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Say goodbye to the redhead scoundrel girl
An edition about introversion, the end of Ginger Revenges, new formats and not overestimating the character's arc.
WELCOME TO A NEW EDITION OF MY NEWSLETTER
The summer is here, and it's hot, all the things an artist loves more! (irony mode ON).
How I miss the cold and the rain… Anyway, here's a new edition about varied things.
BACK FROM TOLEDO
I returned from the Toledo Conecta Festival as part of the French Centre National du Cinéma Going European program, involving professionals with TV shows in development. As part of this program, I attended the SeriesMania Lille Festival last March and will be at the Sarajevo Festival next August.
Like previous festivals, this is a new and exciting world for me. I’m developing a series of projects with my partner in crime, the writer and director Anthony Alleyne. I told you about some of them, the adaptation of my graphic novel Ezequiel Himes, and others like Left Hand of the Devil and Motorway (responsible of my selection for Going European). We took profit of our attendance to Toledo, where you can chat face-to-face with a lot of important producers from the biggest companies, to prepare a new exciting TV show project I can’t talk about, but I think this is a kind of thriller-action story I have been preparing for since I drew my first comic.
Speaking about these meetings with a lot of important people, one of the things I love most about this movies/shows' development adventure is how social this task forces you to be. Comic-books world benefits your introverted side in some way. You need to make contacts but later you can live sending mails and not speaking with your bosses/clients for years. In this audiovisual world you need to make personal contact first. You need to defend your proposal in your own words. You need to pitch, you need to argue. A lot of the work is spoken and discussed. Maybe late you will have zoom meetings and re-writings of the draft, but you need to lose any fear about meeting new people and be literally thrown to places where you don’t know ANYONE.
So even if this adventure fails (and we should discuss what we consider a “fail”) I’m learning a lot and losing some usual fears about embarrassment or being out of place, or being an imposter who has snitched into that party. I am who I am, and am trying to do this. Let's talk about it.
REMINDER (AKA MY SPAM)
I illustrated the issue 6 of Tales from Nottingham, a spin-off series from the successful series Nottingham created by David Hazan and Shane Connery Volk and it will be published by Mad Cave next week. This story is written by te talented Magdalene Visaggio.
So here you have my usual UPDATED RELEASE SCHEDULE with their corresponding links:
Now on sale:
FAHRENHEIT 451 graphic novel (now on sale in Spain)
MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE: MASTERVERSE issue #2 with Tim Seeley
PARANOIA KILLER: VIRYA and PARANOIA KILLER COMPILATION (digital)
ELIXIR graphic novel with Frank Barbiere and Ricky Mammone
TALES FROM NOTTINGHAM #6 with Magdalene Visaggio
September (USA): PROJECT MONARCH with Mike Oeming
GINGER REVENGES FINISHES
Ginger Revenges will end in its chapter 22, in a couple of weeks. I had not exactly planned how many chapters would be, just followed the vibe of the story and went where it took me. I had some things clear about how it would end, but other elements appeared during the making (Sasha's character and her relationship with her mother is a good example).
Every chapter was made up of long comic pages which were actually a double page presented vertically, so basically the 22 chapters make a 44-page comic-book (or a short graphic novel / graphic novella).
I’m conscious that in this age of 300-page hardcover deluxe graphic novels, a 44-page comic doesn’t sound very impressive and I’ll not lie to you: I don’t know exactly what to do with it. I think I could produce a 48 or 52-page softcover (with some sketches and designs as bonus) but I’m not sure what publisher would be interested in this brief format. Or should I do crowdfunding, or make a self-published short-run paperback and sell it through my bigcartel store?
I’m open to your suggestions, if you have them:
NEW STORIES, NEW FORMATS?
I have been thinking about continuing the bi-weekley updating of my newsletter alternating text editions (my releases, updates, thoughts, recommendations) with a monthly comic story. But right now I’m not sure what to do. I’ll let the summer pass and then I will decide (my workload at that moment will decide too).
On one hand, I would like to do some kind of anthology: Every update would be a different self-contained short story, all of them under the same title (like the brilliant Bad Space comics by Scott Base) instead of a serialized book.
On the other hand, I would love to explore the possibilities of longer structures. I’m always talking about a digital format, with 10-12 pages of comic in color, with a self-contained story but with a good amount of bonus that the lack of limitation of the digital format allow: Director’s cut, scripts, the same comic in inks and pencils…
And you could join the series when you want because every chapter could be read in any order, like the 70s-80s TV shows or Jack Reacher novels.
This kind of format sounds really suitable to payment modalities like the paid Substack post or Patreon, but honestly, my experience with PanelSyndicate, artistically satisfactory, also teached me that people are still reluctant to pay directly to the creators. And I have not the same follow up as guys like James Tynion IV or Brian K. Vaughan, of course. So I need to be honest and realistic about what I can manage.
DON’T TRUST THE ARC
I used to write comics for other people. Right now, I barely do it because I used to write these books for the Spanish market (I love writing in my natural language) but the chances to get a decent money for these artists are lower than ever. For me it’s almost a hobby, and like a lot of hobbies, you need free time to do it. But sometimes, talking with these friend creators (usually close friends, this is why I love to spend time working with them) they asked me about the arc of the character we are working with. And I always answer: “Don’t be obsessed with the arc of the character”.
I think characters don’t need to evolve always. Sometimes they are so well done that actually they don’t need it. You can write about people who suffer and learn and make a trip through life. That 's great and I walk this path a lot of times… BUT it’s not the only way.
In one of my favorite movies, Walter Hill’s The Driver, the names of the characters are their job: the Driver, the Player, the Detective. They don’t evolve, they are not exactly persons. They are symbols of an attitude, a point of view about life.
But it’s also cool when your main character is treated like a force of nature, almost a demigod. A living myth. A block of pure moral granite. Surely the rest of the cast evolve and change due to this character’s influence. But he/she will not change a bit.
This is an approach which works really well in action stories. Sergio Leone's “The Man with no name” doesn’t evolve. He is what he is. Judge Dredd doesn't evolve. Black Kaiser doesn’t change.
Batman doesn’t need to change. Batman shouldn’t evolve because stories about the ol’ Bats opening his heart and learning about friendship and partnership with the rest of the Bat-family can’t be more boring (This is why I love Frank Miller’s stories with the Dark Knight).
But this approach works really well in comedy too because the inability to change is what makes some characters so funny. Mr. Burns never learns, Cartman never learns, Mr. Bean never learns. It doesn’t matter what crazy things happen to them, these crazy bastards don't learn the lesson.
Or you can work on a character who is a good guy and doesn’t allow an awful world to try to corrupt it. Then, the leitmotiv is precisely “never allow me to change”.
You need conflict, and drama, but you can have fun working on some character who is always the same even if the world is changing brutally around him.
And that’s all! Summer is finally here, and I hope you can enjoy some good vacation time too.
See you in a couple of weeks with the final episode of Ginger revenges!
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