Daniel just finished up the rough layouts for Issue #4. They look fantastic. While perusing them, I noticed a little note in the margins of one of the pages that made me laugh out loud. While working on these, Daniel apparently wrote a reminder for himself to leave plenty of room for dialogue. It read, simply, “Remember: Lots of Words!”
First Law definitely gets a bit verbose at times. Oliver and I actually clash on this point quite a bit when we’re writing; he likes using a lot of colorful dialogue, while I prefer to keep things as concise as we can. I think we hit a decent balance between the two of us, but as the letterer on First Law I can safely say from direct experience that we still use quite a lot of words!
It stems, in part, from our writing philosophy on First Law. We decided very early on that we didn’t want the book to have the decompressed, “writing-for-the-trade” style of storytelling that you see in so many comics these days, where each issue is just a handful of scenes in a larger story. Instead, we wanted to make sure that each chapter of First Law was a satisfying “unit” of entertainment on its own, with a beginning, a middle, and an end.
What that means in practical terms is that we’re cramming quite a lot of story into each issue. More bang for your buck! Lots of reading isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but considering the amount of mystery and intrigue we’re employing in our story, it ends up being pretty necessary.
Not that First Law doesn’t have action as well; we’ve got some stuff coming up in the next few issues that’s really going to blow your minds! Stay tuned!
(To be fair to Daniel, I should mention that for the page in question we specifically asked in the script that he leave extra room for dialogue in a few of the panels. His margin note still gave me a good chuckle, though.)