SOMEWHERE IN CYBER SPACE - Comics. The ultimate merge between art and storyline.
But let's skip the introduction. Neopian Times comics have been around since
issue number 52 in the old edition of the NT. Of course, we're much more advanced
now, aren't we?
Here's a bit of comic history for you. (In terms of Neopets anyway...) Comics
first appeared in the ARTICLES section (No they didn't even have their own section
at first!) in issue 52. The first comic was "NeoComics"
which was written and drawn by Cyaneus. The comics then received their own section
in issue number 56 which included only three
comics. Now, if we fast forward a little ahead to modern times, you
can tell the difference.
Let's just say the standards for comics have rapidly increased since their first
debut. Mr. Shankly no longer accepts, or allows copy and pasted clips of various
images from the site. Or even images with different colourazation. In issue
number 73 we had 21 comics. Most were hand drawn or rendered on the computer.
(And in very good taste as well!) Of course HUMOUR is also key to any successful
Humour is something overlooked when doing a comic. A comic can't survive on art
and art alone. It's humour is like a counter part which equals it. A careful balance
and taste is also important though. For example, lucid parts would not be allowed.
Nor is cursing. But it's possible. Think in terms of your character. How does
he/she see life? Which brings me to the next part of the Comics.
Putting it Together
Push come to shove, it's hard to make way for a new comic in the Times. We have
regular strips that most people prefer over new ones. (Such as in real newspaper
comics.) Of course it's all up to Mr. Shankly. But how do you perfectly balance,
create, draw, edit, and have a successful comic?
What's your comic going to be about? Does it focus on a pet in particular?
It's important to establish a cast before you continue. Now that you have a cast,
what are their personalities? Are they sarcastic? Silly? Stupid?
Now, what are they characters going to say to each other? Not sure? Here's
some advice from Bill Watterson, creator of "Calvin and Hobbes", about how he
made his comics!
"The truth is, we hold a blank sheet of paper, stare into space, and let our
minds wander. When something interests us, we play around with it. Sometimes
this yields a funny observation; sometimes it doesn't, but that's about all
there is to it." -Bill Watterson about the writing process.
Play around with the script. Make it funny. Like stated above. Humour is key!
(and no chatspeak please!)
Create and Draw
Got your idea? Got it written down someplace? Let's draw! This can be done on
the computer (MS paint), by hand (but you have to scan it in!) or completely by
hand, have it scanned in, and then submit it. You may sit there thinking to yourself
"But I can't draw!". No problem. Have a very artistic friend? Get them involved
in it! (There is no shame in coauthoring a comic like Patjade and Izzywizard!)
Now, before you continue, read this! HAVE A FRIEND LOOK OVER THE STRIP BEFORE
YOU SEND IT IN! This is KEY people. If the joke can't be understood, you will
lose your ground base for readers.
I Neomailed (and IMed) the well known (and muchly worshipped) oddhatter about
the subject of Neopian comics, and she granted me an interview on the subject.
Question: How would you compare comics that we see in The Neopian Times
to what is viewed in newspapers?
Answer: I think that it's hard not to be inspired by what's in the newspaper;
though I think that there are distinct differences between those in the NT and
those in newspapers. For instance, there is a much smaller area of interest
in NT comics
Question: Would you say what we see in the NT could be compared to what
is in newspapers?
Question: Do you feel Neopian Comics bare any artist resemblance (in
terms of style) to strips like "Peanuts", "Calvin and Hobbes", "Zits", "Beatle
Bailey", "Hagar the Horrible", "Foxtrot" and many others?
Answer: Hmm...Well, I think there's a resemblance in terms of theme to
Peanuts in many of the comics. Basically, the idea of "friends" and "siblings"
is rehashed quite often. And "family", of course. For instance, some of the
longest running strips have been centered around "families" The Moo Strip and
L*U*P*E Blue are both owner-pet strips, as well as The Cheesy Neos. Oh, and
might I say that while "continued" adventure stories usually only take up one
or two sections of the newspaper, the NT is now rather saturated with them...
I mean, I'm one of them, but...still. There aren't enough "one time" things.
Gromit51 started the first "successful" adventure/continued strip...and when
I did C-Poogle, it was still one of the first few. Now though, there's tons
of them, and while I have nothing against them...sometimes, it's good to have
a one time laugh without needing back story.
Well folks, there you have it. A look at Neopian comics, past and present,
and a small mini guide to how to create them. Like in newspapers, comics are vital
and require a equal flow between the art work and punchline behind it. Now, before
you send me mail of hate, please note that this is not to insult, annoy or damage