With gamescom, stag dos, weddings, and various trips making the past couple months something of a blur, I’ve finally had time to sit down and gather my thoughts for a few seconds. Although the funny thing about reflection is sometimes you stare too long and don’t get anything done…
So, here we are.
Jen is currently lettering the first chapter of our graphic novel Butterflies and Moths, so we’re seeing what works, what doesn’t and if there needs to be tweaks to the script so we don’t cover up all her lovely artwork with my words. It’s a process of slight trial and error, but Jen’s good judgement and some wise guidance from our publisher, Insomnia, is creating some pleasing results.
These aren’t 100% representative of the final product, but will give you an idea of how the whole thing may look when it’s all put together.
Thanks for reading it so far – more to come…
One rather telling page from Jen’s stunning work on graphic novel, Butterflies and Moths. In case you didn’t suspect already – this probably won’t be a happy tale.
Jen’s working like a machine right now to bring you more, so we may have something big to show you soon…
Happy New Year!
Okay, so it’s coming a bit late in the day, but as the first entry of 2010 it’s still relevant. Which in turn reflects my hopes that this blog will be more relevant this year, through a combination of more frequent updates (or at least more than once per month) and the formation of my publishing plan, which is coming together bit by bit.
But we’ll get into all of that as we go on. The first thing which the newborn gaze of 2010 will turn to is forthcoming 12 page story, The Twilight Cleaner, drawn by James Daniels. The artwork is finished, the pages are lettered and so it’s just going through a final round of minor edits before we can put it to bed and declare the first project of the year completed and ready for publication.
So, as expected, here’s the first lettered preview of our British vampire story, The Twilight Cleaner (to be published in Insomnia Publications’ forthcoming Layer Zero anthology). Hope you enjoy it and see you again soon…
(click to enlarge)
Merry Christmas to you all 🙂
Here, as promised, is the preview to forthcoming graphic novel, Butterflies and Moths. Jen‘s artwork isnt totally finished in some cases, and obviously un-lettered, but there shall be more in the coming months.
If you’re still wondering what the book is about, well, here’s a short teaser…
What would you do if you were forced to kill innocent people, without warning?
What would you do if you met a person…
… who changed everything?
…when crazed comic book creators meet up.
After hearing some of our conversations and seeing images like this, our publisher’s creative director, Nic Wilkinson, said (and I quote):
“Not sure I have ushered in the apocalypse in some way, putting these two together!”
Too late, Nic! Toooo late…
Butterflies and Moths: created by true whack-jobs. Pre-order now, kids! We want to break your brains early!
Merry Christmas/happy holidays!
I know I’ve been talking about a story I wrote which was recently released and on sale, but now is not the time to discuss that – we’ll come back to it in a month or so when the time is more appropriate. Instead, I’m going to focus on a story which is possibly going to get me into slight trouble next year, albeit entirely accidentally.
The Twilight Cleaner.
Due for a mid 2010 release in Insomnia Publications’ next Layer Zero anthology, The Twilight Cleaner is a vampire story.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking…
In the wonders of typical creative coincidence, the emergence of the Twilight books/films has become a big ol‘ double-edged sword for me in the past 12 months, and will continue to be so for… well, as long as the films and books are popular. And The Twilight Cleaner (or TTC, as I’ll refer to it) is the crux of that, because people will think I wrote it in response to Stephenie Meyer’s popular teen-vampire saga.
Thing is, I wrote TTC way back in 2006 before I’d ever heard of the Twilight books – it’s just taken this bloody long to get my story out, as per the glacial world of publishing (and almost to prove how slow the wheels move in this industry, it took Meyer 2 years to get Twilight released, from writing it and the book deal in 2003 to publication in 2005, before the film option came in 2007… and this is considered ‘quick’ by normal standards).
So what’s going to cause the hoo-ha, if any at all? Well, I re-read my script recently as very talented artist, James Daniels, is currently drawing it, and I made the realisation it could be seen as a counter/commentary on the Twilight novels.
