Saturday, November 6, 2010

Page 9, The Wind up and the pitch

Coming along - here's the next installment of Tomb of the Undead:

It would appear that Dr. Bolam does not trust Dr. Miller. I think I'm going to try and avoid drawing audiences in too many pictures anymore. A little awkward and complicated for a scene that really doesn't add much to the conversation.

That being said, when I watch cartoons like the Simpsons and things like that I'm paying a lot more attention to the backgrounds and establishing shots. Last night Homer and Lenny were in France and there were some incredible artwork used as establishing shots that only appeared on the screen for a second, which is both incredible and disheartening. A lot of artwork goes to into making those shots - and people aren't even watching, they're looking at their laptops instead.

Graphic Novel news

Publish Your Own Graphic Novel_5243
By admin on September 20, 2010.
Publishing your own graphic novel may be hard work, but some parts are probably easier than you think. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Whatever your motivations are for wanting to write and publish your own graphic novel, you should have a firm and exhaustive grasp of the genre before you begin. Spend as much time as you possibly can studying the work of those who are successful (both critically and commercially), and make copious notes as to what it is about their work that appeals and endures. What scenes did they choose to illustrate and how did it convey what the artist meant to convey? What is their style and what is it based on? Delving deep into what the artist was trying to achieve and how he or she succeed or failed are the are the kinds of things that will help you get a sense of your own craft.

Your Story
This is the fun part, of course, but also the most work. Things to keep in mind in this stage are to work, work, and work to get your characters fleshed out and nailed down. You should write down complete character sketches (these won’t appear in your book, naturally) so you have a deep and enduring concept about who your characters are, and what each character’s motivation is in any given scene. This helps create consistency and help you and your audience build a bond with your characters.

Team Up If Necessary
If you are a skilled storyteller but your drawing skills leave a little bit to be desired (or you just can’t seem to achieve what it is that you have in your head), consider finding someone or a group of people to team up with. Make sure that these are dependable and creative people who can help you with your vision, and that have some great ideas of their own.

Seek Out Criticism
Before you start publishing large numbers of books yourself, seek out opinions on your work. If you have friends in the business that is the best place to start. However, you will want to try your work out on a few members of your intended audience as well. When they are through with your book, be prepared to ask them what they liked and what they didn’t and why. Make it clear to them that you are not looking for compliments, but that you want to hear the bad along with the good. If you start to hear the same tings over and over, you will have a pretty good idea what is working and what is not.

Print and Bind
Once you’ve got your book dialed in you are ready to put it together and pass it around. The printing should be done on a high-quality laser machine, and the cover should use a four color process. As far as the binding, there are several ways you might want to go depending on the length of your book, and what it is you are trying to accomplish. For an old-school comic book look you can use a simple booklet maker that places two staples in the center of the book (called saddle stitching). If you are going for a hardcover or softcover book, thermal binding machines are inexpensive, easy to use and create an impressive finished product. Take a look around online or visit your local printer to see what your options might be.
A Novel Renerd Graphic Novel
Posted by Bishop

I have always had a love of comic books. It started as a passion for the saturday morning pullouts and soon developed into a want to purchase a magazine I could hold in my tiny, pasty scratchers. Xmen 122 won me over and my lifelong affair really kicked in to gear. I have followed many titles over the course of my collecting (which was put on hiatus in my mid-20s, and buried alive in my early 30s).

One of the odder choices of enjoyment was the “What If…” Series from Marvel. There was also the “What The ?!?” series but that was an entirely different (and much funnier) experience. For those who aren’t in the know, “What If…” took plot points from the Marvel Universe and turned them on their ear. It asked questions like “What If Wolverine killed The Hulk?” or “What If Elektra had lived?”. For the most part they should have just named the series “What If Everyone Died Because …” As that is how I remember most of those stories ending.

A little while back on The Talking Dead podcast, (shameless plug here) the question was asked what if Rick Grimes, protagonist of the series “The Walking Dead”, had not moved the camp? Would everyone have survived longer? What would have been different? This is something that I think the tv show is going to tackle as they flirt with alternatives to the book.

This got the gears going in my head though.

