Friday, July 31, 2015

Act 2 Script Redone - Badin and the Secret of the Saami

Like the Act 1 revision, Act 2 is cut down to 20 pages. With four acts at 20 pages each, I should be at 80 total comic pages. The story is moving along much better rewritten. The Saami elements and the antagonist of the story are starting to become more real.

I have quite a bit of anxiety about how readers of Saami ancestry will take to my embellishments and historical fiction. I am consulting with trusted sources that are knowledgeable and part of the Saami culture. Yet, I cannot bind myself, as my characters are entirely fictional—and must remain so or I will have a story without much action. However, as a man of African descent in the United States, the last thing I want to do is to malign or insult another minority.

Who could this be?
From the very beginning, my motivation has been to connect people of African descent in Scandanavia with Sapmi (the proper expression of the Saami people and culture throughout Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia). They have much in common. Moreover, I continue to work on the story to ensure that I leave the readers—no matter what their ethnicity—feeling good about the underrepresented underdogs of society (minorities, immigrants, etc). I especially want Saami and African and other immigrant youth of Sweden to be inspired by the story. Sweden is their home. They should feel at home and contribute to its progress as those before them did so long ago.

Although there is no evidence that Couchee (Badin) had any experience with Saami folk, I want that experience for him (that is the beauty of writing historical fiction). Of all the great places and people of Sweden I was exposed when I starred in Allt För Sverige, living with Saami people for a few days was something I wished I could have done. The more I learn about them—and the more I work on developing my Saami characters—the more I respect and honor their great heritage.

The Saami people may be a minority in Sweden, but they are at its foundation. The same goes for Africans in Sweden. Neither of these realities can be ignored any longer. And that, I hope, will be at least partly remedied with Badin and the Secret of the Saami and my work to translate Badin's diary.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Act One Redone

Top secret abstract
from the concept sketchbook
No doubt about it, this graphic novel, Badin and the Secret of the Saami, is going into overtime. Since I have no money, it won't be going over budget. I just finished reworking Act 1. I broke Act 3 into two parts. So now I have four acts that make this graphic novel more like those old four-issue limited series comics I loved to collect in the 1980's: Cloak and Dagger, The Sub Mariner, The Falcon, Machine Man, etc.

It was actually exhilarating to work on Act 1 without the shackles of what is conventionally acceptable. Since I'm not seeking to fit in with any established publisher's way, there is just no need to worry about panel counts, word counts and glamorous panoramas. Clearly Frank Miller broke the mold and I'm going to follow his lead. He made a masterpiece out of the grotesque and elegant sides of the Batman ethos.

Re-writing Act 1—and the subsequent need to rewrite the other Acts—has really changed the story's presentation. It has allowed me to incorporate more detail, plot complexity and—contrary to popular belief—speed up the pacing ten-fold. Unfortunately, I haven't drawn anything since doing this. I just don't have the time. However, with a stronger script, drawing should come by much easier.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Seeking a Deeper Meaning

From a model sheet for a character
In the previous post I mentioned that I have been putting more attention back to the script for Badin and the Secret of the Saami. I have been in the midst of adjusting to a new work schedule and some serious problems with a family member. Seeking to be efficient with my time, I have been thinking of ways to channel the stress into making this story deeper. So I have been redressing the script from beginning to end. So far I have been pleased with the results. The consequences, however, mean that this thing is going to take longer than I anticipated.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Distracted with Re-writing

The script for Badin and the Secret of the Saami is beginning to consume me. This is by no means unrelated to my intense study of Frank Miller's Batman series from the mid-1980s and the Incredible Hulk issues 300 and up. The stories contained within the artwork is the life essence of the characters, places and events of comic books. I never understood this as a child. It is becoming increasingly clear to me now.

So I broke away from model sheets this week, imported the Microsoft Word documents into Scrivener and began making changes to the script. I will intentionally break many established illustration and compositional rules for creating comics with this graphic novel (that is what happens when you pour over unique work such as that by Frank Miller). It is risky. Yet I know I am not as experienced as other full-time comic illustrators and the necessity of following my spirit with a loose pen and a tight story must be fed properly.

By the way, the Saami and main characters are completed. I even started working on one of the major locations. I was a up a few hours for that one. I know you'll like it when it is done. Today, I also decided I needed to make these blog entries a bit more interesting by inserting some teaser images from pencil drawings. It will be up to you to speculate. I am keeping quiet about their descriptions until after the graphic novel goes on sale.