Makeshift Musings and Comic Book Bliss
There's been a lot of talk about webcomics as a business lately. More than ever before, webcomics are sustaining themselves and their authors through their hard work and promotion. Exciting times seem to be right around the corner for the industry as a whole.
But if you're not a webcomic guru with tens of thousands of readers, what then?
The last couple of columns I've written have been more like pep talks then How-To material. I must be working through some inner demons of my own or something while I write these, trying to type out things I do or want to do as some sort of record of what I'm thinking. In turn, that got me thinking...
I think Gremlins eat away at my time.
Let me clarify that. I KNOW that Gremlins eat away at my time. I don't know what color they are just yet or how tall they are, but they've got to be real. There's no other explanation for hours and hours tumbling away with no way for me to get the time back.
Last column I stressed the importance of starting, of making that push and getting the momentum to start your own comic project. If you don't start, then you'll never know what's possible. But, there's no need to throw caution completely out the window.
For the love of all that's holy, create a buffer of strips/pages BEFORE you start posting them on the web.
Over the last few columns we've talked about building your plot, creating a cast of characters, and we've been moving forward at each step to the real deal: writing the comic. All these pieces of the foundation have been laid and now it's time to build on top of it with our real story. It's time to stop analyzing and start doing.
You sit down relaxed, all ready to write Chapter 1 Page 1 and then...
...Fear sets in.
Continuing our talk about building stories and crafting characters, let's touch upon character personality. When building a character, we need to decide upon character traits, empathy, flavor, motivation and contrast. All three are fancy ways of saying "What does this character portray to the audience?"
Continuing with our theme from last monthâ€™s column, weâ€™re delving into the core of telling stories and making sure that the foundation weâ€™re building is strong, instead of trying to create a comic from thin air. Making a good story means doing a lot of thinking up front, but don't be intimidated, because once the ideas start flowing, you won't be able to stop!
In my last column I discussed the merits of good dialogue and the painful way that most comic dialogue sounds when read out loud. The response to the column was the best I've had so far, with quite a few e-mails and posts responding at length about it.
So, what is this column morphing into?
I'm going to change pace a bit and dole out some advice for would-be writers or critics of comics at large. Take note and feel free to disagree with me...
Here's a little exercise: Take your favorite comic and read the dialogue out loud.
Expanding Your Comic-Reading Horizons
It's easy to let your comic-reading patterns become stagnant after a while. Everyone has their favorite comics that they read every month in print or multiple times a week on the web. These are familiar characters, reassuring faces, and a standard that you can count on. But with that set pattern comes a slippery slope: You stop looking for anything else.