In a slight change of pace, I’m udpating this month with a sneak peek at a short story I wrote and lettered for this year’s newly launched Metaverse anthology. This is the third short story of mine that’s seen print, after ‘Oil And Water’ and ‘The Biggest Stick’, both of which appeared in the Paragon anthology.
Without further ado, here are the first three pages. Click and enlarge to enjoy them at full size.
‘A Star Falls’ was drawn by my buddy (and Lou Scannon artpunk extraordinaire) Dan Harris. Originally conceived as submision for 2000 AD’s ‘Future Shocks’, the idea proved too unwieldy for the comic’s specified 4 page limit, so it got shunted into my notes and saved for a rainy day. Whe the call for submissions to Metaverse went out, I found myself dusting it off and re-writing it quite drastically. The original story had been a deadly serious (quite po-faced, when I look back on it) swords and sorcery adventure. For the re-write, I found myself pushing things more and more in a spoof-y direction, and adding a lot of humour. Dan even made a few suggestions that made it into the final pages, with a bit of tweaking and re-writing. The effort seems to have paid off, as our 10 page opus was described as ‘the funniest story in Metaverse’, and has been responded to with quite some praise. Nothing beats the feeling of knowing people like what you’ve created!
As far as the lettering goes, ‘A Star Falls’ gave me an opportunity to experiment with some ideas I had been tinkering with for a while. I was due to letter a new issue of Lou Scannon soon after, and had been given the go-ahead to make some stylistic changes there. So I now had a golden opportunity to see how my ideas would mesh with Dan’s art style on a fresh piece before transplanting it there.
Something I did on this pages, which I think injects extra life into the reading experience, was to boost the point size of the lettering at certain points. Where characters are shouting or the narration describes something important, I bolded the text and made it larger, sometimes having to adjust the baseline values of the adjacent text. This may sound like a faff, but I feel it gives the story a certain extra something, and contributes to the energy of Dan’s artwork. It’s an approach I’ve been taking to other projects recently as well, most notably ‘Shahrazad’ for Big Dog Ink and ‘Salvagers’ for Hound Comics.
I have to say that this is a comic I’m really proud of. In fact, I’ve not had many projects that were as much pure, unadulterated FUN as this one. A lot of hard work was involved, and a lot of communication between myself and Dan – a key to any successful comics project. But I lettered these pages with a big grin on my face from start to finish. I’d work with Dan like this again in a hot minute, and I feel like we became firmer friends during the course of it.
Distribution for print copies of the Metaverse anthology is still being finalised. As soon as I know where and how you can buy a copy, I’ll be sure to update the blog with them. In the meantime special thanks must go to Paul Ridgon, who was originally slated to draw the story. Sadly, he had to pull out due to previous obligations. But his willingness and interest in my script was – and still is – very much appreciated.