April 26, 2011
So, here’s the 1st panel. And the rest of the 1st page of our 2# “A Dramatic Trial: Part 1” with it.
In case you have any thoughts about the comic, any idea for us to find a publisher, or a format (web, digital comics) that you think would suit Horse Stories please let us know. Hope you enjoy it.
April 15, 2011
After reading the script, Brown starts sketching. I always try that in the script there’s enough information available for him to have a clear idea of what I’ve in mind. In that sense the way we work is pretty much the same, in Cinema, as the director and the director of photography. I picture the images and Brown gives them life.
In the first issue we did everything by e-mail and it took us some time to get it done. I was living and working outside of Portugal and Brown was working like hell designing the characters of Under Siege. The good thing about that is that it gave us time to consider every detail about the comic. And when it was done we were both quite pleased with it.
When we started the second issue I was already living in Portugal, we began to do this weekly get togethers to sketch and from that point forward things got a lot faster. The picture above is the result of one of those meetings.
From there we go into the specifics (pictures above and below).
When we’re done with the drawing Brown starts testing colors. We talk a lot about movies, John Hillcoat’s The Proposition is an example of a major influence in the way we thought the space and the environment of this issue. A lot of shadows, not very contrasted imagenery. When I was writing I thought a great deal about Franz Kafka, Nikolai Gogol, Dostoeivsky and Philip Roth environments, Joseph Conrad too – Heart of Darkness is one of those books. Despite the differences of styles in their writing most of them have something in common to their characters, probably about them as human beings as well. It seems that the sky is falling on them. And that could be said about Plot (*) too in this part of the story.
In the picture above there’s some of the color studies that Brown did before arriving to the final product. We did quite a lot of studies, what we were searching wasn’t a pretty image, but something that conveyed the absurd dimension of this entire situation and Plot’s horror. And to be funny as well. The Narrator is awesome…
Then we start adding the ballons to see how they work in the Panel and we get to something very close to the final result, which you can see in the picture above.
Now it’s just adding the Taradiddle folks that are missing in the picture and we’re done. But that, I’ll show you another day.
(*)Plot is our main character in case you’re reading this for the first time, it’s not like the narrative has the sky falling on it. Althought that might happen sometimes, I think…
April 14, 2011
So, here’s an excerpt of the script of Horse Stories #2, “A Dramatic Trial Pt. I”. It’s in Portuguese I’m afraid, we’re both portuguese, so in the script only the characters dialogue is in English. You can still look at the way I format the script. It’s a bit different from screenwriting for cinema.
Most scripts of comics are divided by pages, and pages are divided into panels. Instead of scenes, as in screenwriting for movies. Everytime a new panel starts, in this case for example, I make a reference to it in caps lock “VINHETA 1” (PANEL 1) and the dimension that it will have, “OCUPA A LINHA TODA” (OCCUPIES THE ENTIRE LINE).
I like the classical arrangement of panels. And Horse Stories until now has been a lot like that. I find that the more you create chaos, or you’re stylized just for the sake of being stylized the less you focus on meaning. Alan Moore’s From Hell, one of my favorite graphic novels, pretty much is three vignettes per line and one in introductions of a new chapter. And it goes deep.
In the end writing for one medium or the other for me is quite similar – being the other, cinema. It’s all about the human condition: light, darkness, a giant rainbow of infinite colors and accident. Comics have something that cinema doesn’t, you create your own timings. You can take 10 seconds looking at a vignette or one hour. Cinema has motion, sound… But hey, let’s not get into this. Read Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics or anything that Eisenstein ever wrote about cinema.
So, to the 1st vignette:
VINHETA 1 – OCUPA ESTA LINHA TODA
Estamos no tribunal de Taradiddle. Paredes e tecto de madeira, sem decoração nenhuma. A igreja do There Will be Blood é uma boa referência. Plano Picado simétrico às linhas do tribunal – o mesmo espaço . No centro há uma pequena área de 10 de comprimento por 4 de largura, uma pequena gradeamento de madeira divide o público que assiste ao julgamento do Plot. A sala está cheia de pessoas que se atropelam e vociferam impropérios – nem mais uma pessoa cabia ali. As que estão à frente dobram-se todas na gradação para ficar o mais próximo possível do arguido. Quase todas as personagens que vimos no número anterior estão aqui. Do lado esquerdo está
You weak ingrateful bastard! After everything we gave you?! Hang him!! Hang him!!
