Mike and I went up to the Baltimore Comic Con last weekend and it was excellent. We got to meet a lot of great people (thanks for checking out our comic!) and hang out with some of our convention brother and sisters in arms. I picked up some great books and shirts, as you’ll see below, including a sweet shirt from Jamie Noguchi/Yellow Peril, the Creators graphic novel and awesome robot shirt from Michael Bracco/Spaghetti Kiss, and Five Ghosts from Frank Barbiere.
I even got to meet Terry Moore, who is a hero of mine. He is a master of the smart character driven story. Echo, Strangers in Paradise, and Rachel Rising are personal favorites. I got to tell him so, although I was a little starstruck. I may have awkwardly mumbled confusing praise at him but he was extremely nice and even signed my brand new hardcover copy of Echo. I get starstruck every once in a while and it turns me into a babbling idiot. It doesn’t happen all the time, just when I meet someone who I respect a lot. The first time I remember this happening to me was when I was fifteen years old and I met the director Peter Weir. I think I mumbled something along the lines of, “Witness and the Truman Show were good.” I’m glad I managed that much.
Daniel has been hard at work on issue five of First Law of Mad Science. We’ve got big things coming up and I can’t wait to share. In the meantime here’s a sneak peek at Daniel’s excellent pencils, spoiler free of course.
Also, this weekend we’ll be at SPX! This is our hometown show. Mike and I grew up in North Bethesda, although Mike will tell you that it’s Bethesda or Rockville, there is no North Bethesda. They just changed the name to up the property value. I say hogwash (mainly because I don’t usually get opportunities to use that word). I grew up in North Bethesda! Anyway, we’ll be exhibiting at the Small Press Expo this weekend and you should come down, say hello, and pick up some comics. It is a great showcase of indie creators.
Anyone who might have been paying attention to our events schedule a few months back probably noticed that the Spring convention season kind of fell apart for us at the end. Boston Comic-Con got postponed due to a mad bomber on the loose, and then a week later we had to cancel our C2E2 appearance at the last minute.
We didn’t really talk about it at the time, but that last-minute cancellation was due to a personal, family tragedy that struck unexpectedly the day before we planned to leave for Chicago.
That tragedy put quite a few things on hold, including the lettering of issue #4. I mention this not as a ploy for sympathy or an excuse for the book’s lateness–I know what it’s like to be a fan of a series that never seems to come out, so I know how little excuses actually matter–but merely to let you all know that the delay wasn’t due to late art. Daniel, Jeff, and Oliver delivered inks, grays, and colors quickly and professionally; the book looks great and has for a while. You can lay the blame for issue #4′s lateness entirely at my feet.
All that said, I’m now back on the job, and we’re ready to announce that issue #4 will be available for the newly-rescheduled Boston Comic Con, on the first weekend of August. I’ve still got some lettering left to do, but come hell or high water, even if it means sleepless nights filled with nothing but lettering, or ridiculous rush-printing fees, we will get this book out the door for Boston and the rest of the late-Summer/Fall convention season.
For those of you who aren’t able to pick up the book at a convention, we’ll have the issue up on ComiXology as quickly as it can get through their Submit process, and print copies will be available for order here on our site the same day we debut the book in Boston.
So sorry for the delay. Hope you enjoy the book!
Here’s a page from issue #4, from script to colors. I tried to pick a page that didn’t contain any spoilers. Enjoy!
What follows is what happens after Mike and I have written the overall outlines, after we’ve plotted out each issue and each moment in each those issues. First off, I take our detailed outline and convert it into a script. There is a fair amount of descriptions and dialogue in the outline so this is an easy process. From there, Mike and I both take passes on revising descriptions, dialogue, and anything else we see fit to change. Then we do a few final passes of the script together. We actually read through, trading off panel for panel with each other, making changes as we go. There is audio recordings of this from our Skype calls but no one wants to hear that. After that, we’re ready to send the script over to Daniel Lapham.
Daniel then comes back to us with the layouts a short while after getting the script. Getting the layouts from Daniel is a cool stage because Mike and I get to see the script, story, and character come to life in a rough form. Essentially, Daniel takes the script and breaks down each page into where he wants to put the panels. Of course, he also designs how each individual panel will look. These are the visual blueprints. This page only has the one panel but I think you can get the idea.
After Mike and I have looked over the layouts and given Daniel any feedback we have about changes to certain pages or anything like that, Daniel starts to put together the pencils. The pencil stage is where things really take shape. Those rough layouts become specific, beautiful images. Daniel does an incredible job bringing emotion and life to the characters and settings.
Daniel then sends the pencil pages over to Mike and me for approval. We usually approve them fairly quickly as the pages always look great. After a the pages are approved, Daniel then starts inking. The inks stage is great because this is where everything is locked in. The inks also give depth, tone, and mood. At this point the page could very well be done because everything is so polished.
After we get the inked pages from Daniel, we send them over to Jeff McComsey to do grayscales. Jeff does an amazing job building texture and depth with the grays. This is the final stage for the printed version of First Law of Mad Science.
For the ComiXology digital edition, black and white vs color is not an issue the way it is with printing physical copies. So a little while ago I decided to add some color to our dear book. I work in Photoshop to add not only color but a few extra texture layers as well. I’ll be honest, what I do is nothing compared to what Daniel and Jeff do. They are real artists. I am just lucky that I get to color over their incredible work. Essentially, I add flat color, which is transformed by Jeff’s grayscale work into a dynamic combination of color shades.
And that’s about it. There’s a lot more to the process, and to all of those individual stages mentioned above, but that will have to wait for another time.