Comic In Progress: Codename KYUSS

KYUSS: issue 1 complete

Last week, I completed the first issue of KYUSS. I took the weekend to ruminate on it and gather my thoughts for a reflection on the process so far.

The first issue of KYUSS is 48 comic pages long. Right on target per my original concept for the project. I was anxious about pursuing such a high page count. Fortunately, a double sized first issue is not an uncommon thing, as it gives the creative team space to flesh out the world and characters of their story. This gave me some comfort.

However, the original concept for project, my vision for the project, had each issue being double sized. The only reason to stress this is its marketability, not only to potential readers, but also potential publishers. For readers, the page count could be intimidating and demanding on their attention. For publishers, the higher page count means more of an investment on a not-so-established creator's premiere work. (I say 'premiere' not to disparage my self-published work, but to speak to the reach and resources an established publisher possesses.) Other creators have expressed mixed views on the matter, with some concerned the story might require trimming to reduce it to a more typical 20-24 pages, while another contingent liked the idea of a double sized issue. The shared thought was, to paraphrase, "if it fits the story, go for it."

This has been my mantra to counter any reservations I had undertaking this project. From the beginning, I knew the format of KYUSS would be atypical, and therefore harder to pitch and push. But I had a vision for this book and I wanted to see that accomplished. I wanted to do a weird western (yes, that's the genre), so I wanted to encapsulate the widescreen imagery and the epic length of the Westerns I love. And in these first 48 pages of KYUSS I feel as though I've done that.

I've gone back a few times to edit the dialogue and panel descriptions. I found several lines that I could cut down, while still keeping them on point and in character. Panel descriptions were a little rougher than I would have liked, but it was a first draft, so it wasn't surprising. All of the descriptions worked, but I found ways to make them clearer, as well as elaborating on the emotions the panels are supposed to carry and invoke.

I also found an interaction between two characters that wasn't necessary and actually detracted from an interaction between one of those characters and a third character. By removing the first interaction, I was able to expand upon the second one and showcase a character who originally had less screen time than I would have liked.

All in all, writing the first issue of KYUSS went well. I hit the beats I wanted to hit, when I wanted to hit them. The characters feel like they're speaking through me now, so dialogue, even edited dialogue, flows more easily. Panels feel effective and revealing turn pages are where they need to be. I'm still reviewing and rewriting the first draft as I type this, and want to take a close look at the pacing.

I feel like I've learned so much since I started this first issue. I have no doubt that by the time I've finished the fourth and final issue, my writing methodology will have evolved even more and I'll want to go back to edit the first issue again. Hopefully I won't be able to because the art will have already begun for it. Besides you can only make so many drafts. At some point, you just need to release your work, as ugly and as beautiful as it may be.

#KYUSS #makingcomics #comics #comicinprogress

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