April 26, 2004 My 24 Hour Comic experience
A bad start, Steven couldn’t get the day off work. At first I said, “Well, maybe next year”, but then I decided that I might as well try. After all, it’s only 24 hours of my life and one thing I have plenty of is time.
So at noon I went down to Comickaze, and I happened to run into an artist friend of mine Charlie Yi. Yi and I were in MSSG-11, Marine Corps together and we did a Westpac on the USS Tarawa over the summer of ’92. I’d seen Yi once in the last 13 years and I had no idea that he was living in San Diego. He wasn’t there for the 24 Hour Comic, he was just there to buy comics. I told him about the event and he was down to give it a try. I had a real artist again, so I didn’t have to do “The Adventures of Line, Square and Circle”.
[My peronal and professional life isn’t so hot right now, but everything I do comic related seems charmed.]
We spent about twenty minutes brainstorming, I wanted to do a story about a thief, he suggested we do a story about a high school prom. So we did a story about a thief going to prom.
We started work on the cast, I listed character traits, Yi did concept sketches and I started listing plot points. Half an hour later I had most of the plot down but I had six plot holes to fill, I looked at the holes and created one more character who was designed to bring together the loose threads.
Five hours later, I had twenty pages of script in the Marvel-style. Finally Yi had something to draw.
Over the next six hours I fleshed out the script to a full-script, but Yi had only drawn six pages, at one page an hour were weren’t going to make it. Those six hours of script writing really cost us.
I’d given up hope that we’d make the deadline, but Yi really picked up the pace and began to average 30 minutes a page even though his technique suffered. “What’s ironic about this is that I’m killing myself to produce a comic I don’t want anyone to see.” Meanwhile I was doing the lettering and rewriting the story at the same time. On some pages I really had to hack the dialog because there just wasn’t enough room on the page and I couldn’t ask him to redraw it.
With me doing the lettering (which gave me a chance to rewrite), and a two page-padding epilogue we hit the 24pages in 24 hours goal with half an hour to spare.
We turned the pages in to Robert (the owner of Comickaze). Yi packed his hand in ice and I went home and slept for fourteen hours.
I proud of what we did. It’s larger in scope than most 24 Hour Comics (being a two man team helped). While I wasn’t lettering I made a list of compromises that would have made the process a lot easier:
- Instead of a story with a plot we could have just started writing in a stream of consciousness fashion.
- Lettered with square dialog boxes instead of word balloons. They’re easier to cut out. Or even better, write a story without dialog at all…
- Written the story without humanoid charcters, human anatomy takes too long to draw. Unless they’re fat, then they’re just a group of circles.
- Make every page a splash page. Heck, make every panel cover two pages!
These are cop-outs, but if I end up drawing my own comic next year, I’ll be using all of these devices and more. I might even “draw” a book as a collage of images I find on the Internet…
Here are pictures of the event.
You can see the other participants here.
Scott McCloud will be hosting scans of all the 24 Hour Comics on his site. Once they’re up I’ll provide the link.
Comickaze will be selling copies of “Prom Night” for a dollar.