Here’s the first draft of issue 1, in PDF form.!AlH5P3fLuZbChpMH53BuDfnHrXze0w

I’m looking for feedback, both on content and presentation:

  • Do the characters have a unique voice?
  • Do you like reading about these characters, on the strength of how they are presented here (as opposed to just “hey I want more JHHL/Irregulators”)?
  • How is the pacing? Too slow? Or just right?
  • Did each page make you want to read the next one?
  • Would you buy this as a professionally printed comic? Would you pick it up as an amateur “zine” at a convention?
  • Anything else you think!

The One Drive link for this isn’t working for me.

Initial thoughts.

There’s definitely some stakes and questions here: What do the Atlantians need Leo for? Who wants to stop him from getting there? What’s the deal with Fuko’s outsider nature from other Atlantians (are they all about racial purity? which is a whole bag of bad stuff)? Looking forward to getting those questions answered.

Pages 7-11 have a bit of talking heads syndrome, the same folks talking without a lot of action (which can be dealt with, except they’re on a cramped sub that limits their ability to move around). It also is some exposition dumping which, since Leo is any outsider, makes sense, but it is also a third of the issue. Page 11 is good and if the “ping” on page 9 was supposed to be foreshadowing, I feel like it’s not obvious in hindsight. But that could also be something done in the artwork (having the same SFX style with the ping on page 9 and on page 10).

Unless you were going to have page one on the inside cover, pages 5 and 6 would be on opposite side of the same paper. Usually your full-spread pages go from even page to odd page.

Out of everyone, Trace seems to have the least amount of personality shown and a lot of it seems a bit uneven. This isn’t a big deal since this is only the first issue, but you asked about unique voices and his seems limited to “angry with my dad.” His recruitment scene seems like it could be shorthanded to “wake up loser, we’re going to Atlantis.” And I find it odd that Trace is being coy about having a sub given his family’s history of the Atlantians, given that it’s an Atlantian asking him about it. (I’m assuming that Trace knows Ninjess’s secret, given they’re teammates. Hell I wouldn’t be surprised if he got her the spot on the team to help acclimate her to the surface world if she has an Outsider-style background.)

As for pacing, this is generally how I like to break it down.

Page 1: Introduce Leo and Fuko.
Pages 2-3: “We’re going to Atlantis” and recruiting Trace
Pages 4-5: Introducing the sub and the wonders of the ocean.
Pages 6-7: Wonders continued. Background of Atlantis.
Pages 8-9: Nautilus’s history with Atlantis and foreshadowing the Kraken.
Pages 10-11: More background on Atlantis and figuring out something is wrong.
Page 12: The Kraken revealed.

These are what I see the story of each page being. Page 12 is great. The line with the reveal of the kraken are perfect cliffhanger material to get people to read the next issue. 6-11 are a little slow and I feel like they could be compacted a little more or be beefed up with some flashback panels while Trace is describing his family’s relationship with Atlantis.

There’s also very little visual storytelling going on. It’s definitely one of the hard parts of comics, but I could imagine the “mutant coral part” could have been foreshadowed with a panel of Leo giving the sub an odd look while they we were boarding or something.

Overall, very enjoyable to read with a couple of “new to writing comics” hiccups that I could see being sorted out easily enough. I’d pick up a copy of it.

(Also, not to make anything of it, but I did do thumbnails of the first two pages last night before I went to bed. Just to make sure they flowed okay. That’s totally the only reason. :wink: )

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The action items I’m taking away from this are (in priority order):

  1. The submarine exposition stuff needs to be reworked
  2. More exciting visuals, fewer conversation panels
  3. Convey that Trace is reluctant to plug himself into his dad’s world, and he is loyal to friends but has problems giving or receiving expressions of care
  4. Fix page numbering, something got messed up - I copied pages between projects and might have lost something

I think the fix to items 1 and 2 is to tell Fuko’s and Trace’s stories in flashback, not just have people talk at each other. There’s several potential panels of action so the reader doesn’t get bored.

Second draft should be done by today or tomorrow.

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Glad you got something useful from my ramblings. Looking forward the next draft.

  • Do the characters have a unique voice? - Getting there. It’s still relatively short, a lot of info being presented. I can’t quite read Ninjess yet, and Stingray is just kind of … teen-aged.

  • Do you like reading about these characters, on the strength of how they are presented here (as opposed to just “hey I want more JHHL/Irregulators”)? - I’m certainly interested in reading more.

  • How is the pacing? Too slow? Or just right? - Seems to be about right. I mean, from a comics perspective, there’s not a lot of … well, conflict, until we get to the final scene.

  • Did each page make you want to read the next one? - Not tip-of-my-fingers urgent, but the story flowed along.

  • Would you buy this as a professionally printed comic? Would you pick it up as an amateur “zine” at a convention? - It actually reads a bit like a zine.

  • Anything else you think!

Blood samples seem kind of creepy and intrusive. Leo (and everyone else) just go along, without much real explaination.

“Instructed by my superiors to request that you accompany me home.” – this all seems terribly suspicious, but Leo doesn’t hesitate (he seems most intent on helping her). What does he know about her?

Stingray’s escalation of the situation, calling on tales of elder gods, seems a bit contrived. So now you tell me …

Ninjess sometimes seems mysterious and menacing, sometimes oddly clueless. She’s not allowed to deliver Leo herself, but she’s sure that if she calls to say they are coming, all will be hunky-dory. Regardless of the “Oh, yeah, riding around in Stingray’s day’s sub might be provocative” kind of thing.

Leo seems to figure stuff out too quickly toward the end. It’s a nice setup for that climactic scene, but the pieces all seem to fall together swiftly but, of course, too late.

Leo’s “Gosh, Aria and I are retired now” feels like it comes kind of late in the game, too. Maybe a bit more reluctance earlier on to get involved.


That said, I had fun reading it. :smiley:

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While may or may not be helpful anymore, I did run into Nate Piekos’ (better known for his website Blambot and also a giant in comics lettering) article on breaking down comic scripts and why you do certain things. Certainly goes into a lot more detail than I did.

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It’s helpful, I’ve just been busy over the weekend (plus not feeling well), so a second draft has been delayed. And as usual I need to rummage under my couch cushions for additional self-confidence to try again. :smiley:

I may just approach this story as a conventional piece of fiction first, then try to back-port it into a comic script. That’ll let me validate the quality of the story first. I’ll work on that this week.

This isn’t an uncommon approach, writing a treatment and then writing the script from it. Excited to see the end result.