Ao lado está o David que está com uma expressão de “para quê isto tudo” – a mesma de quando aparece no 1#.
Perto está Mrs. Goldsmid com um ar suplicante. Tem as mãos juntas ao peito. Ao seu lado está Mr. Goldsmid com uma bengala no ar a explodir de raiva – este Mr. Goldsmid vai ser um bocado como aquele velhote de bengala do Astérix e Obélix que está sempre rodeado de mulheres e sempre a querer andar à porrada.
O Tony está perto deles.
What have you done with the Plot Points?! Oh God, the Plot Points!!
MOTHERFUCKER!! Give the heretic bastard to me! I’ll tear his insides out!!
Ao lado está o Hero – no centro da plateia da frente com ar de quem está a discursar. A Mistress está ao seu lado. Como é demasiado bonita e amedrontada não tem inteligência nem coragem para dizer o que quer que seja pensado por ela própria e só diz que sim a tudo o que o marido diz, então faz-se valer pelo quão alto berra e parece dedicada a esta causa comum. Porque, à sua maneira, há bastante tempo que os habitantes de Taradiddle não estavam tão unidos.
This is unprecedented in this towns history! Never were my eyes sullied with such a desacration of dramatic construction! I say, maximum penalty!!
It’s unprecedented! BURN HIM!!
Os figurantes ao seu lado dividem a sua atenção pelo ódio ao Plot e pela adoração ao Hero e à Mistress.
Do lado direito quase no limite da página está o Narrador com os braços no ar todo atabalhoado a vociferar.
Por toda a sala ouvimos em balões de ruído: “DEATH TO THE PLOT!”, “DIE!!”, “HANG HIM!”, “KILL HIM!”.
O Plot está no seu lugar, sentado numa cadeira de madeira, com uma expressão horrorizada. Os olhos abertos e vazios, olha para a frente onde não vemos ninguém, o corpo numa posição hirta e tensa. O Marlon Brando no Apocalyspe Now, “The horror, the horror”, ou o Howard Beale no Network. Está com tantas dores de cabeça, com tanta ansiedade que parece já não sentir nada – que tudo o que foi se perdeu. Está tão frágil que até o horror parece divertido na cara dele.
April 14, 2011
As in most (*) comic books, Horse Stories started in paper as a story. I had the idea for the comic when I was living in Amsterdam, a couple of years ago, and in the midst of being frustrated writing a short movie that I wanted to do there I did this two page story in about half an hour.
There were horses talking, characters rambling about their arcs of action and a lot of screenwriting nonsense… But it was so fun to write that I decided to carry on. I worked on it just a bit, turned it into a script and showed it to my friend, André Brown, that I had previously worked in a short movie where he did the storyboard, and I knew his work very well.
He was kind of a myth in our department – we met in college, pretty much everyone knew his work but didn’t knew who was doing it; and everyone that I ever showed his blog got instantly hooked to it. He used to make this one strip comics about his day to day life, ninjas, stuff exploding. Here’s us, he’s with the pony tail, I’m the one on the right in the first panel.
Currently he works as an artist in Seed Studios, a videogame company, that is lauching the first videogame designed enterily by a portuguese team, Under Siege. You can see some of his art in the “Artwork” window.
He liked it and we started working on it. I’m gonna take you through our process using the first panel of our 2# as an example.
(*) Hayao Miyazaki, for example, starts with a storyboard instead.
April 9, 2011
These two panels are an unfinished excerpt of the comic book series written by me and drawn by the artist, and friend, André Brown (Seed Studios). It will be called Horse Stories: A Series of Misadventures in the Land of Taradiddle and it’s about a group of people in a misterious, midwestern town called Taradiddle.
Plot, our main character, went insane, and that, we don’t know yet exactly why, threw everyone in that town into a parade of debauchery and absurdity. The Sheriff Deux Ex Machina and the Deputy Twist, immune to that, proceded to seize Plot and summoned right away a court headed by the Judge Philosophous Anonymous to judge him for the crimes of bad dramaturgical conduct and immoral exposition. And that’s from where this series will depart.
The comic doesn’t have publication confirmed yet. Each issue will be about three to seven pages and we’re currently working in the third issue. We’re waiting for some replies to submissions we’ve sent but in case you’re reading this and you know a publishing company, or you work in one, that might be interested please let us know. We’re considering to publish it as a digital comic as well. You can leave a comment here or send me an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many thanks and I’ll be posting news and little sneak peaks of Horse Stories.