In a panel with Doug Wagner, Joe Harris, Megan Hutchison, Cat Staggs and Gail Simone, Image look to tell us how to make comics the Image Comics way. With the creators of Plastic, Rockstars and Crosswind, we'll see what we can learn.
Wagner discusses a bit collaborating with a team, and how that adds to the process. Then goes on to working out the balance of grossness and comedy in Plastic, and Wagner wanted to keep the readers on their toes.
Harris describes what goes into a title, so Rockstars volume one is a play on a Black Sabbath album, Nativity in Black becoming Nativity in Blacklight, so the blacklight gives a vibe of the era of music involved, and also investigation and crime.
Hutchison describing her art style, says she doesn't really know how to answer that question. She worked in the film industry for ten years as an art director, so she says that definitely influenced her.
Simone talked about how the characters in Crosswind felt like they came fully formed to her. She felt like she's known people like her main characters, though granted not actual hitmen. The book deals a lot with respect and who has it, who gets it and why.
Wagner talks a little bit about finding the character by looking at how they react to situations.
Harris talks about walking the fine line between creating a fictional fantasy and telling essentially unauthorized biographies. Rockstars largely contains fictional bands and musicians but also mentions the occasional real band/musician. It's about trying to make it feel real within the world of rock and roll. Hutchison compares it to creating a Creepy Pasta, involving enough real elements that the fake ones become believable.
Staggs talks about dealing with the violence and heavier situations of Crosswind as being important, as it involves some situations that really need to be represented. She discusses particularly relating to Juniper, who is in an abusive relationship, as she was in such a relationship before.
Conversely, we look at scenes in Plastic where the violence isn't graphically shown, and how that in itself can be effective too.
The discussion then moves to about how these genres aren't often found in common, and even up until recently may have only been seen at an imprint like Vertigo. The panelists all discuss how they just had the desire to tell many different stories, so that's what drove them to set out to make their books. Simone says she doesn't feel comics should be constrained by genre, and feels we should be pushing the envelope on everything.
Advice for aspiring creators – make sure you have enough money to pay what's due, and paying people on time. It's not just making the book, it's knowing how to sell the book. Pitching something, writing something and selling something are completely different skills, so if you can master all three you'll be set. You have to put your whole heart and soul into what you do. Simone says you don't want to recreate something that's already been created.