I think it would be cool to do yet another zombie comic. The difference here is that you take five different teams to write the same comic. The first issue needs to be relatively consistent but from there, each team can take the story in whatever direction they like. The stories must have the same central characters and the teams can do with them whatever they please. Each book will branch off from the original at whatever point in the timeline they choose. The caveat here is that each of the 5 storylines MUST END within 12 issues.

No “to be continued”.

I am not saying the endings can’t be a little ambiguous or unclear. I am saying that the experiment would then need to be over.

I don’t know what to call it, and I don’t know what the story should be. After all, I am no writer. I think all of that could be decided by the teams as a group in a massive beer and pizza session.

Or this could just be an elaborate scheme to drink more beer and eat more pizza.
Chris Avellone Bets on "Fallout: New Vegas" by Steve Sunu, Staff Writer

Get ready to roll the dice and place your bets, because the “Fallout” universe is getting its due in a graphic novel - but this isn’t the "Fallout" you remember. In "Fallout: New Vegas" from Bethesda Softworks and Obsidian Entertainment, players get a look at the city of hopes, dreams and five dollar lobster through the lens of the Wasteland - a post-apocalyptic expanse that has swallowed the United States following a nuclear attack - and strike out on their own adventure with nothing but their brains and whatever weapons they can get their hands on.

Longtime “Fallout” fans are in for a treat this time around. The limited edition version of the game not only comes packaged with a bunch of cool collectables (including a deck of cards and poker chips featuring the logos of the in-game casinos), but also includes an original hardcover graphic novel called “All Roads” produced by Dark Horse. Setting his writing hand to expanding the “Fallout” mythos is the game’s senior designer, Chris Avellone. While comic fans may not be familiar with Avellone, video game and RPG fans will likely recognize his name from a number of critically acclaimed games including the “Icewind Dale” series and “Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II.” Keen-eyed “Fallout” fans will recognize Avellone from “Fallout 2” and the cancelled, original Fallout 3, “Van Buren.” Hardcore “Star Wars” comic fans might recognize him from “Star Wars Tales” or “Clone Wars Adventures.” Now, he’s running head-on into the wasteland of “Fallout: New Vegas” for a brand new adventure. Unfortunately, while a preview of the book is currently on iTunes, the full version will only be available with the collector’s edition of the game.

CBR News was spoke with Avellone about his first foray into the world of comics to get the who’s-who of artists working on “All Roads,” glean some details on the game’s upcoming release and pick his brain on the differences between designing a game and writing a graphic novel.

CBR News: Chris, tell us a bit about "Fallout: New Vegas" and how it builds upon the already-existing "Fallout" Mythology.

Chris Avellone: Bethesda asked Obsidian if they'd be interested in developing a Fallout game. “Fallout: New Vegas” is the result. It's the latest installment in the Fallout franchise, and it takes the player west - far out west - to the Mojave wasteland surrounding the still-glittering, walled city of New Vegas.

It takes place four years after the events in “Fallout 3,” and about four decades after the events in “Fallout 2.” The player takes on the role of a courier with the Mojave Express, contracted to deliver a mysterious package to the Strip in New Vegas... however, the journey is interrupted and the player is shot in the head and dumped in a shallow grave, Vegas-style. Then the game begins.

A page from "All Roads"

You've worked on the "Fallout" franchise before, first on "Fallout 2," then on the cancelled "Van Buren." How does it feel to be back in this universe?

Like putting on a favorite pair of old shoes you found while cleaning out your closet, wiggling your toes, and finding out not only do the shoes still fit, they're just as comfortable as you remember.

For fans of the "Fallout," what are you keeping from the previous installments and what new innovations are you adding?

“Fallout 3” was well-received, so we didn't want to mess with the elements that made it great. In "New Vegas," we just wanted to make sure there was more to do, not change the existing systems the player had come to enjoy from “Fallout 3.”

We have new reputation mechanics (factions in the game remember what you've done for and against them and respond accordingly), weapon mods, new skills, new applications of old skills, improved companion interfaces for easier companion control, traits from “Fallout 1” and “Fallout 2,” new weapons, new perks, companion quest arcs, and an open-world-style storyline that lets you decide where you stand in the Mojave wasteland - and who stands against you.

While you're senior designer for "New Vegas," you also put together "All Roads," the original graphic novel that comes with the collector's edition of the game. How exactly did that come about?

