Hello, I’m pretty certain none of you know me. My name is Daniel Irizarri and I’m here because Chris Thompson very graciously asked me to write something for you; his audience. Why? I have no idea, but it might have something to do with the fact that I was privileged to have a short comic showcased as a back up in the most recent issue of Image Comics’ Prophet, drawn by Simon Roy. Of course, this is just me taking a stab in the dark about it. So here’s a little insight on how it got made, and what thoughts went into the story (I hope) you all read. Before that, here’s a little about myself.
Prophet #32 marks my American comics debut but I’ve been drawing comics since long before that. It wasn’t until 2007 though, that I decided to make work that was actually presentable online. I wrote and drew Mecha-Reign which was,a short-lived, self-published series that I would work on between classes and the semblance of a social life that I had back then. I finished a total of 4 issues that can still be read over at my deviantart account (dio-03.deviantart.com), but don’t expect more anytime soon.
A lot happened between then and the Prophet back-up. For a time I thought working pencil samples for Marvel and DC was how you got into comics. For some it still is, but for me it became pages going to waste on imaginary fan-stories and not anything that had actual meaning to me. So I started concentrating more on sci-fi and the freedom that it gave me in terms of content. Things could be weird and glow and look fun and everyone could have space-suits. I felt like I had truly gotten somewhere personally as an artist.
So when I was talking to Brandon Graham about what I wanted to do for the short, I showed him some of the sci-fi illustrations that I had worked on, and wrote out a good synopsis of a story I could do with one. Brandon was unbelievably cool about it, in the sense that he just trusted me to see which-ever one I picked through to the best of my abilities, which is great but also a terribly daunting. Still, I outlined the plot and hoped that my abilities would be enough to craft a decent 5 page short story.
I tried not to go nuts on little details but made just enough to actually work on the story. The advantages of working short stories is that you need relatively little plotting and design to make a consistent world. You create enough to fill the page and then you hope the reader will fill in the rest with their imaginations. I just need to know enough of the story for me to start drafting pages.
Drafts are where you solve all the story-telling problems so that when you do start drawing you can concentrate on making it look pretty and not on glaring continuity problems, ideally, since I still found myself making changes and corrections from draft to drawn page. Still, this way I was able to see how the story looked in sequence and knew that the pace was going to work for the kind of story I wanted to make.
Page 1 – The initial idea was to have one image that would bookend the story and sort of give you a visual conclusion to the action. So in page one it was important to give you a good clean shot of Verde Luz as a thriving, green and beautiful planet. It had to look like that sort of paradise tourism companies sell you in brochures. The other thing was making sure no one looked at the creature in the second panel, and through the coloring I was able to do that pretty successfully. All the set up for the next 4 pages is here, and we have a flashlight conveniently illuminating everything of interest.
Page 2 – In page two, and really every page, I was trying to really take advantage of everything that color brings to the story. The flash light keeps you interested in the actions, but it also serves to hide the fungus creature in that last panel, by contrast. I’m actually really happy with how the reveal looked, having it be illuminated by the containers internal light, and it’s always fun to have scenes like this juxtaposed with positive or celebratory dialogue.
Page 3 – Since this was a 5 page story, I was very aware that by this page I had to have the mutant fungus monster scaring her, doing this through the glass was the best for that, and it let me push the creepiness for 2 more panels before her big realization. My friend and assistant-person hated the yellow I used in that third panel because it came out of nowhere, but I didn’t care. It’s panic, it’s yellow, it’s bright and loud. When I showed it initially to a friend and when he asked me what font I used for it, it was like a little victory in my head, cause I had drawn those by hand on the wacom tablet.
Page 4 – This was the escape page. It’s always tricky to show movement and transitions from place to place clearly. Panel 4 did wonders for this, and the coloring helped in spades as well, since the room she was coming from was brighter than the one she was going into. Lastly, a moment a lot of people responded well to, the reveal that the poor thing wasn’t a terrible ol’ monster but just a lonely creature that had fallen for the first person it had seen in years. I wanted people to just feel a little bad for the guy and making a monster like that look sad isn’t easy.
Page 5 – Here’s where I tied it all up and finished with the other bookend, the view of Verde Luz and the space bridge as it is after years of deterioration. Of course, for that you have to get the main character on the ship and out of harms way. I feel like I managed to do that at a reasonable pace, and I’m pretty proud of the sequence in general and directing the readers eyes (hopefully) to where I wanted them looking.
All in all, I think that the comic worked. Believe it or not, the story is sort of layered if you want to read into it further, but regardless I’m just happy to have the work out there and have people enjoying it. I’m never totally comfortable with my writing, so I can’t really give you my honest thoughts about it, but I will say that I liked writing the conversations between the main character and ship. I could write those for pages and pages after these 5 and I wouldn’t get tired. Who knows, this might not be the last time you all get to see these two out in the depths of space.