Thanks to moderators Kristen and Mike and awesome questions from participants, the Goodreads Webcomics Wonderland Q & A was a lot of fun. I figured I’d post up a few of my responses on Tumblr. You can read the whole Q&A here.
Michelle wrote: “I was wondering how many chapters there will be for The Young Protectors, and do you already have a complete outline of where the story is going and how it will end.
And … is the artistic work largely of your own creation or does Adam also provide creative ideas for the panels?
The Young Protectors consists of the Prologue and 5 chapters. And I never begin any story without knowing exactly how it will end. After experiences as a fan with shows like X-Files and Lost, I feel that when a writer sets up a long-term story with tension for an audience, they make a promise to them that they will deliver a satisfying conclusion. While I understand that in the TV world there are limitations that make this hard, to just “make it up as I go along” and hope that a good ending for my story just falls on my head somewhere along the way feels like malpractice to me.
Is the artistic work largely of your own creation or does Adam also provide creative ideas for the panels?
Hmmm. There’s lots of ways I could answer that. I think it’s easiest to just talk about my process. I write what’s called a “full script”, meaning that I describe how many panels are on each page, what you see in each panel and what all the dialogue is. (See an example here.)
Now that’s page 2 of Chapter One of The Young Protectors. As you can see, there’s a fair amount of description there of how I saw it in my mind. (And, as it’s establishing the space, it’s probably even a bit more than what I usually do. What matters most to me is the “acting” of the characters – their facial expressions and body language – and so that’s what I’m most likely to include detail on.)
But compare that to the actual page:
As you can see, there is a ton of detail I never mentioned at all: all the extra characters and how they look, their individual body language and expressions, the ambulance, etc. etc. etc. Did Adam realize what was in my script? Definitely.. Did he (and Vero, the colorist) take it to a whole ‘nother level. Absolutely!
As the “editor” of the comic, I do take a very active role in giving notes to my artists for revisions. But Adam and Vero are such pros, mostly that’s just to clarify subtle things that I failed to mention in my script. Like fimmaking, creating comics is a collaboration. So, as the “writer-director”, while the overall “vision” of the comic may be mine, Adam and Vero provide a ton of creative ideas for every panel. Even though it might feel to me like they are delivering the story exactly as I pictured it in my head (because they nail the story-telling so well), the truth is there are a thousand details both big and small in every panel that I never would have thought of. So, in that regard, as I receive pages from them, I get to enjoy some of the same pleasure my readers enjoy. 🙂