Friday, February 28, 2014

My Next Book, Ella Strange

Hello! I've got a lot going on right now with writing the the next few issues of Facebeast, but I wanted to take a second to talk about the other book I'm in the process of making. It's called Ella Strange.

A possible cover for the comic book I'm working on called Ella Strange

Ever since I stopped making my webcomic, The Hall Monitors, I've been itching to start another comic of my own. I think I've grown as both an artist and a storyteller and I wanted to create something that I could challenge myself with and show everyone what I've learned in the past few years. When I first started writing this comic, I knew I wanted a few things:

  • A comic that revolved around music. Music was (and still is) a big part of my life. I just love writing about musicians and people who play in a band. 
  • A comic with a strong female lead character. This isn't about making a political statement or anything. While I agree that comics need more strong female leads, I'm not the type of person who stands on a soapbox and makes things for a cause. This is purely about challenging myself. I'm a dude, admittedly, and that's pretty much all I know how to write. Any female characters I've put in my comics in the past are just women who act like dudes. So it's time for a change.
  • A comic series that was structured like a trilogy. When I wrote a comic before, I just wrote whatever came to my head first. This time I'm trying to plan it out a little better and give it a proper three act structure. I've taken a lot of influence from the original Star Wars trilogy, and how that story was structured. For this series I'm shooting for 9 issues, with an act spanning 3 issues. When it's all done, the 9 issues will be made into 3 trades containing 3 issues each.
  • A comic in black and white. Up until now I've only made my comics with color. This is because I don't know how to properly ink a comic. I've been hiding behind color, which looks pretty, but is super expensive and time consuming. If only I knew how to ink beyond just outlines, I would save some time and money! Well, I'm trying to challenge myself again here. I'll be using Manga Studio for all my inking and toning.
For the past few months I've been outlining a story. The gist of what I've settled on is a story about a girl who is somewhat of an outcast. She's a musician who just joined a band as their vocalist and keytar player. After her first show with the band she encounters something from out of this world that gives her strange powers. I guess I shouldn't give away too much, or else you won't have anything new to read when it's done!

The story has gone through some changes over the past few months, though. For instance, Ella was originally going to play a magical ukulele that her grandfather passed down to her. I realized, though, that ukuleles just aren't cool enough for mainstream audiences, and so I changed it to a keytar... (ahem)...

I have all nine issues outlined at the moment, with issue 1 being the only issue completely written. The first issue has about 20 pages. As for art, I have a few pages penciled at the moment, and I'm getting about 2 or 3 done a week. I still have a day job, so I'm trying to get as many pages done as I can in my free time. My goal is to launch a Kickstarter for #1 sometime in April or May. I'm shooting for a $1000 goal, which will cover the cost of printing 500 copies of #1 and shipping to backers. If I go over that goal, I'll use that money for stretch goal rewards, more copies of the book, and maybe some convention costs as well.

That's about it for now. I plan on using this blog to post updates on the book, as well as updates on other projects I'm working on. Thanks for reading!

- Josh