Well here’s something a bit different!
Every now and then, I like to get stuck into a just-for-fun comics project. You may well have seen some stuff I wrote, pencilled, coloured or lettered for things like the old Transformers Mosaic project, which I’ve been fortunate to collaborate with some really talented people on. But a while back – last year, in fact – I decided I fancied stepping away from shiny metal robots and tackling big, scary monsters instead by writing a Godzilla story.
I’ve been a fan of the King of Monsters since I was a kid. Those movies are a lot of fun, and I’ve been very avidly following the most recent comics put out by IDW under license from Toho. These fostered a desire to tell my own little kaiju story, and before long, a bouncing baby 5 page script was born.
This went off to my pal Roy D. Stiffey, a fellow fan who just happened to be filling up his DeviantArt page with some cracking kaiju artwork. We’ve both been pretty busy since we started this thing up, so it’s been buffeted about in our schedules a bit. But it’s finally ready to unleash!
Roy and I have collaborated on several short fanboy-centric projects before and, not to gush, every time has been an absolute blast. He tackled this short comic with real enthusiasm, which was ridiculously evident as it neared completion.
If you’d like to check out more of Roy’s work, you can find him on DeviantArt here:
He’s also been working very industriously on his own book, entitled Anonymous Nancy. You can check that out here:
As for this strip itself, and the all important lettering (I figure that’s still what a lot of folks swing by this blog for, right?) it was a pretty easy project to approach – but not exactly the kind of thing I can do on autopilot.
The first thing you might notice is that the story is entirely told in captions. It had actually been on my mind for a while to set myself a challenge of telling a story without using speech balloons, and as I found myself writing this, it seemed to organically go that way. But it did raise a question of how I would make the captions mesh with the artwork. We decided pretty early on that we were going to keep the art to grey tones and not go full colour. So I was limited to using black and white. I opted not to use any grey tones in the captions themselves, because that might have made them pop off the art less. When working with colour in lettering, high contrast schemes a are always best. And that’s hard to do when you’re working in monochrome. You very quickly realise how limited your choices are.
Initially, those captions were going to have a tattered look to them, but this was just too much visual overload on top of Roy’s artwork. So I kept to straight (boring) rectangular boxes and opted to use a more characterful font to add interest.
Now, I’ve done two things here that I’m usually very, very reluctant to do on most projects. One is that I’ve used a typewriter style font. The other is that the captions are all rendered in sentence case.
My objections, generally, are that typewriter fonts can easily look hacky and over-done. I used ths same font recently on Spazdog Press’s ‘Nothing Can Stop Me Now’, a collection of short stories inspired by the music of Nine Inch Nails. In that instance, I had lettered several stories in that book, and going for this weathered, typeset look added a bit of variety. Here, I like the businesslike feel of it. The idea of the story’s narration being lifted from a typed report seems to support the use of lower case letters, and the worn look seems to be a good fit with the theme of monstrous carnage.
Lower case letters usually make me put a comic aside in a huff. I’m not a fan of the approach, and while I’ve seen it used on mainstream books before (it was a stylistic choice dictated by Marvel for a while) it’s never looked as elegant or immediately readable as all caps. But I’m never one to throw an idea out completely. Here, as I say, it seems to fit. Just don’t expect to see it again from me anytime soon!
Anyways – there it is. Hope you all enjoy the comic!