Fallen: The last days of Earth

A world waiting to be transformed

Having harnessed the powers of various alien races, the citizens of Earth wait to be transformed into super-powered beings, one by one.

In these hopeful days, humans have attracted the wrath of the various life-forms in our universe, who fear that a super-powered human "barbaric" race might upset the balance in the cosmos. Earth is protected by the first humans who have been granted super-powers, some by design, some by accidental exposure to alien races.

As more and more people are transformed into super-beings, one question looms large: how many super-powered heroes and villains can the world support before the balance on Earth is dangerously disturbed?

Join us on a spectacular journey that starts with 12 stand alone books that explores a variety of genres and celebrates the best undiscovered comic book artists the world has to offer. Every book will introduce one or more heroes and villains.

After the first year, dangerous events will combine the characters in a desperate struggle to save their world. But is saving Earth really the best decision?

Putin described in one picture:

The greatest quote in history...

...is "If"

After invading Greece and receiving the submission of other key city-states, Philip II of Macedon sent a message to Sparta: "If I invade Laconia you will be destroyed, never to rise again." The Spartan ephors replied with a single word: "If" (αἴκα).
Subsequently neither Philip II nor his son Alexander the Great attempted to capture the city.

The best writing advice I've ever encountered

An excerpt from the longer essay posted on litreactor by Chuck Palahniuk, the author of Fight Club:

Chuck Palahniuk
In six seconds, you’ll hate me.

But in six months, you’ll be a better writer.

From this point forward – at least for the next half year – you may not use “thought” verbs. These include: Thinks, Knows, Understands, Realizes, Believes, Wants, Remembers, Imagines, Desires, and a hundred others you love to use.

The list should also include: Loves and Hates.

And it should include: Is and Has, but we’ll get to those, later.

Until some time around Christmas, you can’t write: Kenny wondered if Monica didn’t like him going out at night…”

Instead, you’ll have to Un-pack that to something like: “The mornings after Kenny had stayed out, beyond the last bus, until he’d had to bum a ride or pay for a cab and got home to find Monica faking sleep, faking because she never slept that quiet, those mornings, she’d only put her own cup of coffee in the microwave. Never his.”

Instead of characters knowing anything, you must now present the details that allow the reader to know them. Instead of a character wanting something, you must now describe the thing so that the reader wants it.

Instead of saying: “Adam knew Gwen liked him.”
You’ll have to say: “Between classes, Gwen was always leaned on his locker when he’d go to open it. She’d roll her eyes and shove off with one foot, leaving a black-heel mark on the painted metal, but she also left the smell of her perfume. The combination lock would still be warm from her ass. And the next break, Gwen would be leaned there, again.”

In short, no more short-cuts. Only specific sensory detail: action, smell, taste, sound, and feeling. 

The enemy within

Or: how to stop sabotaging your comic book and learn to love the Lizard.

Almost all failure comes from self-sabotage.

We say we want to be thin, but we order a burger with fries. And there goes the diet! We say we want bring our book to the market, but we find excuses to sandbag the shipping schedule. We say we want to be better at our craft, but we allow ourselves to be distracted instead of studying the masters or taking that class.

Self-sabotage is human nature - there's a little lizard living in your brain (psychologists have a fancy word for it: the Amygdala).

Our lizard brain is programmed to take the easiest way out, to avoid the pain, to satisfy the immediate need. It whispers sweet words to you: "Take it slow, fellow. Careful now. Time to back off. Why don't you have a cookie first?"

This is why so many entrepreneurs and artists don't succeed. They are a slave to the lizard. They fear the critics, look to compromise. The bigger the challenge, the more resistance the lizard will offer. After all, if we don't do it, we don't have to be subjected to the risk of harsh criticism of the world. We are safe.

But we will also amount to nothing.

So you've got a choice: you can listen to the lizard's voice, it will never go away, it is part of your brain. Or you can argue against the lizard. Tell it that you will commit to the pain, that you will allow yourself be subject to risk and ridicule. Because no matter how harsh the world treats your book, you are learning. With every embarrassing failure, you learn new tricks, you get stronger.

It won't be easy. You are in it for a long haul. Malcolm Gladwell tells us in his book Outliers that it takes 10,000 hours to master any craft. But that also means that every hour you spend failing is an hour you chip off that 10,000 hours. You are now one hour closer to becoming the master of your craft.

Tell the lizard you will take the pain. Savor it. That you are playing the long game: you are putting yourself out there because it is the only way to become a master in your craft. To make a difference.

To be someone.

How to make every scene a great scene

Make your story come alive by sculpting each scene:

You can enrich your story by breaking it up in scenes. A scene is action taking place in one environment or one continuous period of time. The characters deal with the main theme of the scene (the love scene, the action scene, the dream scene, the sex scene, the car chase scene, etc.).

Kraven's Last Hunt
Account for every decision a character makes
  • Why do they do it - what is the character’s motivation?
  • What challenge must they overcome specific to the scene?
  • How do they transform to make the right decision?

Everything must have consequences
  • How a character responds must have consequences.
  • What happens to a character must affect him/her.

Provide conflict everywhere
  • Portray every character in some sort of conflict of interest.
  • Use the conflict to either demonstrate or grow the character.
  • You can always have a third party inserted for comical effect where necessary.
Kid Miracleman

Create suspense
  • Let the audience in on an agonizing secret important to the audience but unknown to the characters. They'll fret for the heroes to find out.
  • Action with peril (of death if possible).
  • Have the audience root for an outcome (success, romance, etc) but frustrate them terribly with endless obstacles.
  • The trick is to set up an expectation but fulfill it in a completely unexpected way.

Create great set pieces
  • Every story is an intelligent whole illustrated through a series of anecdotes.
  • Choose a few audience favorite set pieces (great action scene, great romance, etc.)

Everything must have a reason

Delete scenes / characters that don’t change the story and don’t affect its outcome.

Provide focus
Magneto rips out
Wolverine's adamantium.

Don't confuse the reader by giving unimportant events or characters too much time. Make sure that the main story events and character(s) remain central.

Great scenery
  • Choose backdrops that are majestic or demonic, but always larger than live. Don’t just have a meeting, have a meeting at the top of the mountains, at a great waterfall.
  • If you go to a familiar, grander than life setting that is familiar to the audience, consider if the heroes or villains could visit it at a time when the scenery is odd, unfamiliar to the audience, so there is a new world to discover. E.g. An abandoned circus, the world fair at a time when it is being broken down, the White House at night or under attack, etc.

Bring everything back

Make a list of everything that is mentioned, every artifact and make it come back.

Panel layouts tell the story!

When you make comics, do you think about innovating panel layout? Panel layout adds energy and dynamism to a comic book.

Here's a beautiful example from Batwoman #1. The panel layout aids in the telling of a story and setting the mood:

Art by J.H. Williams, III; story by W. Haden Blackman and J.H. Williams, III