Developing a comic (start to finish) Step One: The concept

Plot Development, Virtual Comics Club

I read today about a call for submissions for comics to be published in Future Sci-Fi Tales #5. I figured this is an opportunity to walk the Virtual Comics Club through my process to put together a short comic story. From concept to completion.

The boring stuff

Projects often start with the boring stuff. Collecting the submission information the publisher provided a set of guidelines for submission:

  • Between 4 to 10 pages
  • Page layout is follows the Ka-Blam template (7 in by 10.5 in 300 dpi – pixels per inch)
  • Story must be Science Fiction, set in the future.

Developing the concept

From there I started developing the concept. I started thinking about the Isekai genre of anime, where characters are transported or trapped in a virtual or video game world. I wanted to turn this popular concept on its head. I wrote down a lot of concepts and inspirations:

  • Two Artificial Intelligences playing games with real people
  • The Zhuangzi quote of the dreaming samurai
  • The X-Files episode: Kill Switch
  • Masamune Shirow’s Ghost in the Schell
  • Blade Runner (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep)

I’m going to keep that list taped up next to my sketchbook as I work on the concepts.

Blocking out the rough plot

This project is being built as a one-off so there is a limited amount of world building involved. My process is usually to work on a sketchbook and work through the project/issue on a page by page basis. I like working on an unstructured page so I can put notes wherever I want and graphically arrange my thoughts.

I decided the plot would follow levels of a video game and that the “players” wouldn’t be revealed until the end. The splash page would post player stats and have them dialoging about buying their freedom from the game. I broke down each level would be 1-2 pages and the players would fail to defeat the boss.

Tomorrow Ill work on character development.

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