Reflecting on Creating a Comic

boolean by you.

I’ve been fully immersed in creating my new comic, Outerworld Web, and I thank everyone who has been giving me some feedback. It’s been mostly positive, which indicates to me that I am on the right track with my characters and my angle. Even my older son liked it, although he commented that he thought it could be funnier and that most comics have original art. Sure, kid.

On a whim, I wrote to the local newspaper and asked if they would be interested in an original comic strip from an area teacher (me) and I got a response back yesterday from the top editor, saying he was intrigued but would need to speak to the online editors. He also voiced concern that it might be difficult to keep a comic stip going over the long haul. I told him that I already have more than 20 of the Outerweb World comics done (it’s true), so we’ll see what happens.

As a writer, it has been interesting process. Three frames are barely enough space to get a character set up, a story moving and then the punch line that should come at the end. While I seem to have a lot of ideas, how to narrow and condense down into the structure of the comic strip genre has been a challenge — and quite enjoyable, actually. I think working with Six Word Stories and Day in a Sentence has been helpful, as those two activities force the writer to focus on the essentials.

At first, I thought that Mr. Teach would be a very central character, but he is not. Boolean and Urth are the centerpins of the comic, so far. I also thought that I would be Mr. Teach, and that is the case to some degree, but I am finding myself thinking more like Boolean and identifying with his urge to tinker and mess things up. I’m finding myself channeling parts of my personality through the characters in an interesting way. Mr. Teach allows me to introduce a concept, but Boolean allows me to poke holes in ideas and voice an off-kilter view of the world. I like that. Urth is Boolean’s friend, and literary foil, and his odd take on things helps spice up the story.

I am purposely narrowing down the cast of characters at this point, but I suspect that if I keep it up, I’ll have to bring in some blood to liven up the strip. I think I can do more with Boolean’s pet, Funk, but I haven’t figured it out yet.

Finally, I am liking the minimal nature of the comic art design, but I wonder if others think there is not enough going on. Since I am viewing the comic primarily as a writer, I am focusing in on what is being said, and not said. Art has never been “my thing” and I would love to find an artist who could do the artwork for the comic strip (know anybody? Let me know). I even put out a call on Classroom 2.0, but nobody responded to the post.

Anyway, here is another installment of Outerworld Web (and you can always go to my home site). This may be the last one until I figure out what might or might not happen with the newspaper, as I am not sure if they will republish comics that I have already put on the Web.

Peace (in three frames),
Kevin

Comics and Bears for PhotoFriday

It’s time for PhotoFriday (the collective Flickr photo sharing group started up by Bonnie) and I am sharing out two photos this week.

The first photo is related to my Slice of Life story the other day, as I captures a bear going through my trash:

The second one is another installment of my new comic series called Outerworld Web. (You can also catch up on the series at my new Google Sites home of the comic):

Peace (in pictures),
Kevin

Making My Own Comic: Outerworld Web

I am beginning a foray into the world of comics, somewhat inspired by a friend in the National Writing Project who does create his own comic strip for his local newspaper. I am no artist, so I have turned to a site called StripGenerator, which I like for its relative simplicity and strangeness.

My comic is called Outerworld Web and it features a kid character named Boolean, who is a student. The stories will be based loosely on my own teaching experiences and stories that I have gathered from others here and there. A theme will be technology in the classroom, but that won’t be exclusive. I am also hoping to create a Google Site to collect all of my comics as they come to fruition.

As a writer, I am hoping this experience will allow me to create some lesson plans for both comic creation and comic publishing.

Here is my introductory comic:

(click here or on the comic to go to large view of the comic)

And the first installment of Outerworld Web:

(click here or on the comic to go to the larger view of the comic)

If you have stories or ideas that you want to share with my newly created comic mind, please let me know. Also, any feedback on the comic would be most appreciated, as I am in new terrain here.

Peace (in frames),

Kevin