two main characters will need to travel through something that they don’t want to because it would be dangerous, like a dark forest. They find a way around this, an airship/zeppelin/dirigible balloon/aerostat, whatever you want to call it. Chuck wants one included because his company is Aership Interactive. The problem is that this airship is parked on top of a castle. This isn’t horrible because the castle doesn’t have too many guards. But, there is one — Brute. There is a whole history that goes with him and his race, and an absent king. That’s for another time. Somehow they are able to recruit Brute to their side, they steal the airship and take off. But, the airship crashes right into the forest where they encounter our goblin girl. That’s the basic idea behind introducing the two other main characters and setting up the great adversary which will be driving a lot of the plot, as adversaries do.
But today, I want to work on that first scene. I want Chuck to have a scene that he can start working the art out on and get the style finalized, or at least move in that direction. Trial and error is the key to progress, so let’s get some encouragement before we start with the errors. Here’s a comment that I received about “Creating a Comic Book — Dungeon Buddies — Part 1 of ?”:
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I really hope you can make the comics as you wish, with all the details that you have thought and that you will still think about continuing the story. It’s a great project and I think seeing it grow little by little is a great satisfaction. Good luck! Great work and thanks for sharing with us
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It feels good to be liked. And yet, if you’re going to make progress on anything, like writing, then you have to be okay with being hated too. I’m glad some people appreciate me revealing the whole process of my writing like this. It’s unusual and risky, but I like it and I wish my favorite writers had done it. So, here we are.
Now remember, I’m trying to do this with Chuck’s idea for an interactive electronic comic book in mind with three even divisions going down the page. We have to keep that in mind.
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Panel 1: Takes up the entire page. Gauntlet floating above display mantel in the middle of a cave. Lut and Gaza on either side of the centerpiece with their backs to us facing the gauntlet. Parts of skeletons strewn around the ground of the cave.
1. Lut: Ooooh!
2. Gaza: Aaaaah!
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What do you think? I’m not sure. I think that might be awesome. On the second page we can have the action start. This first page feels like the setup for an epic adventure to me. I’m hoping it comes across as an epic adventure feel. Let’s think about a few options and consider them.
We could have more panels than just the entire page. But, if we did that then those panels would probably have some action in them. In the next series of panels there will be Lut and Gaza taking the gauntlet, the skeletons forming and coming to life, Lut putting the gauntlet on, them fighting their way out of the cave. I don’t really want any of that on this first page, it would mess up that epic feeling of awe.
We could have some narration. I like narration. It might ruin that epic feel as well though. Let’s try some and see what it would be like. Maybe “High in the X Mountains there is rumored to be a gauntlet of immense power.” That could work, maybe. “High in the X Mountains there is rumored to be a gauntlet of immense power. And it’s worth a lot of money.” That gives us a lighter feel. The reason that I have “X Mountains” is because I’ll think about the name later. “A gauntlet of immense power and worth was hidden long ago in the X Mountains. Rumored to be guarded by demons, everyone that had gone looking for it had never returned.” That seems alright. We could run this along the top.
Let’s think about how this might tie into the overall plot though. We could have an exiled king that wants to gain power again. I like that idea. This ties in nicely with Brute. He’s part of a race that served the kings and committed a lot of atrocities. But, the king lost the last major battle many years ago and fled. Most of his army of Brutes were killed, but a few went with him. One was injured and by the time he made it back to the castle the king was already gone. A council had taken over and they told him to guard the entrance. That’s what he’s been doing ever since. Maybe the girl goblin that we encounter in the woods had parents who fought as part of the alliance against the king and were killed in the war. That’s pretty good. Maybe there was an almost undefeatable weapon for some reason. Maybe it’s a full suit of armor that makes one almost invincible. Maybe it’s when the gauntlet and a specific sword work together that the power happens. I’ll have to work on that because I need a way to save the day by destroying the gauntlet and I’m not seeing how that is going to work yet. We could also do the son of the exiled king that wants to claim his rightful kingdom, but I like the exiled king himself more because he already has the history of being cruel and power-mad. That could change the narration a bit.
“After the alliance won the war, the grand council sent a soldier and a witch to hide the Gauntlet of Kings in the X Mountains. Many had gone looking for it, none had returned.” That’s decent, but I’m not sure it goes with our picture very well, and I like the picture idea that we have. We could divide the first page. The top panel could have this narration with an image of two shaded figures walking along the ridge of a mountain, that’s the soldier and the witch. Then, the bottom two panels could be our epic scene with Lut and Gaza staring at the gauntlet. I like it! I think that’s the one. Alright, see what I mean about trial and error. Let’s try this again.
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Panel 1: Top third of page. A mountain ridge with two shadows walking along it, a soldier and a witch. Kind of dark and mysterious, ominous.
1. Narration: After the alliance won the war, the grand council sent a soldier and a witch to hide the Gauntlet of Kings in the X Mountains. Many had gone looking for it, none had returned.
Panel 2: Bottom two-thirds of page. Gauntlet floating above display mantel in the middle of the cave. Lut and Gaza on either side of the centerpiece with their backs to us facing the gauntlet. Parts of skeletons strewn around the floor of the cave. They have no weapons ready.
1. Lut: Ooooh!
2. Gaza: Aaaaah!
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I like it. We have a serious piece and a less serious piece. It still seems epic. It’s ominous. We know a ton about the world and the history already. We know there’s magic. We know there was a war and an evil king, that this gauntlet is special and had to be hidden. We know about part of the political structure. We know a witch was involved so it seems logical when the skeletons come alive. We also have the soldier and witch characters now and maybe they’ll come into play later at some point. Right now they’re legendary figures that we know nothing about. Why were they chosen? What happened to them? Could be useful at some point. We also show that Lut and Gaza are pretty good adventurers, but they kind of seem a little bit like goofy amateurs at the same time. It’s a good mix.
Other things to consider here. I’ll think about the name of the mountain later. I need to think about a whole map. Obviously there will be a town, a castle, the dark woods, some mountains, there has to be water of some sort, and whatever else I think of. The map will trail off to things we don’t know about yet. I want a page of character intros too, but I’m not sure if I should do that in the first book because we haven’t met the characters yet. Maybe for the second issue. I might have something like our four main protagonists: Lut, Gaza, Brute, and the goblin girl that I haven’t named yet. They’ll have little taglines, maybe in order: The Fearless Leader, The Sneaky Sidekick, The Guardian, The Huntress. Something like that, maybe.
More things to consider. I think it’s a good idea to have the dialogue bubbles of the characters slightly different, just with different colors around the edge. We’ll need four colors for our four protagonists, and maybe just one color for everyone else. Maybe the adversary should have a special color too? We’ll see how it works out. I want the dialogue boxes to be smooth, meaning more like circles. This shape might change sometimes in special circumstances. I want the narration box to be rectangular. Narration should probably have it’s own color too. Instead of a colored border we could lightly color the background of the narration box. That seems like a good idea.
Also, I have to work out the power behind the airship. I don’t want to do steampunk, that’s a world that has steam power. This world doesn’t have steam power. So, I’ll probably do it with magic unless I want to get some sort of animal running on a wheel or something. Probably magic.
I think that’s good progress. We accomplished what we wanted to accomplish. There is something for Chuck to start working on and get the art style tuned in, along with the overall look of the comic. Let me know what you think.
You can find more of what I’m doing at http://www.JeffreyAlexanderMartin.com