Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Another scrapped project

When I went to the Comic Con International in San Diego in 2004, I came back with a job! I had met an editer named Allan Freeman, who had done some pro stuff in his time, but has since been publishing small press comics. Incredibly nice guy, a professional all the way. He liked my stuff and wanted to connect me with one of his writers to work on something. It was a comic series called Solitaire and it was about a young black women who uses witchcraft to fight evil. Basically, think Witchblade but she's black. The script I got was very sparse, with no character descriptions, and impossible panel breakdowns. I tried not to dwell on it and began designing the main character. Simple enough, but it led to big problems between me and the writer. Here now, is a brief insight into the evolution of a comic book character...


One of the first designs. I thought she'd look kinda normal. The goggles I liked, but told them I understand if they didn't want it. It turns out they wanted something more super. Allan liked it, but only as an everyday outfit. He wanted me to jazz it up some. The writer didn't like it at all, and when we talked over the phone all he kept saying was, "Have you seen Witchblade? Yeah, like that. Make her really sexy." So, I let loose...



This was one of the new designs. My favorite one actually. I indulged the idea of her being sexy and scantilly clad, but wanted to give her more of a punk edge. This would show a bit more confidence in her, that she was more comfortable with her body. Even to the point of being kind of rude with it, like with the crotchless jeans. She'd also have magical relics and charms strapped all around her, to give her more of an urban shaman look. I also think it's an original angle to take, being that you don't see many punkish black girls in comics. But the writer hated it. He again told me to draw her just like Witchblade, so finally I obliged...


So here's the big splash I did for them, which Allan absolutely loved, but the writer still didn't like it! He then actually emailed me pictures of Michael Turner's Witchblade artwork and in bold capital letters typed LIKE THIS! I got so frustrated with this guy, after a few more weeks of redesigns I quit. It turns out it wasn't my ideas he disliked. He just wanted me to draw like Michael Turner, and I wasn't prepared to completely imitate someone else. It was bad enough I was drawing some crappy Top Cow reject. I hate Top Cow. But if it got me published, I was willing, but only if it was my artwork. I hated quitting, especially since Allan was such a gentleman, but the writer and I weren't a good match, and that's putting it lightly.

Here are some of the other designs I came up with...

Duncan. Main supporting character. Everyman, but part of a secret society(*shrugs*) thats watching Solitaire. For some reason.

Darius, a vampire. I came up with the idea of him being stark white, to the point where his hair wouldn't even show detail. He'd be dressed in a sort of masonic uniform and carry this awesome sci fi staff that shot out energy 'n junk(an idea that my writer actually liked!). I still like the idea of an albino masonic vampire, and might use it later if the opportunity arises.


These are the unfinished pencils of page 1, which I was working on when I quit.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's messed up. I hate it when something with potential is just drug into the ground.

5:33 PM  
Anonymous jessecoombs said...

I don't know. While Ian's artwork is fantastic here, some of the best I've seen of his, the idea is a bit lame.

I feel the opposite about the main character designs. The more you redesigned her, the less I want to fuck her.

7:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haha - while I think that any idea has unlimited potential, I think I can agree that the likely product of said idea would have been lame. I thought the second page of drawings were pretty good...

10:09 PM  
Blogger Ian McEwan said...

Jesse:
I know you mean. I don't want to fuck some generic Victoria Secret witch. That's why coming up that last one was a)incredibly easy and b)felt like a complete cop-out. That immedaiatly says to me and a potential reader, "You have no reason to buy this book, it's just like everything else."

Anonymous:
I do think any idea has potential. I realy loved the idea of taking a rather generic plot and script, one that was nothing but Top Cow schlock, and seeing if I could make fresh and interesting by infusing an original look, in design and style. I guess I was overstepping my bounds, and I understand that it's the writers ideas I'm designing, so if he didn't like them fine, I'll do what he likes. That's what I was hired for. The only deal breaker was the demands of radical altering my artistic style to the point of imitation, which basically says to me, "You're not the artist we want." So I took the hint.

11:21 PM  
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