sequential daze

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Bad Karma - p209

Page 4.209 now online - sorry this post has been a bit slow!

Relevant to issues raised in the previous post (ie trying to re-establish the scene, move the story along - all without losing momentum) this page touches base with most of the junior cadets in page 4.181... some 28 pages ago! Despite the fact there are so many characters floating around already I'm never adverse to introducing more... especially when it helps round out the reading experience!

I think it helps to flesh out this large epic world too - if we think of how many people we come into contact with at most educational institutions (whether it be school, college, university an academy, etc) it's a sizable number of folk. Ninety percent of them we can never remember the name of anyway but we might remember their face from somewhere. To that end I'm trying not to draw too many random generic faces in the background... a face seen in the background might very well pop up again later in a slightly expanded role.

So what is the purpose of Hamish and Janice and Ali and Yuki (not seen on this page)? At the moment it's nothing more than friendship and camaraderie for Montana-Rose and Jemima. They're peers (all being witch and wizard super hero cadets) and, because of this, probably more significant in the lives of Montana-Rose and Jemima than their follow first year classmates.

Another thing about this page was an attempt to show how Freya's 'vybe' ability ( the power to change people's emotional state) could be used effectively to calm the nerves of people in stressful situations. Probably quite useful!

Also, we get to see Hoodoo in action summoning the Fiery Scimitar of Qod. This was a fun sequence to draw and the last panel is admittedly rather much more comic-book like however it seems to work nicely with the sudden explosion of bright warm colours. Given that not much is known about these characters (Vertigo and Hoodoo) - I'm still shaping them and discovering aspects of them myself - it's exciting to be able to add this element to what Hoodoo does (so far we've only seen her teleport before this). In part this is what the avatar sequences are all about - adding some physical action but also showing what these super heroes can do and how they work together.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Bad Karma - p208

Page 208 now online.

A switch in scenery back to Central Tower. The story will continue to cut between the various locations over the next several pages while I try to keep up with everything that's happening. A problem with the serialised action comic format is that it can take a lot of time to publish a short sequence of events and true to form Magellan has taken a number of months to move through what has effectively been one hour at Magellan Island. In fact most of the story in chapter four has taken place in a 24 hour time frame and has been spooling out now for almost two years!

So we're back at Central Tower now which is where Force Magellan and the 'Future Force' (or time travellers/ chroners) have come under attack by two of DragonKlaw's avatar dragons. This page picks up immediately after the last panel of the page we last saw the Central Tower action (page 195) - no relative time has passed between then and this new page. The action at South Tower (with Nadine, Sioni, Charisma and Bill) and at Security HQ (Kaycee, Vostok, Chang, Maya, Redd and Seth) has all been taking place more or less at exactly the same time.

Initially I found this latest page particularly difficult to get off the drawing-board. In large part the problem arose from the need to slot back into the scene at Central Tower without losing momentum. There's a need to re-orient the reader with a reminder of the bio-nexus (which the assembled witches and wizards haven't yet had a chance to start 'hacking' with their incantation) plus there's also Victory Man still tangling with the blue dragon avatar. And if I can say so, that drawing of Victory-Man came up pretty well, eh?! Also, I like having Ranger Bill call him V-M Two - it's about as casual as you can while facing imminent death!

Anyway, there's a lot going on and it isn't about to let up for our heroes and heroines any time soon!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Bad Karma - p207

Page 4.207 now online!

And so we say goodbye to Vostok... or do we? Most readers probably had a strong inkling that Vostok was going to do a runner (as much as floating bright green gerkin with fluoro-pink tendrils can do a runner) as soon as Kaycee eyed off that toilet door at the end of the last page. Or at least, the readers leaving comments had a fairly strong inkling. How far Vostok gets will remain to be seen!

Of course the main issue here, especially from Kaycee's point of view, is that this is another bungle. Things haven't been going very well for her in this story: the increasingly horrendous hallucinations and nightmares at the worst possible time; being brushed off by her idol and inspiration Go!Anna; derailing her teams tactical training exercise in the Robo-Mat; and now losing Vostok - all with the threat of a reassessment of her cadetship hanging over her head. And since she doesn't realise the reassessment came about due to the machinations of Karma/future Maya/Miasma she's going to be feeling the pressure right about now.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Bad Karma - p206

Page 4.206 now online.

There's not a lot to say about this particular update - Kaycee's on the hunt for a receptacle full of water in which to place the rapidly dehydrating Vostok whilst the building shakes around her. It's worth noting though that the last several pages have been the most the story has focused on Kaycee in quite some while. Given that she hasn't been a central part of much of the narrative it doesn't seem to have diminished her overall importance within the story, at least I hope not.

Another thing to note is that, if there's any reason that this current chapter has blown out to more than 200 pages when I had originally envisaged 100, it's because of scenes like this. When I initially outlined the story, I expected the whole DragonKlaw/Miasma thing to be sorted within 20 pages of 'Future Force' (Maverick, Victory-Man, et al) appearing on the scene. That would have happened only without all the additional character moments that have developed since that point some 60 pages ago. Those moments include: Kaycee and Vostok; the slowly unravelling mystery around Maverick (future Kaycee); the introduction of second and third year cadets; Charisma's apparent 'future-shock'; etc etc. In the meantime there are also plenty of loose threads still needing to be resolved! Despite all that I don't think the story is out of control - I know pretty much where it is going and what the outcome will be... the issue is how many more pages it will take before it gets there. I decided a while ago to go with the flow and allow the mini-threads to play themselves out without indulging them and, conversely, without abruptly terminating them.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Bad Karma - p205

A new page of Magellan - 4.205 - online. As mentioned in the last blog entry I'll be blabbing about this new page, might contain spoilers, etc!

So now the crunch is on - six characters (Kaycee, Chang, Maya, Redd (Justine Kef), Seth and Vostok) with a dragon soon to be breathing down their necks. Redd is a decisive in-charge trainer - like Seth her role is fairly functional and she doesn't have a strongly nuanced emotionally driven character. Her background is somewhat a blank, although I do have a fairly extensive back story for her - and I did mention in the comment thread on GS that her red skin and hair colour manifested at the same time as her super strength power did in her early teens.

Redd is able to focus the very green cadets (they've only been training at Magellan for about two months after all) to the task at hand. An experienced wizard or witch would have had Seth free with a wave of the hand but for Chang his repertoire of spells is limited and he's having trouble thinking past the last spell he cast - see Red Team vs Evil Weevil. Maya had been panicking when the dragon struck initially but has recovered enough to take direction and to take the initiative in using her illusion powers to relieve Seth's pain.

As for the illusion Maya transports Seth into, it probably says a lot more about Maya than it does about Seth. All illusions she creates are manifestations of her own mind rather than the other way around.

Kaycee meanwhile, having been in a hallucination when the dragons first appeared, emerging abruptly from the hallucination following Vostok's psychic intervention is somewhat disoriented and still a bit in shock. Nevertheless, she is still able to snatch up Vostok and seek to save him from 'suffocation'. I should note that I had her inform Redd of Vostok's peril rather than just dashing out the door on a rescue mission because it would stand to reason Kaycee wouldn't necessarily know if Vostok was a plain water, salt water or some other liquid solution dwelling alien lifeform.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Bad Karma - p204

New update went up yesterday - page 4.204! This one came in just under the wire. It's lucky that Sydney has switched to summer time and daylight savings has finished in Texas (where the Graphic Smash server sits) - as this gives me a whole extra two hours to work on a page before the auto-updater kicks in. I'd like to be a lot further ahead in my work schedule - have a buffer of pages even - but it just doesn't seem to happen that way. The pressure of a deadline is a definite motivator but I think I need to move a bit beyond that.

Anyway, I thought I'd provide some commentary on the page... it may end up having spoilers so perhaps read the update before you continue...

So it looks like Seth has been pretty badly hurt. Seth is the kind of character that doesn't seem to have been noticed much - admittedly his purpose to date has only been to pump out info (his name probably should have been Exposition Dude) and he doesn't strike much of an emotional chord as a result. Seth is a hard core nerd and probably spends most of his free time gaming or hacking or cracking or solving calculus or whatever it is hard core nerds enjoy doing. He's a decent guy though!

Vostok is in peril too. His robot's fish bowl head has cracked open, spilling him onto the ground where he is as helpless as any fish out of water. (I added the 'flop flop' sound FX for extra dramatic effect!) Vostok is another character that I created in a kind of off-hand way to fill a specific role (refer: Seth, above) but who has quickly developed a cult persona all his own - I enjoy writing for him and the readers appear to dig him immensely. If I was DC or Marvel I'd be preparing a Vostok 8 issue mini-series- there is a massive back story for this little guy that I would so love to tell. Stretched as I am work wise, the chance of that happening are very slim... but there might be another solution. More on that, if and when it happens!

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Ego puff!

Some time ago I dropped off leaflets promoting Magellan into my local comics store and asked if they could display them somewhere on the counter. (They said yes, BTW.) One of the workers there said she'd check out my webcomic. Cool! Several weeks later I asked if she had but she confessed to having lost the leaflet and web address, so hadn't - but did ask for the URL again which I dutifully supplied. Not wanting to seem like I was badgering her though I never asked again if she had read it. If she was going to read it she was going to read it, I figured.

Yesterday, over a year later, I walked into the store to buy my weekly stash of comicky goodness and got greeted with a very enthusiastic "Hey! I finally read your comic and had a real blast!!" That was cool. Very cool! We talked a little bit about it - I mentioned that I had been hoping to self-publish before the recent Supanova Con in Sydney but that the plan got derailed by my poor planning and lack of finance. She said that I should look to Dark Horse since they had recently published the sublime Perry Bible Fellowship (and what a wonderful book it is). It's nice that she thought Magellan was in that kind of category - personally, I'm not expecting any offers from Dark Horse any time soon... but I did leave the store with a small ego boost all the same!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Trying a new approach...

Despite my various attempts at utilising this blog continually being stymied by my general forgetfulness and busy-ness on other projects I refuse to believe I cannot actually maintain a blog!! Ever the optimist. Anyway, I've decided to try a new approach and make this particular blog be specifically about my ongoing webcomic Magellan and/or anything else that tangentially intersects with it. Short and to the point entries with the purpose being to discuss the creative process and other developments more than anything else. Let's see what transpires!

To that end, I should mention that I've been working on the Magellan Comixpedia page... I'd link to it directly except that 'pedia is down at the moment. Now that I've got my brain around the whole wiki-editing thing I'm really getting into it. Magellan has such a huge cast with so many characters I figure that using Comixpedia constructively will allow me and the readers to keep track of them their affiliations, powers, backgrounds, etc. More info soon!

Also, the current storyline Bad Karma just broke the 200 page barrier. I don't know if this is a good thing or not but it sure is a hell of a lot of pages and the longest story I've ever drawn. Certainly I am having a blast with the story and it's still heading in the right direction, but I really did expect that it would only take about 100 pages not 200+. What has probably caused the blowout - if it can be called that - is that I have added a lot of extra character related moments than I never intended to include. By and large this is what probably gives Magellan it's appeal and I think a lot of readers really enjoy those moments but I guess I get concerned that it might deflate the momentum. At any rate, the end is nigh-ish!!

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