My box of Godland Finales.
It’s the culmination of almost ten years worth of hard work. This is a nice moment.
Five copies of Godland Finale, when lain side-by-side, form a Decuple-Page Spread. If Jack Kirby didn’t invent the Double-Page Spread, he at least perfected it in every imaginable way. Jim Steranko later resurrected and amplified the Kirbyesque Double-Spread, before creating the Quadruple-Page Spread, which necessitated the purchase of 2 copies of Strange Tales to view it. Frank Miller and Jim Lee did a Sextuple-Page Spread in All-Star Batman and Robin, which actually folded out, so you only had to buy one copy. Alan Moore and J.H. Williams III took it as far as you can with the finale to Promethea which, when liberated of its staples, unfolded into a giant double-sided continuous image poster. The next step would be a graphic novel that, when you break its spine, unfolds into a giant continuous-image quilt.
Here’s the fourth draft:
The story is coming together. I just finished going over it to figure out the fifth draft. The big challenge here was “untangling the middle.” I have A beginning. I have AN ending, but the further the story gets from those two poles, the more tangled and hazy the events are. Reading through it, I was able to figure out ways of grouping events and a general order for them to unfold.
I had a substantial amount of lead time and tried to do as much work figuring out the shape of the entire span of the first big arc of the series. That lead time is starting to erode, and I’m glad I did all this preliminary work, because a story this big, with this many characters would be very intimidating had I started cold when presented with the deadline for the first issue.
I just approved the printer’s proofs for Godland #37. It will be in stores December 11, 2013. If you’ve never read an issue of Godland before, please start with this one. Godland Finale is a heady, intoxicating, hyperactive comic that nothing, not even the preceding 36 issues, can prepare you for. The closest I can come to describing it is as a fusion of two of my favorite Futurist comics: Hunger Dogs and Dark Knight Strikes Again, but even that doesn’t do it justice.
One of my favorite things about collaboration is the way the sum of the parts add up to something that could not be achieved otherwise. The collision of the various elements have created a visual reading experience that is genuinely new, the likes of which may never be seen again.
I want to thank my co-creator Joe Casey, colorist Brad Simpson, Letterers and Graphic Designers Rus Wooten and Sonia Harris for making this “Very Special Issue” very special. Also, thanks to Jonathan Chan and the Image Office for getting this Finale into production as quickly as was humanly possible.
See you on 12/11/13.
What kind of paper to use for the Transformers/Joe comic? I like the softer line and blending of colors that occurs on a course uncoated stock, like American Barbarian was printed on. Glossy bright white paper is the default setting for comic books. For years I bristled against it, but now I know how to use it to my advantage. Glossy stock, because of the way the ink sits on top of the page, allows for a fuller range of colors.
Here’s a test page I drew. This is not an actual story moment from TF/Joe. It was a test page, to work out the scale, the way these characters might move and interact, and get some practice drawing the characters and working out the kinks before I settle on a final approach to the art. It was also a chance to test out some possible ways of coloring the book. Most importantly, I’ve been spending so much time in the writing phase, I needed to take a break and draw something, even if it isn’t part of the actual book itself.
Here’s a closer look showing some of the detail:
With American Barbarian, in terms of color, I went for a nostalgic approach, but with a few flourishes. I chose a palette for the line and color that was different from the actual palette in an old comic, but hit notes that I felt captured the spirit, but in a more aesthetically pleasing way. With Satan’s Soldier I went for a more intense, saturated, eye-melting approach to color.
This image printed on glossy paper would have the visual noise that makes old comics so pleasing, but also the full range of intense colors that buzz in the eye.
With this test page, I feel like I brought lessons learned from each approach. I’d like to push this line of inquiry further in subsequent tests.
Satan’s Soldier has drawn to a close. I thank you for giving this very different comic a chance. I’ll have two more print editions, chapters 4 and 5, but the webcomic has reached its conclusion. Next up will be the return of Mystery Object.