Friday, January 6, 2012

Early Graphic Novel Attempt page 1

From the very beginning of my artistic life, I've always wanted to do sequential art, also known as graphic story or just plain comic books. The trouble is, I've never completed one. I've done a lot of pages but somehow don't have the perseverance to get the whole thing done.

This piece is one of my earliest attempts as an "adult" artist to do a graphic story. One of my fantasy fan connections contacted a Boston-area fantasy writer, Leo Giroux, Jr., who wrote me an adventure/horror script to illustrate. The story was set in a typical Renaissance-style fantasy world with all sorts of humanoids and creatures and opportunities for magic and violence. The hero was "Pram Zata," a master thief and brigand who lusted for the royal princess (red-haired, of course) and her famous collection of huge rubies as well as other gems and treasure. Her name is "Entythe," an unpronounceable word which sounds like "Enticing." Of course, there is a terrible secret about this femme fatale. (She is a witch who rips people's hearts out and turns the hearts into giant rubies.) I was trying for a style and subject matter that would appeal to the "Heavy Metal" magazine people. You can see a portrait of the author Giroux in the upper left corner.

I managed to get two and a half pages done of this tale. Giroux was not a comic book writer nor a script writer and his dialogue and narration were way too wordy for a graphic treatment. I tried to include everything he wrote in the design but as you can see it ended up being overburdened and busy, at least by the simple standards of the day. You can read Giroux's script if you click on the picture to enlarge it.

If I were to re-do this story now I would edit the daylights out of Giroux's script and make the design simpler and easier to follow. But I'm trying to figure out how to finish my own graphic novel set in my Noantri world. I swear, if I had big bucks and didn't have to do any day job, I'd just sit and do graphic story all the time. It's what I want to do most in art. Somewhere in my large and dusty collection of files, there hides this script by Leo Giroux as well as at least one more by an old writer contact. Giroux has long since passed into the other worlds, and the other writers have scattered to the four winds, but at least a few images remain from the projects we tried to achieve.

Page one of "The Jewels of Entythe" is ink and watercolor on Strathmore illustration board, 11" x 15", summer 1979. Click on the image to see a larger view.

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