Featuring Robyn Hood: Legend #1
Hey guys. Pat Shand here. A lot of you have been asking for some behind the scenes looks at what we do at Zenescope, so I figured it’s about time to bring that to you. I work as staff writer and editor for the company, so I get to witness the crazy cool weirdness that is the creation of a comic book.
Since ROBYN HOOD: LEGEND #1 is coming out next month, I figured now would be a great time to give you a teaser for that series, while also showing what goes into the creation of a page.
First, we start with a story outline. What we at Zenescope usually do is write anywhere from a page to a page and a half detailing what happens in any given issue. That is one thing I’m not going to show here, though. Spoilers!
Next step is the script. Personally, I write in the full script method. I know some folks use the “Marvel method” that Stan Lee popularized – I was recently listening to an excellent podcast that Kieron Gillen conducted with Matt Fraction and David Aja, the creative team on Marvel’s Hawkeye. Those two are operating under a somewhat tweaked version of the Marvel method, where a writer will give a loose outline of a page that the artist then breaks down into panels. After that, the writer will add dialogue. For me, though, as a writer and as an editor, I prefer laying out the entire page for the artist.
Here’s my scripted page for ROBYN HOOD: LEGEND #1:
Panel 1. Back in the cab. Robyn tosses the cabbie a fat stack of hundreds.
Take the rest of the night off.
I… This is…
Panel 2. Exterior shot. The cabbie stands outside of his cab, waving to Robyn as she walks AWAY from him, toward her apartment, the same one we saw in the GFT HOLIDAY EDITION 2013.
Thank you, miss! THANK YOU!
4 CAP (ROBYN):
Long day. Ate too much. Helped that guy out. Saved some idiot from getting killed. Shot some lowlifes in the knees, which is always fun.
Panel 3. Robyn throws the briefcase on her couch like it means nothing to her.
6 CAP (ROBYN):
Got a payday in the process.
Panel 4. Robyn pulls on her shorts for bed. She is wearing a ratty old t-shirt.
7 CAP (ROBYN):
I’m doing good. Maybe even making a difference. All in a day’s work.
Panel 5. Robyn climbs into bed, looking disturbed.
8 CAP (ROBYN):
Maybe, someday, it will make me feel better about what happened. Make me feel… something.
9 CAP (ROBYN):
Now, here’s the thing about this script. Larry Watts, the artist on Robyn Hood, and I have been collaborating together for years, so I know his style. My panel descriptions are loose, and I tell him as often as I can that he can do with them what he likes. He’s made changes before for pacing, focus, and style, and I always defer to him because I trust his visual storytelling.
Here’s Larry’s page.
Many artists start with a layout phase. Larry does, too, but since he works on pages in bunches, instead of having true layouts, he’ll submit a page of penciled work. He always has pages in various stages of completion, so when he’ll e-mail me work, I’ll see some pages completely inked for the first time, like the page above, while others will be partially inked or just penciled.
After Larry’s work is in and approved, we get the colorist on board. The new ROBYN HOOD series colorist debuted with us on this month’s AGE OF DARKNESS one-shot. His name is Slamet Mujiono, and once we saw his color work over Larry’s lines, we knew they were a match that we’d strive to keep together.
Here’s Slamet’s colors for the page:
Slamet’s color work here accentuates the realistic, subtle acting that Larry is doing with Robyn, while also adding a very specific tone with his use of blues. A great colorist will tell a story along with the writer and the artist, and that is very much what Slamet does on this book.
Finally, we’ve got the letters. Jim Campbell is our go-to letterer at Zenescope, and that’s because he always does a damn good job. We ask a lot of Jim, and he always delivers, making the scripts better, influencing the voices of the characters, and making sure that the reader’s eye is able to properly follow the flow of the story.
A lot of times, we’ll tweak the dialogue after seeing the final letters. It’s the first time that the story and the art are truly becoming one, and the words will always appear differently over the art than in the original script. Clunky wording becomes clearer, and new, better ways that writers just can’t see in the drafts they’ve polished over and over again can suddenly burst through the fog when seen in context of a page.
Thanks for reading! I’ll be back with some more insight into the various creative processes of Zenescope Entertainment.
ROBYN HOOD: LEGEND #1 is written by Pat Shand, drawn by Larry Watts, colored by Slamet Mujiono, and lettered by Jim Campbell. It hits shelves March 19th, 2014.