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),

  1. Hi Kevin
    Personally, I find the strip hysterical. Your reflection on the process has been helpful as my own attempts at creating one have been lame and for the very reasons you state.
    My favorites thus far are the math and the native ones, priceless! Mike F comes to mind.
    I am not inclined to think the art needs improving. Simple is best in this case. Original art would be nice but using the same pics in each frame is part of the simple setup that keeps the flow going.
    I will give some more thought to the pet’s role and how he/she should evolve. For now I see the characters as really good reflections of students.
    I do know someone who messes around with graphic arts as a hobby. He has a degree in it but is not working in the field. I could send him a link if you’d like.
    Gail P

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