Over the weekend, I participated in 24-Hour Comic Book Day. This is a 24-hour challenge to write, draw, ink, and letter a 24-page comic book, by yourself, within 24 hours.
This was my first year attempting this, and I recruited a friend (you may recognize him from the Solar Panel Project) to help get me through it. We decided to collaborate– he’s a better artist than I am, and I’ve written a few comics before.
We started at 2:15 PM on Saturday afternoon. I hadn’t slept well, so I was already going into the experience tired and in need of a nap. As the night wore on, we would get distracted with various side topics, the Internet, or filling out a level of detail that wasn’t strictly necessary (such as the color on page 1).
It didn’t matter, though. The goal of this first attempt at a 24 hour comic book was not to create a comic book. For us, the goal was to have fun creating something and distract me from unhappy thoughts.
In terms of meeting that goal, it absolutely succeeded.
We started by bouncing ideas around. I wanted to do a time travel story with the Beatles, but we realized that would be very dark, very gritty. Spending 24 hours with a story that makes you sad isn’t a great idea. A big challenge like this tends to push your limits of emotional and physical endurance, and neither one of us wanted to be as emotionally drained at the end as we were sure to be physically exhausted.
So, we discarded that idea and came up with something different.
“But I’ve been practicing Yoko Ono for the last 20 minutes. Can we at least have an older Asian woman in the story?”
“Yes. Yes, we can.”
And so the hero of our story is Naomi Yamata, a 76 year old Japanese-American grandmother, who is on a quest to find a dragon. Her journey takes her all over the world, meeting new people, and eventually, into space (not drawn yet).
We ate tons of junk food in the process– I’m surprised my face doesn’t look like the pizza we had Saturday night! But the sugar and caffeine fueled us well, and although we did both get about 3 hours of naps (usually while the other one worked on something to catch up), I feel that we did as much as we were able to do in the amount of time we had and accounting for the fact that neither of us wanted to be unhappy.
We didn’t finish the comic book, but that doesn’t matter. We have a full script and 11 pages in some state of “drawn.” Three of them are completely done– one has color, the rest are inked and lettered. The rest of the pages need backgrounds, or lettering, or inking. Or, for pages 11-16 and 18-24, they need to be created at all.
If we’d been willing to be really hard on ourselves and each other, we probably would have finished. But would we still be friends? Maybe not. This was our first major collaboration, and it went really well. I’m grateful for the experience and the fun.
I am also grateful to the night owl friend who loaned us her space and huge drafting table. That was awesome, and since she had a WoW raid on Saturday, we weren’t even keeping her up later than her normal bedtime.
We will finish the comic book in November, after the next big project is done. At that point, we’ll decide what options we want to do about distribution, printing, etc. It will probably be posted online somewhere, but I don’t consider this to be pro-quality work (my lettering is sloppy as hell, for example). If we go with a free distribution option, you can be fairly confident that I’ll post it in the Portfolio area of this blog.