Footprints Script/Final Art Comparison – Part 2

It’s taken me a bit longer to get to the second part of this process blog up than I initially intended, but here we are! Check out Part 1 if you’re not sure what this is all about, but otherwise, read on! Please again note that this isn’t an exact representation of my script formatting, as WordPress opted to be a jerk about it.

Part 1

Part 3

Part 4

PAGE TWO – (5 Panels)

PANEL 2.1

REVEAL of Bigfoot, still wet in his trench coat and fedora, with a look of complete shock upon his big hairy mug. He’s still holding his mail.

What we can see of his apartment is absolutely pristine. Fine vases neatly scattered about with original art hanging from the walls. No hint of dust, clutter, or grime. He’s either the cleanest Bigfoot on the planet or he’s got one hell of a cleaning lady.

FOOT (CAP):

GETTIN’ A LETTER FROM MY BROTHER THOUGH…

FOOT (CAP):

…WELL, I AIN’T ASHAMED TO SAY THAT I DAMN NEAR SHIT MYSELF.

As I mentioned in Part 1, the script I’m using for these blogs is essentially a shooting script, so there’s not a whole lot of differences between the script and what’s established on the pages, at least on my part. However, it’s notable here that in my description I say “the cleanest Bigfoot on the planet,” implying that there are, in fact, more than one of him. As you know from reading the book, this isn’t the case. As I went on and developed the characters in this issue, I realized the story works much better if these characters are THE characters we know as urban legends. Maybe there were more at one time or another (as Motheresa implies in issue #4, I think it is, where she refers to herself as “a mothperson”), but with these characters having survived “hundreds of years,” they have become the last of their species. So, the description I mentioned above is essentially a remnant of an earlier idea that was eventually scrapped.

As for the pristine/fine art aspect of his apartment (which Jonathan nailed), I just think it’s hilarious that this creature we typically associate with living in the wild as a savage is actually the complete opposite. He appreciates the human world and the things that come with it. And, judging from his taste, perhaps he’s a bit TOO indulgent (a sentiment reflected in issue #3).

This panel also holds Foot’s full reveal, in which he looks…. well, human! Just, you know, hairier. It’s not the most descriptive show of him — and I think Jonathan evolved his look to be even more definitive as the issues went on — but it establishes his look quickly and efficiently. Combined with the background details, I think this panel sums the character up rather quickly.

PANEL 2.2

CLOSEUP of Bigfoot lighting a cigarette.

This is pretty straightforward, but just like the close up on page one, Jonathan directed the angle, giving it that low, intimidating/classic noir angle.If you follow my day job at IGN, I recently did an interview with Greg Capullo where he described the relationship of the writer and artist as something similar to a screenwriter and director. Obviously it’s more personal than the disconnect you get in Hollywood, but his point is that Jonathan took my really basic description and gave it weight and attitude. While it’s certainly the writer’s job to formulate the context and add relevance to the images or generate emotion through dialog and pacing and all of that stuff, this is an example of it being of equal importance to the artist.

Also, this is the first appearance of Foot’s chain smoking, which I love uncontrollably. In many cases throughout Footprints, his lighting of a cigarette is a replacement for him having to say anything.

PANEL 2.3

He’s sitting behind his desk, in the corner of his office, the cigarette smoking.  There’s a window on the side of him with a beautiful view of the city as the rain trickles down in veins. Directly behind him, a framed painting of a moth-like shape looms.

He’s staring at the telephone on his desk. The envelope and the letter is strewn about his desk in front of him, but we can’t read it.

FOOT (CAP):

I GRIT MY TEETH WHEN I REALIZE WHO I HAVE TO CALL.

This whole scene with Foot at his desk is one of my favorites, mostly because of Jonathan’s great use of the window paneling casting a shadow over the panels. It’s just beautiful. You’ll notice that Jonathan didn’t incorporate the rain I described in the script, which is fine. Probably regrettably, we didn’t use an editor on this book, who would have (should have) caught the inconsistency with the rain we saw on page one. Through the miracle of comics (and weather), it reads like some time has passed — Foot has his coat and hat off, the letter is opened, he’s relaxing, etc. The rain could’ve stopped by then. In all, it doesn’t make a difference. My point is, if I didn’t notice it after the many (many) times I proofread this page, then it probably didn’t make a difference that he cut it.

Also, this panel is important because of the first appearance of the moth motif that has its grip on this story. When I craft a story, it’s really really important to me that I hint at things to come as early as possible, mostly because I love stories like that. For me, it gives them a re-read/re-watchability that stories that lack it simply can’t achieve. Things can be given new context on a second read through, playing with the perception of readers/viewers and all of that. While it surely won’t work out in every story I ever write (did it work for this one, even? I don’t know.), it’s something I strive for.

PANEL 2.4

View from outside of the building, looking in through the glass at Bigfoot on the phone. The cigarette is still in his mouth, and he’s tapping his fingers on the arm of his chair.

SFX:

TAP TAP TAP

SFX:

RIIIIIIING RIIIIIIN CLICK–

DEVIL (phone):

JERSEY FREAKIN’ DEVIL, WHO DA FRICK IS DIS?

FOOT:

SIGH.  DEVIL, IT’S ME.

