Here’s another preview, this time page 6. I’m hoping to get the first 7 pages packaged up for a submission, so I’ll preview those then crack on with the rest. Got John Grieve on colouring duties and Colin Bell on lettering, so while they beautify the first bundle, I’ll continue in the hope of getting a B&W preview issue up in time for the Glasgow Comic Con. Then I can send the subs package away, get issue 1 completed, and move onto other things while I wait to see if anyone takes the bait.
This one shows a bunch of layers on top of each other, and for this page and the last I’m using a totally digital workflow, which has taken some getting used to, but which I think is starting to settle.
Who is Andel Novak? He’s effectively the lead character of Gonzo Cosmic, and he’s a billionaire entrepreneur from a Czech family, raised in Unthank City in an unnamed country that looks a lot like Scotland. At the beginning of the story, his company is just announcing that they’ve created the first working Faster Than Light space vehicle, and he’s basking in praise and amazement. Unfortunately, it’s all going to go very wrong for Novak due to an age-old rivalry with another businessman, Ira (pronounced EE-rah) Tappan, whose first attempt at something similar resulted in the worst space disaster since the space race began.
But through major disaster, Novak will realise something very powerful about himself and the world, that its growth is severely stunted by the old structures of capitalism, communism and religion. As the story reveals, many beings have been offered the same opportunity he is, but not everyone has his unique drive and vision to change things – a single-minded determination that will see him commit acts of atrocity in the name of the greater good. A man willing to do what is necessary, to have the blood on his hands and no one else’s, to deliver a future for Earth that is fit for everyone.
Gonzo Cosmic is concerned not only with how he gets this power to change, but also what he does with it afterwards…
He’s an inverted Reed Richards in my re-imagining of the Fantastic Four template – a genius, a businessman, and soon-to-be a powerhouse post-human, but someone who doesn’t think that dressing up in spandex and becoming a superhero will really cut it.
Just showing some more of the layout work I’m doing for Gonzo – this one is page five. You’ll probably notice by now that I’m being a bit luxurious with the layout – so far we’ve got 2 splash pages and a DPS (double page spread). I figure I can get away with this because pages 2 and 3 contain a lot of information, and page 5 has panels floating over the top to break down the information the reader is presented with. Whether or not it works remains to be seen, but from here on in, I’ll be reverted to a fairly traditional use of layout and structure.
This preview shows all the perspective and underlay drawing I’m doing for page 5. I’m being particularly fussy with the perspective as 1. it’s way easier using Photoshop and a Cintiq, and 2. it is really necessary for my style. I’ve tried the freehand approach, but it doesn’t work when the line work is as tight and detailed as I like it. It takes away from the better-rendered characters, and leaves me open to all kinds of weird stuff happening with the angles. So while it’s still a bit laborious, the time gained by going digital for this part more than makes up for it.
I’m trying to use planes better, following some advice from Frank Quitely. He pointed out that I focus a lot on mid-range shots, and that they can be broken up and made more interesting by showing an object close up at the end of the frame to give us some depth. I don’t want to end up doing that all the time though, so I’m going to have to seriously consider how I lay things out to still get across the important part – the storytelling – but make it interesting for the reader.
Anyway, that’s yet to come, here’s the preview: