Posted by Rolando Garcia on Apr 27, 2011 in Non-fiction
Beth and I met in an apartment on the Lower East Side. We were young and totally not sober. We definitely flirted. But the timing was wrong for it to be taken seriously: she was dating someone else, I was too immature and insecure. Maybe because we didn’t take is so seriously is exactly why it came so naturally.
That was eight years ago. In two days we’ll be married.
The easy thing would be to retcon the story of our first meeting; we could say that what we felt was “love at first sight” and not just the hormones of a couple of young adults. In fact, I think that 99% of “love at first sight” stories are retcons of otherwise average first meetings; moments that would have been forgotten had the couple not gotten married.
(I’ll concede that “we knew we were meant for each other,” sounds more mythic than “I thought he/she was cute, we eventually dated.”)
The first time I met Beth there was no subtext beyond innocent flirtation. There was no unconscious precognition that the other was “the one.” It was the choices we made since then — to hang out, to help each other grow, to share our hearts – that gave resonance to an otherwise fleeting moment. Beth and I created the meaning out of meaninglessness.
And I get to marry this girl. I love you, Beth!
Posted by Rolando Garcia on Apr 25, 2011 in Non-fiction
, Writing Process
One last post on writing comics. Why not? This one is more show and tell. Plus it brings in more visual elements. Here is the original profile I wrote for a new villain in Revenger. I augmented it with some visual references thanks to the magic of Google.
Male, mid-to-late 20′s. Ethnicity can be whatever. He’s truly old school in that he’s in it for the money. He doesn’t want power, he doesn’t have a belief system, he just wants to live in the lap of luxury. He wants nice things, fast cars, beautiful women. I’m thinking the epitome of selfishness here with no regard for anyone but himself and his wants. However, he’s also really, really charismatic. He’s the kind of guy who has no trouble walking into a room and charming the pants off everyone. In his civilian life he passes off as a scion of sorts and hangs out with the upper-upper crust of society. I guess you could say he is in public what Bruce Wayne only pretends to be. I don’t imagine we’ll be seeing that side of him early on, though it certainly informs his attitude when he’s in villain disguise. He’s not a legacy villain in a literal way but I see him taking that route the same way kids in NYC who want to be rich become investment bankers. It’s like the Wall Street of Ultra City.
Visually, I’m thinking his costume is sleek but definitely projects rich guy. He’s vain so he always wants to look good. His secret identity is important to him but I’d like his mask to highlight the facial feature of his that he thinks is most attractive (your choice, but I’m thinking it’s either his eyes or his mouth). His technology is top notch, since he can afford it, as are his hand-to-hand combat skills. His signature weapon is a nice handgun — and the dude is a crack shot with it.
I want him to bring the worst out in Revenger.
I’ve attached two idea inspirations I had for his design. The first is the Princes of England’s royal dress uniforms. Really give off the idea of royalty while also ass kicking. The other is a more swashbuckling, Count of Monte Cristo approach (there are two guys in the picture but I’m thinking of the guy with the vest and white puffy sleeves). If we went with the swashbuckling look, I’d even suggest we make his mask something that ties in the back and has extra fabric flowing, instead of the standard stuck-to-his-face domino mask. In both cases we’d obviously want to super-villain the look up using them as a starting point.
With this profile, the very talented artist Michael Powell came up with this fantastic design:
Awesome, right? Stick around for more Revenger news in the coming days, including some preview pages and a release date announcement.
Posted by Rolando Garcia on Apr 22, 2011 in Announcement
Hi everyone: I’ve changed my posting schedule. From now on, expect updates on Mondays and Thursdays. If you’re swinging by today, go here for yesterday’s post. Thanks and have a great weekend!
Posted by Rolando Garcia on Apr 20, 2011 in Writing Process
I’ll keep the preamble short. Thanks for reading along over the past two weeks as I discussed my writing process. I hope it’s at least been enjoyable and that maybe you’ll take something away. I’ll leave you with the script I wrote for my final assignment and Denny O’Neil’s mantra for our class: “There is seldom any one absolutely, inarguable, unimpeachably right way to do anything.”
Character: The Loner
Title: Bought & Sold
Writer: Rolando Garcia
1 – Interior bedroom, night. Close on a pretty RED HEAD girl, fast asleep. Moonlight pours in through the window. Everything behind her is in shadows.
2 – The figure of a man emerges from the shadows. We can’t make out any features, though, since he’s still mostly in the dark.
3 – Close up. A hand wraps around Red Head’s mouth to muffle her. Her eyes are wide open now. She’s terrified. We see a UNIQUE CUFFLINK on the man’s sleeve (artist can knock himself out with the design but please aim for flashy and expensive looking).
4 – Similar to previous panel. The girl BITES the hand.
5 – Over the man’s shoulder. He punches her in the face. Hard.
6 – Medium shot. Red Head, now unconscious, being dragged out of the room by her ankle. The man’s back is turned to us, so we still can’t see his face.
1 – Afternoon. Wide, establishing shot of a small, not-quite-bustling (lazy, even) Wild West town. Let the artist go to town on this (no pun intended) and use his judgment. The bright sunlight and open space are a stark contrast to the dark, claustrophobic bedroom last page. However there are two key elements: a train station in the background and a horse-drawn wagon arriving down the only road.
2 – The wagon pulls up in front of the local “hotel” (it’s tiny). Next to the hotel is a two-story house. On the porch a few women mill about. We’re on the opposite side of the wagon, so as people get off it we only see them from behind. Most are heading towards the hotel. They’re all men, except…
3 – Close up. A female foot steps off the wagon.
Splash – LILLIAN, a beautiful blonde, getting off the wagon with her travel bag. She’s stunning and exudes confidence. From her less-than-modest attire you can surmise she may be a working girl. IMPORTANT: she’s wearing a unique-looking bracelet. The artist can choose the design but it should be thick and have a clasp that keeps it shut. She’s ALWAYS wearing it.
TITLE: The Loner in “Bought & Sold”
1 – Lillian steps onto the women’s porch. They are staring her down. She doesn’t even notice — she’s heading straight for the door.
2 – Interior of the house. Now it’s clear, if it wasn’t before: this is a bordello. The women inside are in various states of undress and drinking. A lone ten-year-old boy, JOHNNY, sits in a corner, reading. A large (fat) woman with a commanding presence stands amongst them. She’s the madam, ANNA. Lillian is walking in through the doors.
3 – Two shot. Lillian walks right up to Anna.
LILLIAN: I’m looking for a job.
ANNA: Good for you.
LIL: Word is this town is short on girls.
4 – Close up, Anna. Inquisitive look.
ANNA: What word?
5 – Close up, Lillian.
LIL: Word that a girl who’s looking for work hears.
6 – Two shot again. Anna is looking Lillian up and down.
ANNA: The first $10 a month is for room ’n board. The rest we split.
ANNA: Take it or leave it.
Posted by Rolando Garcia on Apr 18, 2011 in Writing Process
I understand that, because comics are mostly pictures, one would think that makes them something for dullards who can’t read. I won’t bother arguing the intelligence level of comic readers but I will say this: a comic that relies on an excessive amount of captions and dialogue is poorly written. Comics are a visual medium and the audience should be able to at least follow along without reading a single word. The words are there to explain motivation, add depth and give it layers beyond the plot.
As a writer, that makes it a totally different ballgame from prose. You don’t describe things for the audience, you describe them for the artist. The artist will be the one creating the images that (hopefully) get your scene across. You have to think of ways to make your story visual. That means using images in place of words whenever possible. Here’s an example of where I tried to use the visual language of comics to tell the story of The Loner: Read more…
Posted by Rolando Garcia on Apr 15, 2011 in Writing Process
Let’s get one thing clear: when I say “themes” I don’t mean big, important messages I’m trying to jam into my story. I don’t have any big, important messages, anyway. Well, besides “don’t be an asshole.” But since comics often involve an asshole getting beaten up, it’s not something I have to go out of my way to throw in there.
