Thursday, April 17, 2014

Mad Origins of the Seekers - preview!

(This is part of an introductory article that will be featured in the "Seekers of Tomorrow" booklet, available at Fort Wayne's Appleseed Con in May. The full article in the booklet has some additional illustrations from the initial storyboard stage, and those tell the story of the development of the strip as much as the text does here.)

The strips in this booklet began as a college project a few years ago, in a storyboarding class at IPFW taught by independent filmmaker and small press comic book artist Allen Etter. I’d had a whole other life in graphic design and in comics before then, most notably with “Arthur: King of Britain,” which I wrote and drew for Gary Reed’s Caliber Comics waaaay back in the 1990’s. However, that was then, this was now, and I hadn’t done a fully illustrated project for a very long time. Specifically, I’d never drawn a comic-strip in a daily newspaper format (which I’d always loved) that actually had a planned ending. Taking stock of what I could realistically get done within the time allotted for the project, I decided that a self-contained three week long storyline (18 strips) would be a lot of fun, and would scratch a long ignored itch!

A short story which dealt with just a handful of characters seemed to make sense, and I decided to begin with the concept of Mars as a dying world - something Edgar Rice Burroughs dealt with in his Mars novels a full century before. Unlike Burroughs’ adventurous worlds of swords, ray guns, and scantily clad beauties, my story would be a little bit more like an over-the-top episode of “The Twilight Zone,” or the kind of short science fiction story that could have been found in an old EC comic from the 1950’s. Setting the story a full thousand years in the future meant that centuries of terraforming would have been done, and now, in the story’s present, all of that work was beginning to crumble. This was a scenario I’d played around with for twenty years or more, but it never made it past a few finished pages before I’d get distracted by something else. This time would be different ...

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