Well, I did it. In a 24 hour block of time that started yesterday morning with an idea, I created a comic book novella (to call it a graphic novel might be to give it more creedance than it deserves). The book runs 44 frames (over 22 pages) and is called “Brothers on Ice,” as it tells the story of the time when my brother pulled me out of a frozen river. I also tried to capture some of the “place” of my childhood a bit.
Really, though, the idea comes from watching the strong relationships of my own children. It has made me think about my brother when we were kids.
So, after finishing up the book, I delivered it (and the one created by my 10-year-old son) back to the comic book store, where they will send them into the 24 Hour Comic project people, who are archiving all of the comics that were created during the event. Pretty neat.
While my son used pencil and comic book formatting paper, I used Comic Life and MS Paint. One thing I just noticed is that you can export your comic out of Comic Life in any number of formats, including as an HTML site and also as a movie/video. That is pretty neat. So I am going to try to narrate Brothers on Ice and see where that takes me. (And, I am thinking, I would love to get my students creating a comic strip, export as a movie and add their own voices. That could be a powerful idea.)
The 24 Hour Comic project is a worldwide event in which people gather to try to create a 24-frame comic in 24 hours of time. The project is promoted by many in the comic industry, such as Scott McCloud, as an interesting event for writers and illustrators.
So, as I have launched myself into the world of comics this year with Boolean Squared, I figured: why not take the plunge? Our local comic store — Modern Myths — is hosting folks all day long and is providing some basic materials. My older son also is interested and we may venture down there.
This morning, I drafted out my story — a true tale of the time when my older brother saved me from an icy river (which I once wrote about here). I’ll see how it goes today. I now have 23 hours left!
As I mentioned, last weekend, I headed off to Missouri to give a keynote talk at a conference at the Prairie Lands Writing Project. I also created a shortened version for their website and I figured I would share that out with you. (Actually, this is the main keynote and the smaller presentation on using Web 2.0 in Education I will share out later).
My friend, Glenn, is an inspiration to me for his work and thinking around comics. As another member of the National Writing Project, Glenn has published a regular webcomic with his regional newspaper that looks at local politics. It was called Nota Bene. I say “was” because after 100 comics, he is now moving on to a new comic strip project.
But he continues to think about ways to push the medium, and this week, he shared an experiment that moves comics into video, with narration. He has taken an issue — Merit Pay for teachers, and the possibilities of competition over students — and crafted this video. The voices are sort of creepy, which is the point.
So, today, my webcomic — Boolean Squared — got published on the website of the big regional newspaper and my venture into the world of creating comics is official. The newpaper (The Springfield Republican) also printed a short story in its paper version about the launch of the comic, so we’ll see where things go and how they develop.
I just found out that the big regional newspaper will be running my comic — Boolean Squared — as a webcomic on its site. More info to come later on all that as I talk it through with them, but I am pretty excited to be on the path to becoming a published comic strip creator. Neat.
And I decided to keep the name, Boolean Squared, as the title of the comic. Thank to everyone who took my little poll (there was even the kind suggestion of renaming it The Adventures of Binary Boy, which is quite catchy, I admit). Here are the survey results:
(note: there were sixteen responses and the numbers here reflect percentages, not raw numbers. Not sure why that didn’t come out in my graph.)
And, some of you also suggested some ideas for my characters. Here are a few:
the school bought a new copier but didn’t have an electrical outlet to plug it into;
something about adults not knowing how facebook or myspace work;
some digital-age variations on “the dog ate my homework”;
teachers having a life outside of school;
dress down Fridays;
server down or computer overheating;
reading buddies showing alter egos of older kids;
something about how a language teacher ends up stumping his class on a book report because he assigns a book SO OLD that there is NO reference to it digitally. So when the kids try to find a summary or anything, they can’t because the book is pre-digital age and is now out of print.
and a few others.
Thanks for the ideas. Some of them mirror my own and comics that I have already created (I have a year’s worth already done at this point).
I am in the midst of reconfiguring my comic strip. There are a couple of reasons for this:
I don’t like having to rely on an online site for creating the comic;
I don’t want to navigate copyrights if I can get my comic published, since the artwork was not mine but the property of the online comic creator site;
I wanted to add some color;
I wanted to change the name of the comic from Outerworld Web (which was fine when I first conceived the project but now has little to do with the characters) to Boolean Squared (which allows a focus on my main character);
I want to see if I can do this all alone.
And so, I went into MS Paint and made my own version of my characters. I also have begun using ComicLife for PC to see if that is a workable platform. It’s not perfect and I need to tinker some more. I am having trouble, for example, getting two images into a single frame, which is strange.
What do you think? I really would appreciate some feedback here, as I am moving into some unknown territory.
Of course, if the local newspaper shows an interest, things may change again. I’ll keep you posted.