As I mentioned in my first post, discovery was a big part of the process of creating Issue One. This page offers a glimpse of one aspect of that journey: How was I going to kick this story off?
As originally thumbnailed, this page was a series of six panels of non-stop action. I wanted that number because it mimicked the sense of quick cuts in a film. I rendered the first few proxy images (I’ll talk about those in a later post,) laid them on the page…
…and I hated what I saw.
It wasn’t the layout that I didn’t like; it was the way the story was presented. While I’m a huge fan of in medias res, I’m also aware that readers need to have some level of connection to the characters on the page. As originally planned, I’d given them a neat action sequence, but no real character.
That wasn’t right.
My choices, then, were as follows:
- Completely re-structure the first act
- Change the action to demonstrate character (or, as we like to say, “Show, Don’t Tell“)
- Alter the panel layout
In the end, I opted for a mix of all three. I trimmed the action sequence to allow the “camera” to linger on the action in what would amount to a long, slow-mo John Woo-esque shot while our narrator observed the action. This allowed me to do three things:
- It gave our lead a voice
- It established tone
- It gave me a vehicle to offer bits of exposition
Was it the right solution? Only the readers can decide that. For me, however, I liked the results far more than what I’d originally planned.
That and, honestly, I really like that last panel of action. It just looks cool.