Welcome to Discarded Lives!
This comic had an extremely odd gestation. Back in the mists of pre-history (or, in this case, mid-2006,) I found myself in a creative funk. I’d just finished production on a micro-budget indie vampire drama titled Pray for Daylight, and I’d come to an inescapable conclusion: I was sick to death of making movies. The thrill I’d felt moving a camera around actors in mid-2002 had worn to utter dread. I loved telling stories, but making movies was both emotionally and physically exhausting. I needed to do something new, and fast.
That’s when I decided to go back to comics.
I had one problem, though: I wasn’t an artist. Oh, I could scratch out decent thumbnails, but actual pencils and — gulp — inks? No freaking way. Since one of my conditions was to to work alone again, I found myself in a quandary: How could I make a story that depended on sequential art and not be an artist?
My solution was both goofy and inelegant: I’d create a machinima comic. Using titles like Sims2, City of Heroes, and Everquest2, I tried my hand at creating a daily strip. I’d shoot screenshots of my characters, do a tiny bit of post-processing in Corel Photopaint, layout and letter the panels in Comic Book Creator, and post them on the web.
You know what? I loved it.
There was one thing, though: The art really wasn’t mine. I was grabbing shots online, with a good sense of the story I wanted to tell, but I never had enough control over the images. While it made for an interesting writing exercise, it didn’t allow me to tell the story I had in mind.
So I decided I had to learn how to make those images for myself.
That was 2007.
Fast forward to 2011. I’d long since come back from learning to be a 3D modeler and animator at a school in Florida, and had been paid to create images for others. The comic project had long since been forgotten, until — by chance — I found the old Cranky Gamers strips on an unused hard drive.
Just like that, the bug was back.
I spend the next twenty months playing with different workflow options. At first, my pride demanded that I create every single asset for the book. After building my own characters from scratch in LightWave, doing my own rigging, and painstakingly creating locations, though, I realized that I’d probably be dead before I finished one issue.
Then, as if on cue, DAZ Studio 4.0 was offered for free from the DAZ3D website. I downloaded it, dialed up my first Genesis figure, and just like that I realized that I’d found the missing piece of my workflow. Within a month I’d knocked together a Lightwave-to-DAZ checklist, created test shots, and locked down my process.
Finally, I could do what I’d wanted to do back in 2006.
That brings us to today.
Discarded Lives is not Cranky Gamers. It doesn’t follow a daily strip model, and instead hews closer to a standard comic book format. Expect to see regular “Issue” numbers, as well as clear chapter breaks. Lastly — and this is probably the most important sentence in this entire rambling message — nothing is as it seems. Nothing.
I hope you enjoy reading Discarded Lives as much as I enjoy creating it.
See you on the fields of Sondraterra!