sequential daze

Friday, January 23, 2009

Things to do

There's a lot I'd like to do with Magellan on top of just producing the 2-3 pages of comics per week (actually I'd like to produce more than that but it would be pretty much impossible given that I also have a full time job). Maybe if I write it down in a list it won't seem too harrowing:
  • Fully updated and easily maintained cast list
  • Fully updated and easily Magellan info list (eg about the different forces, the island, etc)
  • Magellan symbol t-shirt/sleeveless training top... that would be cool, huh? I'd wear it!
  • Magellan symbol badge
  • Bad Karma commentary - at least I've written something about the cover... only 300 pages to go. It's not essential I know but I think it would give me additional useful insight into the creative processes and developments and maybe be of interest to some readers
  • Promotional material - primarily some postcards for local comic shops to leave out in some hopeful attempt to lure print comic readers onto the good ship Magellan. I think people are more accepting of webcomics now and might make the leap.
  • Update the Magellan entry in the comixpedia wiki
  • A convention comic with a totally original story. It would be maybe 12 pages and in colour or more pages and in B&W... I'm thinking the latter since that will give people more to read.
OK - that's it for now. Not so much after all...! Now I just have to do it. I am actually working on the cast page but it's so extensive I just keep tripping over myself. But I figure I'll just keep chipping away at it and hopefully it'll get finished.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Beyond MM & Rochelle x-over... a few hints on the next story

This is a bit brief, but won't contain any spoilers...

Chapter 5 will be set about 4 months after the current cross-over story, which itself is set about 2 months after Bad Karma. So yes, it'll be jumping six months ahead. The cadets, indeed the entire population of Magellan Island, have been working hard to put the events of Bad Karma behind them. We will pick up a few of those threads but this will be essentially a completely new story, with a lot of familiar faces and some totally new ones as well. Titled "Worst Field Trip Ever" it will kick off in just over two weeks time.

Part of my reason in moving ahead so many months is that the Bad Karma story, which took almost three years to tell, covered roughly two weeks of Magellan time. Since the first year for Kaycee and Co is set in 2009, and it is now 2009 in our world too, I wanted to stabilise the time differential! Does that mean, should Magellan make it to 2010, that the cadets will move on to 2010 and their second year at the academy too? You bet it does! Does that mean this next story will not be 300 pages/3 years long? Oh, yeah!! I'm writing this one to be 50-60 pages. I learned a lot out of the processes of writing Bad Karma, notably to do with pre-advance plotting and also keeping the narrative compact - so I hope to be bringing all that and more to Chapter 5 and that it will be a very tight, very kickass story still with all the character development and nuance you expect from Magellan.

So. What's it about? The title gives away a lot. And that's all I'm saying! The story will feature Kaycee and several other cadets, some who've had a bit of screen time and some who've had almost none. We'll also see how things are going for Maya in the fall-out of Bad Karma. Plus... how is Go!Anna managing with her grand plan to train Brelvis into future cadet/super-hero material? And also, bad things... very bad things... are brewing over in Sydney, Australia - as Oz Magellan (which includes Captain Victoria... remember her? and Red Centre and The Man Who Can... remember them?) will soon discover. We'll be meeting the entire Oz Magellan line-up and some rather unpleasant individuals.

I've been working on the story for several weeks now and all the pieces are falling into place and I'm feeling rather excited by this one - hope you are too and that you can join me after the current story wraps up... Very Happy

Friday, January 16, 2009

Bad Karma commentary - cover

When I get started on the commentary proper I'll probably be covering 15-20 pages of the story per post, covering broadly what I was hoping to convey in the comic, what worked, what didn't work and what, on reflection I would have done differently. However, to kick the process off I just wanted to write briefly about the cover image.

It is a bit silly to talk about a 'cover' for a webcomic... cover to what exactly? I only started doing covers for Magellan when it moved to Graphic Smash. Their online publishing process requires a promotional image of very specific dimensions that will then be displayed on the front Graphic Smash page on days that the comic updates. Certainly it's a good idea but usually then leaves me grasping for an appropriate image to on one hand convey a sense of excitement, drama, enticement and what the story is about without giving it away. I think most other Graphic Smash cartoonists just have a cover image for their whole series, it never occurred to me (until just 10 seconds ago) that I probably could have done the same thing - I suppose that since I have discreet chapters it's good to do one that's specific to that story. So as a result I needed to devise a cover for Bad Karma - and since, at the time, the new story was intended to start soon I needed that cover quickly.

In case it's not evident, this commentary will contain numerous spoilers, so if you're reading this before you've read the comic itself, consider yourself forewarned...!

Anyway, I knew that this chapter would be the big reveal on who Karma Joffe really was, who the mysterious man snuggling up with her at the end of Chapter 2 was (pages 61-62), what their plans were and why Karma appeared to have it in for Kaycee Jones. Ever since inception Karma Joffe was intended to be a future version of cadet Maya Applecross so I knew she was really an illusion-maker rather than a precog, which was Karma's 'thing' - but didn't want to give any of that away in the cover.

Problem was, I was originally playing around with a daft idea of showing everyone as marionette puppets of a giant/looming Karma. Attempts to make it work as a visual concept didn't work well and I really didn't like the literal interpretation of it - "ooh, they're all under her control". Instead I came up with the scenario as depicted above. I knew that evil future Maya and Chang (Miasma and DragonKlaw) were plotting to bring down some kind of apocalyptic scenario - so I thought I'd depict that instead. As it turns out, of course, they got no where near that kind destruction by the end of the story and as events unfolded it seemed that the cover would ultimately be more an illustrative rather than actual depiction of the chaos the two had wrought. Fortunately, as I was writing the penultimate confrontation against Kaycee and Miasma some 20 months later, I still had some of my synapses firing and incorporated the cover image into Miasma's mind attack on Kaycee - see here. I love it when that kind of thing comes together, but believe me, when I created that cover image I had no idea I'd be using it so effectively at the right moment in the story.

As for the image itself, I personally love how it turned out and it is still one of my favourite drawings from the series - it is strong and emotive, the looming moon and colour scheme adding to the drama, as an apparently defeated Kaycee is tossed limply onto a pile of corpses of other cadets.

Monday, January 12, 2009

So much for the great commentary...

I had all these big plans to give a bit of commentary on the Bad Karma storyline and then nothing happened. grrr!

In large part it was because I was so busy working on current Magellan stuff, firstly the lettering on Jean-Fran├žois Poulin's art for the Gifford Foss story (lettering five pages a week is a lot more work than I had anticipated) and then three pages a week for the current Mindmistress crossover story. In amongst that I started working on the next Magellan story which will kick off after the crossover finishes - around early February.

I would still like to get to the commentary - I did actually make quite a go of it before Christmas but got totally bogged down in detail so I need to rethink the way I approach it. At any rate there's a great year for Magellan ahead - hope you can join in the fun and the mayhem. Will try my best to make this blog more of an ongoing concern too!