We just finished the two week Golden Age Project this past Thursday, and if I do say so myself, it turned out fantastic! This year, we were broken up into three groups and assigned a genre (Education, High Seas, Jungle Teen). I was placed in the High Seas group led by Captain Jason Lutes (and Firstmate Josh Kramer) with five other people: Billage Bedard, Sean K, Mia Onorato, Andy Warner, and Nate Wootters. The idea behind this project is to simulate the ol’ comics “bullpen” from back in 1941 where artists and writers had to churn out full color 32-page comic books in two weeks. So as soon as we broke into groups, we had a mind-melding brainstorm, planned out a 3-part 28-page story arc (4 pages are reserved for front/back and inside covers) in less than an hour, and began making character designs and thumbnailing the script. Jason assigned everyone roles so that all the work was managed evenly; we were partnered up to write one section of the story, then assigned a job of either penciling or inking. I was paired with Mia (a history and sailing enthusiast) to write Part 3. I was also a penciler and worked on Part 3. Whenever I finished a page, I would send it to Andy to spot black certain areas, and then Nate would ink it. When all the inks were done, Nate did a color sketch of the whole comic with a limited 1940’s color palette, and we all followed his guides to color the pages.
In case you are confused by all my comics terminology, here’s a snapshot of the process, and hopefully you can roughly see how it got from start to finish.
Thumbnail from script:
My penciled page:
Nate’s inked page from the pencils:
Then I added color to this page:
Finally to give it an old-fashioned 1941 look, we ran the colors through a pixelation filter to make the colors halftoned and added just a bit of color misregistration (don’t do this for present-day comics!):
Okay, now do that for thirty more pages and lay it out in InDesign, fill all the word balloons with dialogue, and proofread it at least twenty times before you even try to print.
It was a completely collaborative process, something I’d never experienced before. It was the first time I’ve ever made comics with other people. In a lot of ways it was difficult to adjust to working in a group since making comics has become a very solitary process. But there was a wonderful SYNERGY to the project where you’re all on the same page with this vision, and you get something you would never have been able to get on your own. Would I do it again? If only I were so lucky..! But I’m glad it’s over because at some point we just need to move on!
The kicker to this project is that since the comic is in full color, it costs $8 to print just one copy, which is a steep price to sell to others. I’m still looking into ways to print this sucker out more affordably. But until then! I’m gonna put up a downloadable PDF for people who want to read it. If you REALLY like it, you can have a printed copy if you are willing to pay the printing costs and shipping (I will say honestly that it is a great comic to have in hand).
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