Ever wonder about what goes into the creative process of making a comic? Well, here’s a chance to see one perspective, namely mine. “My Comic From The Ground Up” is your chance to see me create that “test comic” I talked about in the last Progress Report (#3 in a series, collect them all). Yes, the logo was stolen lovingly appropriated from the Art & Story website, as part of their “Your Comic From The Ground Up” series. I will be using it, as well as the materials that came with the “Create Your Own Comic Book Kit” I showed off last report.
If you’d rather not be spoiled as to the final test comic, then you may want to ignore these series of posts and just come back later once I’ve finally gotten there.
So why start with a prologue? Well, the first installment of Mark & Jerzy’s series starts off with the concept pretty much already there. Now it’s just a case of developing the idea into a comic. In my first installment, however, I thought I’d show off how I came up with the initial idea.
My comic ideas for years have been sparked by some interesting thought patterns. I came up with a whole series concept thanks to an episode of Robocop: The Series (the live-action syndicated version) where Old Detroit keeps having the power turned off at night to save money, and gangs go wild. Most of the time, my ideas are the result of trying figure out what I would do in a given situation between episodes or commercial breaks, and what powers I would need to do it. Sometimes I put a character I already have in that situation which can sometimes further define that character for me or lead to a brand new character.
So what’s responsible for the idea I came up with for the test comic?
Did I mention that the weirdest things inspire me?
OK, to be more accurate, I did say that the idea was inspired by Snell of Slay, Monstrobot of the Deep in the last report. Well, that inspiration came from an article about that ad. An ad that he got from a war comic, because we all know how important ballerinas were in World War 2, and how much boys like ballerinas. (Maybe after puberty hits.) To be even more accurate, it was this throwaway line.
Of course, if they had just added a J they would have had the most perfect toy ever!!
If you read my response about how this would also be the perfect title for the Action Age, you’ll notice that they didn’t take up the challenge. However, my head was actually processing the idea, even though what I was coming up with didn’t really match what I would consider my usual style. (And although nothing’s been publishable, I have developed a style over the years.)
So we have our initial idea, Ninja Ballerina. (By the way, type that into a search engine. It’s actually not that unheard of.) Where do we go from there before we have a fully formed concept? Well, what does a ninja ballerina do? Since it’s a Troy A. Presents story not centered around Christmas, we can easily assume good vs. evil. So she’s a crime fighter, probably for one of those unknown government bureaus that are all the rage.
Where does the “Ballerina” come in?
Perhaps it’s her cover.
How does that work?
Well, what if it’s a traveling ballet group, and where they go she is sent on a mission to take out some bad guy.
I don’t know. Sounds awfully convenient.
Not if the troupe is in on it. They happen to be her support group. They perform at places where our ninja ballerina is supposed to do her real job.
Kind of been done before. Needs another hook.
OK, what if it’s told not from her point of view, but someone else in the group?
Sounds like the start of an idea, but how would she know what’s going on?
Maybe she doesn’t at first, but is slowly drawn into the ninja side of the world.
No, no, why have somebody who’s out of the loop in this group? It doesn’t fly.
Yeah. Well, what if only a few people were ever really in on it?
You need a small group to begin with. Why put some of them in danger if they’re all civilians?
Wait, I’ve got it! What if the whole darn thing is in the girl’s head?
The ballerinas? She’s Tick-level insane?
No, not her, the other girl. What if one night she sees her roommate sneak out, perhaps even in an outfit she mistakes for a ninja uniform?
Now we’re getting somewhere. If it’s one person’s daydream/fantasy, then almost anything could happen. So what are these people usually like?
Sorry, but that’s where the podcast series comes in. So if you want more details, keep checking in on this series, follow along with the corresponding Art & Story podcast, and watch the creation of the Ninja Ballerina test comic book…from the ground up!