See, when I wrote this short 12 page story, it was for another publisher who was looking to complete an anthology of horror shorts. I knocked out the tale while on holiday in Florida for my Mom’s birthday, the editor was happy with it and we were all set to go.
Then the project fell through as the publisher disappeared.
This was the second time a publisher fell apart before my story was published, so the hammer didnt quite fall as hard as the first time, but I was still a little saddened by the whole thing. Yet, I had a story written and finished, and that’s something that never goes to waste.
Fast forward to 2007, and a friend at work introduces me to James (who also works at Sony), a superb young artist looking to get into the comic book industry. I fire him over TTC and he creates some samples, which turn out to be phenomenal.
Jump to 2009, and my first ‘high street shop bookshelf story’, Butterflies and Moths: Fragile, is released by Insomnia. They’re looking for more shorts of a twisted kind to fit the theme of the next book, and TTC is a perfect fit. James is still keen to work on it and starts to deliver the goods, of which you’ll see below in the first public preview of the story.
Now, The Twilight Cleaner is a story about a young female vampire called Kira, who is forced to clean the roads at night at the command of her vampire sire. Unable to hunt during the day, they prey on the drunk, the violent, the homeless and others who roam town during the twilight hours. Kira is fed up, a lonely figure of enforced servitude and boredom, but her vampirism doesnt let her make any friends, while loyalty to her ‘master’ keeps her enslaved, ‘cleaning’ the streets in more than one sense (albeit in very unsavoury ways), against her will. And after acting as the bait for countless victims, feeding off those mostly undeserving, she’s had enough…
So basically, The Twilight Cleaner is about a young woman looking to fight against the conformity of what she’s been told she can be and what she’s been told she is. Trying to take control of her destiny and not be governed by oppression, especially that of a man stuck in his outdated, sexist ways.
In essence, something of an opposite to the Twilight saga’s main character, Bella.
The fact Kira’s a vampire (who looks around the same age as Bella, but is a lot older), seems to reject the submissive ideals that Bella falls into, the use of ‘twilight’ in the title and another plot point that comes up in the story, would suggest some sensitive Twilight fans looking too deeply into the material with this unintentional commentary in mind may think I’m being mean-spirited. “‘Twilight Cleaner‘? Who does this guy think he is?! Is he suggesting his story is ‘cleaning up’ the Twilight saga by trying to be better or something? That this is how vampires are supposed to be? How Bella should act if she was turned?” and so on.
I admit, it’s a happy accident that both the third film in the Twilight saga, Eclipse, and The Twilight Cleaner will share a release date within bare months of each other next summer. But like everything else between the two properties, these are coincidences that I can only smile at. Like this 🙂
Whether or not people will even notice my little story anywhere near the juggernaut of the Twilight saga is hugely debatable, even if it’ll be sitting in the same book shops next year. In fact, all of this only occurred to me when a friend pointed out another story of mine had ‘twilight’ in its title (A Twilight’s Promise, which has no vampires in it, promise), at which point I realised what had happened. But it gives me something to write about, and hell, made me realise that things do indeed happen for a reason – The Twilight Cleaner will come out during a time when vampires are very much in-fashion again in the media, between the likes of Twilight, True Blood and other vamp-related properties.
Anyway. Here’s an early and unfinished 2 page preview of The Twilight Cleaner fresh from James’ drawing board. There will be more artwork previews coming up soon, not just for this but also for Butterflies and Moths, and a bit more detail on what stories I have coming out in 2010. It should be a huge year between a short story, graphic novel, planned mini-series (more on that soon) and potentially, hopefully something absolutely huge come this time next year… keep your fingers crossed for me…
Apologies on the lateness of this entry – there’s a full update on the way, I promise. Life has just been a little unkind recently, so I’m playing catch up with a lot of things.
In the meantime, another piece of art from Jen‘s lovely artwork for our forthcoming graphic novel, Butterflies and Moths?
