NYCC: I Is For Immersion: Building Immersive Worlds With Image Comics

Jake Barlow writes for Bleeding Cool:

The first of four Image panels at NYCC included a plethora of talent, namely Kelly Sue Deconnick, Jamie McKelvie, Ben Acker, Ben Blacker, Kyle Higgins, Jason Latour, Brandon Montclaire and Tim Seeley. The theme was world building and how to get readers lost in stories, where the only thing that exists to them while their eyes are on those panels is that comic book and that comic book alone. Before the conversation kicked off, Kyle Higgins had some news on his creator owned Image series C.O.W.L. drawn by Rod Reis. The look and feel of C.O.W.L #6 is going to look like it's fallen straight out of the books setting: 1960s America. The Kirby-esque cover sure looked like something you'd find in someone's garage at the back of a crusty old longbox (in a good way!). Everything about the comic (including the ads inside for other Image books) are going to look like they're from the 60s. When asked if it was going to be printed on newsprint for hardcore authenticity, Higgins responded by saying that it would cost 20% more and "while our numbers are good, they're not that good!" to a laugh from the crowd. He also announced a C.O.W.L inspired Jazz Album for digital download called "The C.O.W.L Sessions" (Higgins revealed he was a former Jazz musician and worked on the album with a friend) which will feature songs heavily inspired by the book and its era, with each track corresponding to a character in the book. The album will be available to download on October 28th.

imagepanelAs the discussion moved on, the creators were asked about the settings of their books, and how far they went to ensure they were as authentic as possible. Latour, currently working on Southern Bastards with Jason Aaron, was asked "You're working in modern day Alabama, how do you capture that? " to which he dryly replied, "Is there a modern day Alabama?" which got a big laugh from the room.

Jamie McKelvie spoke about how important fashion is to The Wicked + The Divine. Characters wear different clothes for different occasions, and what a character is wearing is just as important as what they look like, if not more so for expressing what that character is about and what they themselves are trying to express through their clothes. Jamie then went pretty quiet for the rest of the panel, but revealed later on twitter that he'd suffered a migraine and was finding it tough to focus. We hope he's back on the mend now!

Kelly Sue proved once again that she's a comic book panel natural and charmed the crowd both with genuinely funny jokes and interesting, in-depth answers. Asked on the western roots of The Pretty Deadly, she explained that she'd originally wanted the book to be a straight-up western, but the idea evolved and now she didn't see it as a western but more of a myth-based story. "It's a story told by a dead bunny to a butterfly…so yeah." Deconnick explained that the second arc of the book features imagery for WORLD WAR 1, moving out of that early America time period, but that she doesn't want that to mean it's specifically set in that time period. "It's myth-space" she repeated before humorously making it aware that she knew she was saying that a lot. She explained that she'd butted heads with her editior, who'd wanted to nail down a set time period for the book, with Deconnick saying it wasn't important to the story.

Seeley spoke of the inspiration for Revival literally being his hometown of Wausau, Wiscosnin. He got a laugh from the audience by explaining that he experience a lot of weird shit growing up in small town Wiscosnin and that his thought on the stories he'd collected had been, "how can I get people to pay for it?". No reports of actual dead people waking up in real life Wausau though, you'll be pleased to hear. He said that his mission was to make the reader feel relatively comfortable with the characters and surroundings, explaining that horror works best when the reader is comfortable, so when the eerie, discomforting stuff comes it's all the more frightening.

After a while, readers were invited to ask their own questions. "When should the world building stop?" was answered mainly by Kelly Sue, who stressed that if you don't have a deadline, give yourself one, because otherwise you'll just continue twiddling your thumbs. She spoke of her own procrastination, saying that world building is endlessly fun, but eventually you need a plot: "sucks, huh?!" She said that once you start to develop your plot and story, you start to see the mistakes in the world building, and while it's a painful process, it's a necessary one. Her advice to the budding writer who couldn't stop world building was to "find yourself a friend who will give you a deadline and make sure it's someone you don't mind hating."

Overall the panel was relaxed, humorous and informative and all of the creators had interesting things to add as well as funny anecdotes. Question askers received free digital comics and there was a round of applause for everyone who'd turned up in costume. Image once again proved that, with the stable of creators they currently have on bored, I is definitely for Immersion. "

About Dan Wickline

Has quietly been working at Bleeding Cool for over three years. He has written comics for Image, Top Cow, Shadowline, Avatar, IDW, Dynamite, Moonstone, Humanoids and Zenescope. He is the author of the Lucius Fogg series of novels and a published photographer.