Friday, July 05, 2013

Tall comics

For the new Bad Machinery story I decided to do tall comics. I had been working in a landscape format for three and a half years, and for most of that time I had felt completely constrained by the format. Landscape creates a world of problems with pacing. Or rather, it created a world of problems with pacing for ME. I found myself slicing my two rows up into ever smaller slivers in an attempt to move things along.

The new format I'm drawing in isn't really double the size of the old pages - that would take twice as long to draw - it's probably a third to a half more real estate. I am sure that some kind of mathematical hero will tell me exactly how much more room to manoeuvre I have. But the additional space has already started to change the comics - there's room to be thinky and (hopefully) funny at the same time, to switch scenes mid-page, and explore ideas without running out of page.

The change of format feels right as well because Bad Machinery is about characters who are getting older with each case, and as they get older, the nature of the comic will change. The adventures of 11 year olds are distinct from what 14 year olds would get up to. I think there's room to make these changes, and define the cases from number 7 onwards differently.

(Case number 6 feels awkward and transitional to me, I'm not sure I want that one to come out as a book. But you can see what I was heading towards now)

When I've seen the Bad Machinery book racked in bookstores, it's a little disappointing to see it next to Batman, rather than with the kids' books. Needless to say, I intend to capitalise on this placement by including a violent night vigilante in all future stories. But the one thing I do like about the landscape format is how much wider than Batman my books are. Stuff you, Caped Crusader.


Edmund Ward said...

Case 6 was a triumph. A triumph, I tell you!

Michael said...

Loving the format change, and not just because it means we get more Bad Machinery (although that doesn't hurt!). The older format was ok, but it did feel somewhat cramped. The humor was - I think - never really punch-line based, so giving it more room to breathe like this really makes it feel a lot stronger.

Also, count me as another vote in favor of Case 6 - enjoyed it quite a bit (unless you meant awkward in a formatting sense, in which case, I am not the expert).

Claire said...

I did enjoy Case 6 (the gloomy ghost, genius!), largely because I am always enjoying the appearances of Erin Winters - Girl Journalist! (even if I do get so mind-boggled by the implications of her trip-to-hell and return!)

I noticed that the strips had changed, but tragically for me did not have the observation skills to realise how - except that I did like it!

Fangz said...

I did try to switch to a landscape format for a while (someone made an argument to me about the landscape nature of PC monitors) and ran into the exact same problem in terms of pacing. It doesn't seem like the landscape format accommodates panel layouts other the the standard regular boxes very well at all. I'm relieved to see that other, wiser people have the same issues.

Unknown said...

What I find most charming about your style development is how at some point you began to channel the spirit of Roald Dahl. Your Polish walnut monster was very reminiscent of "Mr. Twit", among others. During this time travel story, I almost expected to see a cameo of one of Dahl's classic characters. Mayby in the future the gang could battle the ghosts of the Twits, just briefly, as an opener to another tale.
This sounds as ideal an English town as you can find, really. Even the most liberal characters seem unwittingly caught up in the beautiful traditions.