LET’S TALK ABOUT WRITING COMICS
Above you can see the fifth page as it appears in Adventure Time #2 (out tomorrow! BUY IT, YOU WILL HAVE THIS MANY REGRETS ABOUT BUYING IT: NONE). I thought I’d show how the script compares to the final page!
In issue one, I wrote out page layouts for Braden and Shelli, saying things like “we’ve got these panels 1x3 on the page, and then a splashy panel 4, and then panel 5 long and skinny beneath that”. But then they surprised me with rough pencils that a) used my layouts in a few cases because b) came up with way better ones a ton of the time. So in this issue (and onwards!) I just said “hey, here are the panels with what’s happening inside of them” and let Braden and Shelli do the layouts. They’re awesome at it!
For example, check out the long, tall panels they drew on this page! They work SO WELL and communicate the heights that Jake’s reaching up to in a really nice visual way. But it’s not just layout: in the script I have Jake’s “Anything’s better than runningggggg” line happen in panel 4, but here in the comic his dialogue is spread out across panels 5 and 6 too, being pulled up with Jake as he stretches himself higher. Nice! It makes the page more fun to look at (and read!) and we get the sense of Jake’s words fading away as he gets higher up, which is exactly what I was going for. It’s always awesome when you can translate vocal effects like this to a silent, visual medium, and still have them come through like I’m whispering into your ear!
At this point I imagine writing this comic like a game of tennis: I send the ball over the net as hard as I can, confident that the other members of the team will be able to return it, and they do, but every single ball they hit returns as a hunk of solid gold.
DANG. TEAMWORK, YO.
Anyway here’s the script! This is from the third draft, dated January 22nd, 2012.
Jake (big) with Finn on his back and DP being pulled up by Finn, as he runs off at full speed. Finn is helping DP up by her hands.
FINN: If we just pick a direction and run, we’re bound to hit the edge of the bag eventually!!
NARRATION: Twenty minutes later:
Jake, flopped out on the ground, exhausted, legs splayed, Finn standing beside him, DP is on her knees in the sand building something.
JAKE: Man, I’m pooped. I don’t think running is the answer here, dudes. I think running - I think running might actually be the worst.
DP has made three sand drinks with straws. She offers the extras to Finn and Jake.
DP: Gentlemen! Maybe we’re thinking too two-dimensionally! Maybe we can escape… up?
We see a low-angle looking up with Finn and DP as Jake spirals off into the sky, legs still on the ground. Finn and DP staring upwards. Finn is taking the offered drink absent-mindedly.
JAKE (words getting smaller as he blasts into the sky): Anything’s better than runningggggggg
Same angle, but now Finn and DP sip on their sand drinks while they stare at Jake going up into the sky.
Same angle, but now Finn tastes what he’s drinking and spits out sand while DP continues to sip and stare upwards at Jake.
ALT: a little tiny comic at the bottom of the page featuring Marceline, addressing the camera.
P1: Remember when the Lich was attacking me and my totally sweet house?
P2: Remember how instead of helping me out, you turned the page and read about Finn and Jake instead?
P3: Well I don’t have to remember because he’s still attacking me and IT’S HAPPENING RIGHT NOW!!
Can we talk about for a moment how perfect Ryan is at writing this series? I feel like he hatched from an ADVENTURE TIME egg.