This is Page 4 from Butterflies and Moths, the first splash page of many in the story and one of the most telling in terms of one of the main themes… Jen’s still working on it, but I think it’s doing a good job of looking pretty good so far…
Catch you soon…
Which is my gushing way of saying, graphic novel Butterflies and Moths is progressing like a beautiful dream.
The talented Ms Jen Gyllblad, artist for Butterflies and Moths, is impressing with each page. And with each page it’s becoming apparent that she’s destined for big things – not just because she has clear, expressive line-work, can pull at your emotions with a great grasp for facial expressions and body language, and has a watercolour painted style that compliments the tale so perfectly…
…but because she can tell a story.
Comic book artists, like comic book writers, can be looked down upon by snobs because of the negative way the medium is perceived by some. But if there’s one thing apparent, it’s that you can have the talent to be a wonderful artist and create an emotive picture, it’s an entirely different thing to do that while telling a clear story in smaller panels, because there’s so much to take into mind.
Case in point. Pages 2 and 3 of Butterflies and Moths. I’ve put both the uncoloured early pages and coloured near finished/unlettered pages together so you can see the progression between the early and latter work, how it developed and how the entire mood can change or be augmented.
While you can get the sense of something being told here by Angel’s body language and expressions (the latter is only something you get only once near the end to cap off the earlier clues), notice how the colour, lighting and framing of the pages work to give off a certain emotion, through dark blues, purples and browns, which play off two of the brighter hues on the pages (the golden scales and her t-shirt, the former almost popping off the page for a very good story related reason).
Even the panel shape and style play their part – rectangular panels create a rigid conformity and imprisonment that Angel is trapped within, given from the very first panel (which is large but shows Angel very alone, flushed to one side of the page even with space around her).
One thing that wont usually be noticed is the sense of visual story symmetry in just two pages – see how the first page uses one long horizontal panel to start, followed by six smaller panels? Then the next page uses six smaller panels to frame the end of one long vertical panel. So the page flows visually from one to the other to help build the scene, using subtle similarities and differences so your eye naturally combines the two pages (which will be published side-by-side in the book) and creates a full image of what is going on as Angel goes from dark isolation into the light of ‘freedom’. And all of this is created with enough space in each panel for the lettering/text captions to come in later.
It’s all stuff you can take for granted or overlook easily, but seems to come very naturally to Jen, because I’m sure as heck not specifying all of this in my script – she’s taking what I’ve written and making it – in a visual sense – work. And as a comic book writer, you cant ask anything more from an artist.
Believe me, it’s not as easy as it looks.
More pages to come…
I’m still here! Honest. I am.
It’s been a busy month, so apologies on the lack of updates – and to be honest, much of it has been spent trying to write my fantasy drama graphic novel, Butterflies and Moths. It’s five chapters long, and I’m currently at the middle part of chapter four, which brings me up to about 170 pages of A4 script and around 50 more to go. Phew.
The finish-line is in sight, and while it’s not always been an easy task, I can say that for most of the part it’s been an enjoyable ride. Naturally it would have been even more enjoyable if I had more time to spend on it, but it’s a good feeling to be close to completing my first major piece of fiction for publication.
Butterflies and Moths – early/sketched unfinished promo material
There’s been lots of artwork floating around if you’ve been visiting my co-creator Jennie Gyllblad’s site (where there’s plenty more to look over), but I’m going to highlight the first couple pages which are currently in a very early sketch form, along with some other art which is closer to being finished. If you’re wondering what exactly is going on in them, the answers will be clear in due time… and as the pages become more complete and lettered you’ll start to build a picture of the sort of themes and issues Butterflies and Moths will be dealing with. In fact, if you look closely enough from these pages, you can probably spot a few already…
Page 2 (early sketch, unlettered – click to enlarge)
Page 3 (early sketch, unlettered – click to enlarge)
Page 9 (coloured, unlettered – click to enlarge)