Sometimes in life, you find yourself staring off into space, making noises, trying to figure out what a giant tree monster would sound like. I think it’s similar to cracking wood, only angry.
I traveled 413 miles last Saturday, according to Google, to my new apartment and new job in breezy Chattanooga, TN. I’ve been busy trying to get my life in order all week. I’m still not really settled, but I think I’m in a position to get back to work now. Normally, I’d give myself another week to do the first page and try to build some kind of lead, but 2 weeks off is 2 weeks more than I would’ve liked, so I’m working without a net. Assuming I can make the deadline, tune in next week to start seeing how our gang is going to deal with what they’ve discovered out in the woods.
I’m a little sad about it because I feel like I’d really sharpened my game by that last page. That’s one of the best things I’ve ever done, Two weeks away from the tablet can’t be good for me. I was still trying to stay up on dailies as best I could, but those are fired off so quickly now, they’re hardly good practice. I’m afraid it’ll take me awhile to get back to the level I was at on page 21. Maybe it won’t, who knows? We’ll see.
I’ve not done a whole lot of writing, truth be told. Certainly not before CFS launched in 2009. Sometimes I wonder how other people create stories. I don’t imagine the process other people use to get there is as weird as mine. It’s like I don’t want to know too much about who the people in my stuff are beforehand. I let what I need them to do decide who they are. Both comic series I’ve done, I came up with a setting, a premise, and a plot before I ever came up with a character. For this, I made a list. I decided it’d be 4 female, 3 male. I randomly assigned them ages between 16 and 19. And I tossed off 1-line personalities and families. “17. Idealistic. Talks a lot. 2 siblings, 1 older, 1 younger.” That’s the entirety of my character creation process. Then I drew heads ’til I had 7 I liked. And then I started dropping them into my outline and letting their personalities, mode of speech and whatever be what I needed to serve the plot from scene to scene, seeing who fit the roles, and they became who they are. Some of them hadn’t even been named yet as I was writing their introductions. Totally ridiculous.
And now, having written 50-odd pages of script, I feel like I know exactly who they are. It sounds so pretentious to me, but they kinda created themselves. I just change my notes if a character doesn’t act like I arbitrarily decided they would. Most of the relationships within the core group as I now understand them are very different from the first scene I wrote for them (Long abandoned). It just kinda happened. It’s all alchemy. Surely other people are more prepared before they’re doing the actual writing.
Hi! You have been reading Closed Galaxy. Unlike the original Comics from Space!, this is a somewhat serious, ongoing story. I’ve never made anything like this before, and I’m kind of teaching myself as I go. It’s been really strange figuring out how to write for this, and I’m the first to admit I’m not the best comics colorist, but I’m learning. I think I’m improving with every page, and I’m having a good time. I hope you’ll stick with me for awhile.
Basically, this is me addressing… Ya know, things seem pretty bad out there in the world. It’s pretty easy to imagine a terrible, dystopian future from here. The kind of cliche, hopeless, gray reality that has been done to death in so many sci fi things. And my reaction to that seems to be trying to imagine a future where it all works out. Where humanity finally gets it together and stops trying to destroy each other and really starts to try to realize their potential. This strip will have conflict, these characters will face challenges and struggle, but… in a general sense, this is a future where we get it right. We solve disease, we solve social inequality, we solve the environment, we solve sustainable energy, we learn to actually like each other and live together, and we enter an era of prosperity. What would that be like? I’ve spent the last six months giving it a lot of thought. And, you know, also thinking about what happens when you drop a city onto a planet you didn’t really investigate first…
This is the tricky part. Writing, drawing, coloring and lettering comics all by yourself takes time. And when you’ve already got a full-time job, time is in short supply. The ultimate downfall of the original Comics From Space! was I felt that I had set a schedule and I had to maintain it. You came here expecting a comic Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and I had to have one (If you were reading, that is, and lemme tell you, if you were, I love you). This lead to me sometimes posting comics I didn’t actually think were funny, or that I didn’t think were drawn very well, just to make my deadline. I want Closed Galaxy to be the best comic I can possibly produce, so I’m not going to set a schedule this time. In a perfect world, I’d put up a page a week. This isn’t a perfect world, as you may have noticed, so I’ll be putting up a page when I can. I’m a little ahead so I can guarantee a few timely updates, but after that I’m just doing my best. I hope you’ll be patient with me. So, let’s say comics should be posted on Mondays. If there’s not a new page Monday morning, I’m still in the lab. I’ll announce new posts on all the social media stuff listed in the side bar, so follow one of those if you’d like to stay in the loop.
I’m pretty serious about this. I’ve done tons of character sketches, clothing designs, vehicle designs and architecture. I’ve built a whole crude city in SketchUp, and have been slowly replacing that with detailed buildings as I need them. There’s a backstory, there’s rules and details for future society. The characters have secrets and pasts, families, and a big, mysterious world to learn about. I’m excited to get into it. I hope you like what I come up with.
Hey, thanks for reading all this. I’ll see you back here next week.