DEVIL (phone):

DEVIL (phone):

FOOT?!  SHIT, MAN, HOW DA HELL IS YA?  I AIN’T TALKED WIT YA SINCE THAT NIGHT OVA IN THE VINEYARD!

FOOT:

YEAH, WELL.  THIS IS RELEVANT, ACTUALLY.  ‘MEMBER THAT FAVOR YOU OWE ME?

First, I love the angle here. Everything Jonathan did is spot on. But really, the props in this panel have to go to Adam, our letterer. Admittedly, it’s a bit of a risk introducing Jersey Devil through a phone conversation, particularly with his dialect. I admit I probably over did it here, as it’s pretty jarring at first, but hopefully you get warmed up to it rather quickly. But aside from that, Adam did a great job with the balloon placement here, keeping this readable. It’s also worth noting that the “TAP TAP TAP” SFX was removed, since we don’t actually see Foot tapping his fingers, pretty much due to Jonathan’s choice of angle here. Again, the angle is stylish and adds much more to the storytelling than some finger tapping would.

I’ll use this opportunity to point out one of my absolute favorite things about comics — the pacing of dialog. You can see in the script above that this was deliberately done here, as it is many times throughout the book. I’m talking about dialog broken up into multiple balloons, even in the same breath from the same character. This does two things: 1.) it keeps the balloons legible and pretty to look at. 2.) it staggers the dialog, so there’s a beat in between the words. It gives some control to how the reader is meant to pace the dialog in their minds. Comics have more participation from the reader than most mediums, because they can control how long they linger on a page or panel. On film, the actor/director/editor controls how long a character lingers on a beat of dialog or how long a certain moment lasts. Pacing the dialog with balloons like this essentially gives the same effect. It forces a beat that wouldn’t exist if it was all placed in the same balloon, unless the reader chose to read it as such. Here, they haven’t got a choice.

PANEL 2.5

CLOSEUP over the top of Bigfoot’s desk as he reaches over to the ash tray to stub out his cigarette. His arm is covering the letter on the desk, but the envelope is fully visible.

We see the whole thing this time, the return address is the same, but the addressee is: “MR. B. FOOT, 55 W 95th St #227, NEW YORK, NY 10025”.

FOOT (OP)

I NEED A LIFT SOMEWHERE.

First, in an earlier draft of the script — actually, I think this might have been corrected in lettering (sorry Adam) — Foot says “Somewheres,” a dialect similar to Devil’s in a way. There were some other examples of this throughout #1 as well, but upon the advice of someone that provided me feedback (thanks John!), I made Foot’s dialect more on the straight-and-narrow, aside from the expected slang or abbreviations like earlier on this page (“ain’t” and “gettin'”). His point was that there needed to be something of a “straight man” amongst characters like Devil and the butler-esque Don. So I scaled back on Foot’s dialect quite a bit and kept it pretty  standard.

This is another great example of Jonathan’s use of shadow, particularly obscuring the letter from Yeti. His inclusions of making Foot’s desk paraphernalia quite outdated is also another gem of Jonathan’s participation here. No computer, nothing fancy. Rotary phone. Love it. Oh, and the post mark on the envelop is something I never would have remembered to include.

And finally, the last thing of note is Bigfoot’s address, which is a real apartment building as far as I know, so I apologize to anyone that lives in that building. But not really. Jonathan has a great process description for this page in the supplemental material of the trade paperback as well.

And of course, the final page:

So that’s that, another page down! Please let me know in the comments or on Twitter or some place if you’re enjoying these or what you’d like to see more of. Also, I believe the trade paperback should be shipping to stores from Diamond this Wednesday, so hope and pray that your shop gets a copy!

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2 Comments

Filed under art, blog, comics, process, writing

2 responses to “Footprints Script/Final Art Comparison – Part 2

  1. Really really digging this. I’m a big fan of the noire genre, of anything really especially James Ellroy. But I’m a massive comic book fan and I found your page like 2 days ago. Found you through IGN and saw you had made your own book.

    I’ve read your Issue #1 several times online but I live in Ireland so I don’t know if all 4 issues have been released or anything like that. It’s really difficult to access the less mainstream comics over here, especially an indie one like yours, absolutely no offense there.

    Back to your comic though; the partnership between you and the artist seems perfect. The writing and the art is just phenomenal. I really can’t stress that enough. You both seem to be on the same wavelength and the idea for this comic is so original and addictive to read. The black and white really works with it as well.

    I’m really glad you made this like ‘process blog’ to show the production of it. I can never get tired of reading things like this. I get a very strong Watchmen feel of it as well.

    Me and a friend had discussed the idea of making one a few months ago, he’s a really amazing artist, while I can only write like yourself. I’m not entirely sure of the whole process that goes into making one, like inking, penciling etc which probably makes me sound like an idiot who doesn’t know what he’s doing but anyway, it’s really good to see people making their own and using the likes of Kickstarter to make it happen. Gives the little guys like us hope 🙂

    Excellent job again. Can’t wait for Part 3.

    • Thanks so much for the kind words and I’m glad these posts are of use. I’m sorry about the frustrations of finding indie books over there– while I’m not sure how you’d be able to get the trade paperback (check online retailers) the issues are all available digitally through the 215 Ink iPad app. 215ink.com should have the trade available for sale at some point as well.

      Thanks again for reading 🙂

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