By “themes,” I mean ideas that guide the story. For this assignment I’m writing a Western. To make it a Western I have to tackle some ideas that are inherent to that genre. The biggest theme in Westerns is bringing order to an unruly new frontier. These were people living in a part of the country where the law literally could not reach. If you were good but weak,you were screwed. This is why so many Westerns involve lawmen and vigilantes. Read more…
Posted by Rolando Garcia on Apr 10, 2011 in Writing Process
The biggest difference between writing comics and anything else is the way you break it down. When you write for a movie or TV, you keep track of the pages you write. Each page you write is one minute of screen time. For a two hour movie, you write 120 pages. Prose is all about word count. A novel is generally over 50,000 words, a novella is over 20,000 and so on.
In comics, you write your story in terms of illustrated pages. How much or how little you actually write is up to you. Some comic writers hand in 100 single spaced written pages for a 22 page comic; they’ll describe every panel on every page down to the last detail. Others hand in a ten page script with bare bone descriptions and dialogue for a 22 page comic. There’s no standard formula for the writer to follow. Read more…
Posted by Rolando Garcia on Apr 10, 2011 in Writing Process
The public has spoken and the voting was unanimous: the Western story is what you guys want me to write into a full comic script. For those of you who missed it, here’s the plot description. Be back here tomorrow when I’ll talk about how I approach page breakdowns and themes.
Character sobriquet/gender: The Loner/female
We open in the dead of night. In a bedroom, a woman’s sleep is violently disrupted by a kidnapper. She tries to scream but she’s drugged and dragged out.
In the morning, a seductively dressed new woman comes into town. Her name is Lillian. She joins the local brothel and quickly befriends Darren, a big spender. That night she gives him his money’s worth and tires him out. While he sleeps, she ruffles through his papers and copies some notes.
The next night, he comes back. This time, while Lillian’s getting undressed, he drugs her and drags her away. When she wakes up, she’s on a train with a group of other bound and gagged women. They’re being trafficked. Lillian easily breaks her bonds as the train comes to a sudden halt.
Turns out the train has been cut off by a posse of marshals. A shootout ensues and Darren hightails it out of there. Lillian jumps on a horse and gives chase. She shoots his horse. Darren gets thrown. He gets up, resigned to his fate but Lillian dismounts. “I’ll give you a chance,” she tells him. It’s an quick-draw shootout. Darren loses, miserably.
Back at the train, the marshals have rounded up the crew and freed the girls. Lillian rides up and dumps Darren’s body in front of the head marshal. He hands her a wad of cash and a slip of paper. “Thanks for the tip,” he says. She counts the money then looks at the slip of paper.
“What’s this?” she asks. “Another solo mission. It’s yours if you want it,” he says. “I’ll need an advance.” The marshals hands her some more cash.
Lillian rides off to her next assignment.
Posted by Rolando Garcia on Apr 8, 2011 in Writing Process
Today, you guys get to to decide my final assignment for class.
I have to write a 22 page comic by April 20, for my awesome comic book writing class. Our professor has stressed from the very beginning that he wants to teach us how to be professional writers. In other words: writers who get paid. To reach that level you don’t start by writing what you want, when you want. You are given specific assignments, with specific deadlines. Especially in a periodical industry like comics. So for the next two weeks I invite you all to join me as I write my final script based on his parameters. Let’s get on with it, shall we? Read more…
Posted by Rolando Garcia on Apr 4, 2011 in Comic
Over the past few weeks I’ve been receiving some kick ass artwork from Michael Powell. What for? Glad you asked. It’s for a comic I wrote using his character, Revenger. I’m really pumped about this and I can’t wait for everyone to see it. So, while we finish up this issue, I cut together a teaser strip to give you a taste. Don’t worry, I held back from spoiling the really amazing stuff we have in store!
Speaking of comics, I was recently asked by Joe Cook of Shattered Myth to write a back up story for his next collection. The art will be done by the most excellent Micah Weltsch of Planescape: Metamorphosis. I am flattered and excited to be working on a story in Joe’s universe.