I’m delighted to announce that Rapha Lobosco and I will be collecting our short comics in one shiny collection at Thought Bubble! With letters and book design by Kerrie Smith, BLACK, WHITE AND GREY promises to deliver some strange and thoughtful stories!
BLACK, WHITE AND GREY collects the critically acclaimed MURPHY’S DAY, the award-winning HEAVY BLACK, the action packed DAY JOB, a brand new short story DREAMWEAVER and as a bonus a preview for a new Graphic Novel BLACK NEPTUNE.
Black Neptune, Cover – Rapha Lobosco
One final thank you has to go out to Comic Printing UK for their outstanding customer service, this book may not have come together without them!
With art by the excellent Eoin Marron, colours from the always exciting Triona Farrell and letters by the tireless Kerrie Smith, the Hero is a 4 page comic that asks the question, what makes a hero.
When we sat down to discuss our first collaboration Eoin and I had the very loose idea to make a short comic with a twist. Beyond that, Eoin knew he wanted to see the comic in colour and his first choice for colourist was Tree. Somewhere between agreeing to work together and approaching Tree to lend us her pallet, I started obsessing over the role of the “hero” versus the “protagonist” and got an image stuck in my head of a classic superhero being held captive/interrogated by a paramilitary group.
After bouncing ideas around for a little while, we settled on fast paced action piece that would allow us to examine the idea of the hero while building to a twist we could both really enjoy. I won’t go in to too much detail right now, but you should check out the comic to find out more!
In a strange twist all its own, the Hero was fully illustrated, coloured and lettered before we were made aware that the IF Anthology was looking for submissions for superhero stories. This presented us with a very real problem; the IF Anthology is printed in black and white, while the Hero was always intended to be presented in full colour. This was more than a little heartbreaking. Tree’s colours are excellent and deserve to be highlighted, but the IF Anthology seemed like the perfect home for the Hero. Although we agonised over the decision to pitch to Alterna and risk losing a key part of our story in the end we agreed to use Tree’s grey scale shading to bring the inks to life, and trust me they really do come to life! Still, one day soon we’ll get the full colour edition out there!
Tree’s Grey Scale
The IF Anthology features the work of 96 creators over 40 unique and challenging stories and includes the Irish made stories,”Gravity” by writer and letterer Kerrie Smith and artist Hannah Deacon, “We Can Be Heroes” by writer Darrin O’Toole, artist Barry Keegan and letterer Dee Cunniffe, and of course, “the Hero” which you’ve been reading all about.
I wanted to do something a little different with this script. To this point in my comic making my focus had been on using dialogue and captions to tell a story. I’ve always found dialogue to be the part of writing that comes most naturally to me, but in my mind comics can be about so much more than just the dialogue. For Murphy’s Day I stripped all of that away to present a mostly silent script (the exception being the constantly ticking clock and buzzing phone). I wanted to create a short comic that would invite the reader to give it a second or maybe even a third look, and so I played with the space on the page too, counting down from 10 panels on page 1 to 1 panel on page 10. I’ll go in to more detail of why I wrote the script the way I did, and how the artist and letterer on the book managed to make it all flow together and improve on my script in a later blog post. Maybe…
First Published in Lightning Strike Presents Issue 7, Murphy’s Day tells the story of the day everything went wrong for the titular Murphy.
Murphy’s Day was an exercise in storytelling and using a comic book format in an interesting way. To this day I believe it remains one of my better scripts and it doesn’t hurt that Rapha’s art and storytelling is just really lovely!
Heavy Black was originally scripted in early 2014 as a writing exercise.
Titan Comics had put out a call for 6 page stories dealing with a “lost in space theme”, and that struck me as a great opportunity to play with monster horror and to work on rapid tension building.
In 2015 comic artist Rapha Lobosco approached me for script samples to practice on. He took to Heavy Black and asked if we could produce the short comic for that year’s Comic City Festival. The final edition of Heavy Black deviates from the script in a few ways. For example, we felt that a seventh page would allow for the gravity of Charlie’s decision to stick with the reader. There are several other small differences between the finished product and the script (revealing Charlie’s face immediately and ditching her plasma torch early on being two of the most prominent), I find this is a normal teething process for any collaboration. A script should inspire an artist, not dictate to them.