David M. Booher's Writer's Commentary for Canto #1 – "Yes, That's Definitely Foreshadowing."

David M. Booher's has a Writer's Commentary for Canto #1, published by IDW yesterday. He writes;

David M. Booher's Writer's Commentary for Canto #1 -

Page One: Our first glimpse of Arcana. Hot, dry, desolate. Drew and Vittorio did such a good job with inks and colors you can almost feel the dusty wind blowing through. It's also our first intro to the meta-narrative of the knight's tale. We thread the story through the issues and it feeds directly into Canto's story by the time he reaches the end of his quest. (cue mysterious music…dun, dun, dun!)

David M. Booher's Writer's Commentary for Canto #1 -

Page Two: We see the tins working and the slavers that oversee them.

David M. Booher's Writer's Commentary for Canto #1 -

Page Three: Our intro to our little tin hero Canto. He finds a golden stone as a slaver whips him. It all feels pretty hopeless, which was intentional—I think it's a good contrast with the knight's story about how he succeeded in his quest.

David M. Booher's Writer's Commentary for Canto #1 -

Page Four: We learn about the tins and how their hearts are replaced with clocks. We also get a look at the shrouded man removing the hearts. Could it be foreshadowing? (cue mysterious music again)David M. Booher's Writer's Commentary for Canto #1 -

Pages Five & Six: I love these pages. We start with a classic 9-panel layout showing Canto secretly giving the golden stone to a little tin girl. The narration about all the restrictions on the tins sets up another good contrast with the images of Canto defying them. Then we have the big, dramatic full page spread introducing Canto by name.

Pages Seven & Eight: What's at stake? We find out here. A tin's clock is damaged and stops. Canto and others have to take him out into the forest to bury him.

Page Nine: A sweet moment between Canto and the tin girl. We learn Canto has been giving her these little golden stones for a long time. But the moment is interrupted by one of many beasts of their world—a Malorex! We designed these creatures as part gorilla and part bear—two animals that always look cuddly to me but I know can rip my face off.

Page Ten: Canto stands up to the huge Malorex. It's a theme we'll come back to—Canto's outsized courage in the face of danger. It's like he doesn't understand the peril in front of him. Or maybe he does. We'll let the reader decide. Canto realizes this Malorex is old and has learned the tins aren't food. The Malorex seems to like him, which could be more foreshadowing? (mysterious music intensifies)

Pages Eleven & Twelve: The tins are back working. This is life. Canto finds another golden stone but this time he's caught. Worse—the slavers have found the other stones he gave the tin girl. When they learn Canto has a name, it seems like the end for him. In a moment of her own courage, the tin girl steps forward to reveal she gave him the name. That means Canto has risked his life to give her the golden stones and she's risked hers to save him. A hint that maybe all these tins have courage, even after eons of enslavement.

Page Thirteen: "You know the punishment, slaves." One of the most unsettling lines in this issue. It shows these slaves and slavers have been in this cycle so long, they have their own shorthand. We're made to think Canto gets the whip…

Page Fourteen: …but it's the tin girl. We made deliberate choices for this page—a full page spread landing at the page turn with the facing page nothing but black space. It's THE moment that propels Canto on his quest. It's Gandalf giving Frodo the One Ring. Neo learning about the Matrix. Dorothy landing in Oz. Everything about this page was designed to give the reader pause to let this moment sink in.

Pages Fifteen & Sixteen: A cool thing we did here was split the dialogue from the visuals. The conversation on page fifteen could have easily been lettered with the art on sixteen. But splitting the pieces apart gets the reader to focus on each one. It also slows the pace, letting the gravity of the moment continue to sink in. We get another reference to the knight's meta-story, showing how much hope the story gives these tin people.

Pages Seventeen & Eighteen: Canto's conversation with the Elder. Here Canto learns two things—the tin girl can't be repaired and the Elder has accepted the tin's lives of enslavement. We see Canto struggling against both ideas.

Page Nineteen: One of my favorite moments. We specifically set out to tell an adventure story where the hero's goal is to help someone else. Canto's offer to give his clock to the tin girl, even though it'll kill him, is an utterly selfless act, setting up his quest to bring back her heart.

Page Twenty: Canto runs through the forests. He hides from some younger Malorex that will rip his face off if given the chance. Yes, that's definitely foreshadowing. *cue myster—…oh, you get it*

Page Twenty-One: Canto meets some other tins who have gone out to find his lost bag of golden stones. This is a hint that maybe the tins have more hope than the Elder believes.

Page Twenty-Two: The Elder returns. He tells Canto he wasn't truthful with him. Seems pretty bad coming from a mentor-type. But in so many stories the mentor simply imparts wisdom on the hero. Here, the Elder was trying to protect a young protégé who seems impulsive and angry. The Elder understands the risk both Canto and the tin girl have taken to hold on to some tiny shred of hope, and he comes clean. There's a hermit who may know how to find the tin girl's heart. Canto wastes no time starting on his quest.

Page Twenty-Three: Another black page with only dialogue. This was again intended to take a beat before the epic spread on the next pages and give weight to Canto leaving.

Pages Twenty-Four & Twenty-Five: The epic final spread. A hint of the world beyond Arcana. We designed this gorgeous landscape to hook readers in and bring them along on Canto's journey.

That's it for CANTO #1! I hope you enjoy this issue as much as we enjoyed putting it together. All of us on the CANTO team set out to create a hopeful adventure with a little tin hero you can't help but cheer for. Thanks to our editor David Mariotte and the whole crew at IDW for helping bring Canto's story to life. As his quest continues, I hope you'll love him as much as we do.

Keep an eye out for CANTO #2 on July 17, which we affectionately describe as…lions and tigers and Malorex, oh my!

David M. Booher's Writer's Commentary for Canto #1 - David M. Booher's Writer's Commentary for Canto #1 - David M. Booher's Writer's Commentary for Canto #1 -

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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