I have a good relationship with Dark Horse as I worked with Dave Marshall and Jeremy Barlow at Dark Horse during “Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords,” did a short story for “Star Wars Tales” and then four more scripts for “Clone Wars Adventures” that were a lot of fun. When it came time to explore the possibility of doing more comic book game tie-ins, I suggested an “Aliens” comic through SEGA, then an “Alpha Protocol” comic through SEGA as well - neither of these took off, unfortunately.

I was still driven to try and make it work, though - the chance to write for comics was one of my childhood dreams - so I took another run at it and introduced Nick McWhorter from Dark Horse to our “New Vegas” marketing manager, Regi Jacob, and to my huge surprise, Regi and Bethesda grabbed the ball and ran with it. At the end of it all, I got to write a book with some amazing artists - Jean Diaz ("Incorruptible") and Wellinton Alves ("Shadowland: Blood on the Streets," "Nova") and a cover by Geof Darrow. Geof Darrow! I couldn't have asked for a better chance at comic writing. Many thanks to Dark Horse and Bethesda.

What's the main plot of "All Roads" and how will it add to the experience players have in "New Vegas?"

"All Roads" starts a week before the opening movie in “Fallout: New Vegas...” If you read the graphic novel while downloading the game, you'll look up from the last page and into the opening movie seamlessly. The idea was to take the background we'd introduced for the factions, adversaries, and even areas such as Vegas and showcase them to the player to give them context for the brutal attack that occurs at the start of the game. You'll even be able to retrace the events and key locations in the comic in the game environment as well, with some possible unique items if you know where to look after reading the comic.

Did you grow up a fan of comic books? What are some of your favorites?

A page from "All Roads"

Some old school comics are in my arsenal, and some are collected story arcs into graphic novel format: "The Killing Joke" (the ending nailed it for me and I felt it was one of the best moments in comic history), "Born Again," any of Morrison's "Animal Man" or "Doom Patrol" compilations, "Watchmen" (which I read in high school), Moore's "Miracleman," "Batman: Year One," all of the Garth Ennis "Hellblazer" and "Preacher" collections, the first two years of "The Authority," "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For," Straczynski's "Midnight Nation" and "Rising Stars," and a bunch of others. I just finished reading “Dark Reign” and enjoyed it.

While you've worked on a number of games praised for their stories and secondary character development, and early in your career you wrote Dungeons & Dragons campaigns, this is your first run at doing a graphic novel. How do you feel the graphic novel format is well-suited to the story you want to tell as opposed to telling it in-game? How is writing a graphic novel different than designing a game?

In a role-playing game, especially for "Fallout," you need to design characters and events that can be approached from any direction, any faction allegiance, any character skill set and set of attributes (stupid brute, sneaky thief, silver-tongued scientist), and any order in the storyline. This can be challenging to design, so much so you may be telling three or more stories with a character depending on how they react to the player - but that range of responses are what role-players enjoy.

Graphic novels, in many respects, allow more focus, and provide more opportunity to introduce a specific theme, along with elements of the background of locations and characters that players may not have a chance to see in the game. As an example, in the graphic novel, we're able to showcase some of the history of the Great Khans through the perspective of one of their own, something that can be difficult to do from a player perspective in the game, but not from a reader's perspective.

Why should fans of the "Fallout" franchise get excited about "All Roads?"

It leads right into the opening movie, gives greater background on the people looking to kill you (even if they messed it up once), and as you explore the “Fallout: New Vegas” world, you'll see the exact same path and have a greater understanding of some of the faction politics in the game.

Do you think you'll do more "Fallout" content in the form of comics or graphic novels? Are you interested in writing comics in the future?

If there's enough fan interest, I hope that might be enough of a push for a regular series. If readers would be interested in seeing more stories in the Fallout universe outside of DLC and "New Vegas," say the word on forums. I'm definitely interested in writing more in the world of Fallout. I enjoyed writing for Star Wars, I'd love to do it with another franchise, and Fallout is near and dear to my heart ever since I played “Fallout 1,” worked on F2, and after all that I've been able to contribute to "Fallout: New Vegas."

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Hey there, I am glad you have taken the time to leave a comment. Thanks - I am looking forward to reading it.