Sunday, April 23, 2006

What To Do About Randall…

I don’t know quite how long ago I posted the last chapter of Randall, my first web comic. It was around 2001 that Randall showed up in my sketchbook and I began to seriously consider getting my work “out there” via this character whom was once so freshly realized in my mind. Now almost 6 years later and 22 pages into a 44-page “origin” story, I’m stuck creatively on a character and story that was once pouring onto the page faster than I could keep up. Beyond the first 44 fully scripted pages are pages and pages of notes for the further adventures of Randall, notes that could easily translate to 100 pages or more of sequential art.

I was going to finish up the 44-page Origin story and then move into a more slick and hopefully professional looking Randal comic. But no matter how good I manage to get the comic to look those first 44 pages will just be that awful 2nd grade class picture that your mother takes out to embarrass you in front of your girlfriend. I can’t flip through Randall without peering at it through my fingers like a horror movie. So what do I do? Just bag it? I’ve thought about it but I just can’t. Randall is this part of me that even if every other person who has ever read it hates it, I’ll still want to do it. He’s a link to a time in my life when everything changed. I first doodled the little guy in my sketchbook around July or August of 2001, then came September 11th and Randall became my way to escape the suddenly immensely changed city and world that I live in. I was also encouraged to make Randall comics by my then new girlfriend and now soon to be wife, Ereisa… so how can I let him go?

So here’s what’s going to happen: Randall Redux. Take what you may have read in the first 22 pages of Randall and forget it. Matter of fact, if you haven’t read it, read it now because its days are numbered. Once the new Randall pages go up, the old will be gone. Only to return in a Randall Retrospective Showcase Hardcover Edition printed years from now by some lucky funny book publisher. :)

My goal is to take those existing Randall pages and boil them down to 10 pages or less. One thing besides the art that is really weak about Randall is the long-winded jokes and exposition that I put into a simple and fun comic book about a kid who gets superpowers but would rather play video games than save the world. Steven Spielberg once said that he wants stories that he can hold in the palm of his hand. “Shark terrorizes a beach town.” Randall needs to be nothing more than just that. A simple fun story that you can hold in the palm of your hand.

Stan Lee did the same thing. “Nerd gets bit by a radioactive spider and becomes a superhero.” It’s just simple fun stuff. I think some of the mainstream comics of today need to get back to that. They seem so desperate for “respectability” that they’re trying to write these adult stories that just seem flat and contrived, meanwhile the genre of movies that their “respectable” stories will be turned into are comic book movies, i.e. “Popcorn Flicks”. Nobody wants to see a serious, thinking man’s Spider-Man flick. Fanboys do, mainly because they tend to take the superhero genre a bit too seriously. Folks want to a superhero movie where our hero flies around and kick super villain ass. Meanwhile pick up any comic and you’re likely to find an out-of-costume hero sitting in a diner for 22 pages as he spouts a long-winded soliloquy about life as a hero. If you’re lucky, maybe he’ll put his mask on for a panel or two, but that’ll be a devise to get you to buy next issue under the false pretense that our hero will do something heroic soon. Don’t be surprised if “Diner Soliloquy: Part 2” sees the return of our street clothed hero ordering desert… for 22 pages.

Randall is going to be the exact opposite of the current mainstream comic trend. Flat out fun, more costume than not, more action that you can take, a comic that you can read on the can and not feel like you just bought Trade Paperback filler.

So get ready for some Randall Redux, whether you like it or not.

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